Shania Twain – ‘Now’ – Album Review

After 15 years since her last studio album, Shania Twain is finally back with a brand new album called ‘Now’.  My love for Shania dates back to the 90’s with her smash hit album, ‘The Woman in Me’.  From there on, I was hooked.  The deathly good looks and that amazing voice was a combination I couldn’t resist.

She has been through a lot since her last album…a divorce from her partner in music crime, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, to vocal problems resulting from Lyme Disease and dysphonia.  She has persevered and is now back on to the music scene.

Two years ago she embarked on a comeback tour even though she didn’t have an album.  My wife and I were able to see her on that tour and her show was spectacular.  My wife and I are such big fans, we even had the song “From this Moment” played at our wedding. So, a new album from her is more than welcomed in my family.

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Well, that was until we heard the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.  To say this song is bad, would be mean.  To say this song was good, would be lying.  It lies somewhere in between.  As much as I dislike this song, sadly, it is one of the better songs on the album.  If you like old Shania and don’t want her to change, then you might like this song.  For me, it was boring and lyrically awful. The song has a real CHESSE factor to it.  I will give her this song and I won’t delete it only because it is better than most and she did release it as a single.  The song hasn’t been performing very well since its release proving a little of how I feel might be what other people think as well.

There are a couple good songs on the album, the next one being her latest release and the opening track “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed”.  This is classic Shania,  yet in a good way.  This one is definitely Country tinged and is everything you love about her.  It is not my favorite song on the album, but it is pretty darn close.

My favorite song on the album is “Roll Me On the River”.  What I like about this song is its difference from everything else on the album.  It is the most original and takes Shania in a different path which is the approach this album should have taken for the whole thing as we are 15 years later and she is basically trying to do the same thing she did then “now”.  The album is titled “NOW”, shouldn’t the songs feel like they are now in the present day.  There is a heavy drum beat and takes on a darker tone musically.  She delivers the lyrics slower and more deliberately.  This song is what the album title reflects.  It is a modern song.  It isn’t country, it is a little more rock.

One thing this album was going to show me was if the myth about Mutt being the puppet master, pulling her strings on her albums as he produced and help write her three biggest albums, was true.  After spending a little time with the album, I feel that myth was warranted.  The songs on this album lack any lyrical development and good production.  Mutt was a master at developing lyrical phrasing.  Go back and listen to her earlier albums and even go back and listen to Def Leppard interview about Mutt.  He felt the way the words sounded were more important than the words themselves.  They definitely don’t take this approach with the lyrics on this album.

One prime example is the song “Poor Me”.  The song is a play on the words of her life being so hard and she went through so much…oh poor me! And then Pour Me a drink.  In theory, this song is brilliant play on those two sayings.  Execution is completely different.  Lyrically the song is a complete miss. What could have been turned into a big hit with Mutt just kinda whimpers out into forgettable and boring.

Since I was listening to the deluxe edition and there are 16 songs, I won’t go through all of them.  I have highlighted the ones I like above and I don’t feel there is any need to go through each individual song as they all fall under the same category as boring, cheesy and lyrically lacking.  The songs aren’t overly varied as they will hint mostly towards country and pop.  You get some upbeat tunes and some slower ballads, but they are all missing that pop, that right production and memorable & clever lyrics.

My wife and I even listened to the album together and when the album, she turned to me and went…ehh!  Which spoke volumes to me.  That is when I went and went through the album several more times on my own to see if it gets better with each listen, but it didn’t. I because more difficult with the exception a few songs I already mentioned.  Here is where I stand on whether a song is a Keeper or needs to be deleted.

Track Listing:

  1. “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” – Keeper
  2. “Home Now” – Delete
  3. “Light of My Life” – Delete
  4. “Poor Me” – Delete
  5. “Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl” – Delete
  6. “More Fun” – Delete
  7. “I’m Alright” – Delete
  8. “Let’s Kiss and Make Up” – Delete
  9. “Where Do You Think You’re Going” – Delete
  10. “Roll Me On the River” – Keeper
  11. “We Got Something They Don’t” – Delete
  12. “Because of You” – Delete
  13. “You Can’t Buy Love” – Delete
  14. “Life’s About to Get Good” – Keeper
  15. “Soldier” – Delete
  16. “All in All” – Delete

3 keepers out 16 songs – 19% (1 out 5 stars) As much as I have loved Shania, this was hard for me to listen to and to write about.  I was so hoping for a grand return.  I believe what I realized about the album is it is missing the FUN of her previous albums.  It is like your crazyass best friend in college went and grew up and became a boring adult.

Go listen for yourself and you judge.  My expectations might have been too high and so anything would be a let down…but I don’t think that is the case.  Let me know what you think.  Thanks.

Friday New Releases – October 20th

October is flying by and there are a bunch of new ones available this week…even Christmas albums if you are so inclined.  There are some brand new bands, some old favorites and some fabulous reissues/deluxe editions.  My choices are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know which ones you are interested in with a comment below.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

  • 61tzU2GB7VL._AC_US160_  Sons of Apollo – Pyschotic Symphony – (Inside Out Music):  Another supergroup and another one featuring Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy.  If you liked in The Winery Dogs, this is not the Winery Dogs.  This is a much heavier band with Jeff Scott Soto on lead vocals rather than Richie Kotzen.  Also on the record is Bumblefoot on guitar and Derek Sherinian that make this a massive group with a massive sound.  Can’t wait to dive into this one.

  • 51TQWYRXviL._AC_US218_  Europe – Walk the Earth – (Silver Lining Music):  Europe is still putting out quality albums after 35+ years in the business.  The took most of the 90’s off, but came roar back in the 2000’s and have been non-stop ever since.  I have held off from listening to anything on this one yet as I want to take it in all at once.

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Stone Temple Pilots – Core 25th Anniversary Edition – Album Review

On September 29, 1992, the debut album ‘Core’ by the band Stone Temple Pilots was released to great fanfare.  The album kicked off the career of what would become one of the best bands to come out of the 90’s.  Well, on September 29, 2017, Stone Temple Pilots commemorated the 25th Anniversary of their stellar debut with a spectacular re-release of their debut album. I love how they were able to release on the same day as the original.  And yes, I already had a copy, but now I have it again, but this time there is so much more.

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What all do you get?  Well, I am glad you asked.  The set I bought was the Deluxe Edition.  You can get a Super Deluxe Edition which had a T-Shirt and 16″x20″ Litograph, but I didn’t see that offered on Amazon as that might have been a STP website only purchase.  The Deluxe had everything you see above which is as follows:

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Friday New Releases – October 13th

Here we are on another Friday and another week of great releases.  But before I get into that I just noticed that this is my 400th post since I started.  Crazy to think it I have been able to think of that many things to write about and that people still come to check out the site.  Pretty cool.

Okay back to the post…If you like rock, there is a plethora of new music.  There is probably a little something for everyone.  My choices are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what you are looking to pick up.  I hope you find something.  Have a great weekend.

  • 61ldUwPrdAL._AC_US218_  Revolution Saints – Light in the Dark – (Frontiers Records):  Frontiers Records has a knack for putting together little supergroups. Most of the time those supergroups only last one album.  Thankfully, Revolution Saints are back with record number two!!  Who is in Revolution Saints you may ask (please ask)?  Well, I am glad you asked…you get Jack Blades (Night Ranger and Damn Yankees), Deen Castronovo (Journey and Ozzy) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio, Dead Daisies).  The first album was spectacular and expect more of the same greatness.

  • 71ZApFbDTuL._AC_UL115_  Fozzy – Judas – (Century Media):  When you hear the name Chris Jericho, what is the first thing you think of???  Wrestling??  No, Heavy Metal Music.  Chris has been lead singer of Fozzy for 18 years and they are now on their seventh album with ‘Judas’.  As I always, I look forward to hearing what they bring to the table each time and this time is no different.

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Living Colour – Shade – Album Review

The band that brought us “Cult of Personality” back in 1988 is back after an 8 year hiatus from their last album.  Living Colour released their new album, ‘Shade’ on September 8th 2017 and it sounds like this band has a lot to say.  Their social commentary on today’s society is definitely worth listening to and not only will it open your eyes to life today, it will open your ears to some damn fine music.

The title of the album, ‘Shade’, has many different meanings for this album.  It could be referring to the many shades of color the album brings in its different styles and sounds.  Or is the band throwing ‘Shade’ at America and all that has been happening over the years.  I think it is both, but you should listen and decide for yourself.

What I really love about this album is the variety of the songs.  You, of course, get some hard rock, some funk, some blues and some hip hop and when they mix them up together in the song it gets even better.  Corey Glover sounds amazing throughout as does Vernon Reid with his kick ass solos, Doug Wimbash’s bass thumping and Will Calhoun’s drum keep the timing set perfectly.

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Friday New Releases – October 6th

Welcome to October and of course, I have a list of new releases for you to check out.  There are definitely some I am getting this week and I will talk about those as they will be highlighted in Blue.  There are not a ton, but hopefully you will find something.  I know I have.

  • 61VQ92of-mL._AC_US160_  Whitesnake – Whitesnake (30th Anniversary Edition) – (Parlophone Records):  Duh!! No Brainer!!!  I can’t believe it has been 30 years since this album was released.  I have it on Vinyl, but I want this CD see.  With classics like “Still of The Night”, “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love” you can’t go wrong with this one.  The only downside is the Super Deluxe Edition, which I ordered, is on hold until October 27th.  Oh well, still can’t wait to get ahold of it.

  • 61FIqt+D+pL._AC_US218_  The Darkness – Pinewood Smile – (Canary Dwarf Ltd):  The glam metal band that glorifies the excess of 80’s rocks brings us their new album.  After 5 albums has the schtick gotten old?  We will see.

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Jonny Lang – Signs – Album Review

Grammy Award winning artist, Jonny Lang, is back with his new album, ‘Signs’.  If you aren’t familiar with Jonny, you are definitely missing out.  He is a Blues, Gospel and rock guitarist, songwriter and singer.  There is nothing this man can’t do.  He brings in so many influences and crafts them into heartfelt and moving songs that are either blues or straight up rock & roll and when he mixes the two together, watch out!!

I remember when his first album came out in 1997, ‘Lie to Me’, and he was only 16 years old.  I heard that album and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  No 16 year old should be able to pull off what this kid could do.  Years went by and he struggled with substance abuse and in 2000 came clean.  He found Christianity after shunning it for so long and it changed his perspective on everything.  His writing, playing and vocals started hitting on all cylinders.  He won a Grammy in 2006 for his album ‘Turn Around’ and he kept putting out incredible music.

Now in 2017, can he still produce albums that strike a chord with you after 20 years in the business?  Oh yes he can.  Jonny Lang has released what could possibly be the album of the year for me.  His vocals, songwriting and guitar playing (damn can he play a guitar) are nothing short of awe-inspiring.  Sit back and let me walk you through this masterpiece.

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Friday New Releases – September 29th

Welcome to the last Friday New Releases of the month.  There are too many new releases this week and no way to even come close to listening to it all.  There a handful I will attempt to get to and those will be highlighted in Blue, but doesn’t mean there aren’t others on this list I don’t want to hear.  I have to some way prioritize the listening choices.  I am sure there is something on here that you will find exciting.  Let me know what you are interested in getting.

  • 91+F7bRBJkL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg  Shania Twain – Now – (Universal Nashville):  Oh Shania, how we have missed you.  Back with her first album in 15 YEARS!!!.  I have heard a couple songs off the album and haven’t been overly impressed so I am little worried about this one.  My wife and I enjoy Shania and went saw her in concert about 2 years ago and we also had “From This Moment” played at our wedding.  As a result, I will give this a listen despite my hesitations.

  • 51-RUWDsUjL._AC_US218_  Black Stone Cherry – Black to Blues EP – (Mascot Label Group): The Southern Hard Rock band is bringing us a little EP to hold us over until their next album…I am so cool with that.  They don’t seem to ever disappoint and I could use a good old rock album about now.

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Friday New Releases – September 22nd

Another Friday is upon us and another day of new music.  There is a little of everything on tab for this week so hopefully there is something you can find you want to give a spin.  I have quite a few this week and they are highlighted in Blue as usual.

  • 613Ur6oUHlL._AC_US218_  Black Country Communion – BCCIV – (J&R Adventures):  BCC is back with their 4th album.  I thought they might have been done after their last one so I am thrilled to see a new release.  If you don’t know who they are, the band consists of some quite talented musicians you might have heard about…Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian.  Not a bad line-up.  Definitely worth checking out.

  • 615l-IJwJwL._AC_US218_  H.E.A.T – Into the Great Unknown – (Frontiers Records): This Swedish rock band brings us their 5th release and first after losing original guitarist Eric Rivers.  I am interested to hear it despite 2 of the original members now gone including the lead singer.  That usually really bothers me when you lose the singer, but Erik Gronwell can hold his own and has done a fine damn job since taking over.  Here is to hoping for more of the same greatness from these guys.
  • 411N1zML8KL._AC_US218_  The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful – (Island Records):  For some reason, I really like The Killers.  When they are good, they are really good and Brandon Flowers has been sounding great lately.  I am digging the new song “Run for Cover” so hoping the rest of the album is on par with that one.

  • 61KFg3CH+0L._AC_US160_  Mastodon – Cold Dark Place E.P. – (Reprise Records):  It is only an E.P., but anything from this Atlanta Metal band is worth grabbing.  Bring it on.

  • images-1  Fergie – Double Duchess – (Retrofuture Productions):  Okay, yes I am interested in hearing Fergie.  I have my guilty pleasures.  She proved she can rock out when she did a song for Slash so I definitely want to hear what she brings to the table this time around.

  • 4192A8z6v8L._AC_US218_  Otherwise – Sleeping Lions – (Century Media)
  • 61FIiVNH5OL._AC_US218_  Macklemore – Gemini – (Bendo LLC)
  • 513lUqo6OtL._AC_US218_  Matthew West – All In – (Sparrow)
  • 61EuJwZ3BCL._AC_US218_  Josh Ritter – Gathering – (Pytheas Recordings)
  • 51CVVBAaSrL._AC_US218_  Midland – On the Rocks – (Big Machine)
  • 51nMKZQR5nL._AC_US218_  Van Morrison – Roll With The Punches – (Exile Productions)
  • 61LDM-QpKqL._AC_US218_  Leon Russell – On A Distant Shore – (Palmetto)
  • 61d5C7z7dcL._AC_US218_  Chris Hillman – Bidin’ my Time – (Rounder)
  • 61KHcRSiqCL._AC_US218_  Steve Martin / The Steep Canyon Rangers – “The Long-Awaited Album” – (Rounder)
  • 51T3BQ1iCJL._AC_US218_  Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay – (Nuclear Blast)
  • 51sZCZfQfIL._AC_US160_  Lecrae – All Things Work Together – (Reach Records)
  • 51NFpv8xsDL._AC_US218_  Haley Reinhart – What’s That Sound? – (Concord Records)
  • 51o8JkMVkwL._AC_US218_  Brian Wilson – Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology – (Rhino/Warners)

Friday New Releases – September 15th

Well hold on to your hats, there is an abundance of new releases today.  Over 27 albums on the list so there has to be something for you.  For me, there are at least 10 I want to listen to, but I am sure I won’t make it through all of them.  The ones I want are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what you would like to buy or hear.

  • 61KS6Xq7XTL._AC_US218_  Josh Todd & the Conflict – Year of the Tiger – (Century Media):  If there isn’t a Buckcherry new album, I will take  Josh Todd album and this one has me super excited.  This one seems to be a little harder than Buckcherry and I like that.  The harder the better baby!!

  • 91GkSim-z6L._AC_UL115_  Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold – (Roswell Records):  The Foo Fighters bring us another release and although my interest tends to fade over time, I still enjoy them and will give this one a listen.  What I have heard so far has been promising so maybe they have put together a decent album…we will wait and see.

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