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.