Fifteen years after her last album came out, Canadian icon and music legend Shaina Twain is back with a new album called Now. In June she released the album's first single "Life's About To Get Good", but fans had to wait until September 29th for the full album. Though I guess four months is nothing compared to fifteen years, right?
Now is out now, and fans are rejoicing
Now features twelve songs (the deluxe version has sixteen) with Twain as the solo vocalist on all of them.
As a huge Shania fan, I had this new album playing a solid seventeen minutes after it came out on Friday morning, but in order to write the best possible review here, I wanted to give all the songs several listens first. So over the weekend, I had it on and I carefully listened to each and every song. One thing was clear at first listen, though, and that was that Shaina Twain is still a great artist.
Now is, in every way, more mature and heavier than her older music. Even the lighter songs still feel like they come from a place of growth. And while that's not a problem, I must say, I was a little surprised because I wasn't expecting it, especially with her first single on the album being so fun. That being said, it's been fifteen years since Up! and Twain has gone through some heavy stuff in that time (a stint of Lyme Disease, and a divorce from a cheating husband) so this more mature music is really just a reflection of who she is, as music should be. She's not in her twenties anymore, she's allowed to grow up. But personally, I did kind of miss the fun carefree feeling songs because that's what we all fell in love with.
My favourite songs were "Life's About To Get Good" and "You Can't Buy Love" because they were upbeat and fun.
There are several songs ("Poor Me", "Where Do You Think You're Going", and "All In All") that really tell a story, and are probably in reference to her divorce, which add to the heaviness, but they are also powerful and I'd imagine that anyone who's been in a similar situation could really relate to these. Music is meant to reach people, and I guess I'm just not in the same place to really get what she's singing about in some songs.
Now's cumulative styles
This new album is also a good mix of both genres Twain is known for (country and pop). "Life's About To Get Good", "Home Now", "Who's Gonna Be Your Girl", and "I'm Alright" are the most country songs on the album, and there are a few more that have some country elements, but the rest are more pop. She's also got some modern elements in some of her songs. I don't want to use the word autotuned, but in the song "Let's Kiss And Make Up" there's this little warped background voice going "yeah yeah yeah yeah" every once in a while, and it's little things like that that mark this new album to this era of music. I'm personally not a huge fan of that. However, the songs all fit and it's not like any one of them feel like an album outlier. She's embracing all her sides and music styles (upbeat and slower songs) and it really works, even after all this time. And on top of that, all of the songs on Now are unique. None of them blur together for me, which is great.
Vocally, Shania Twain is still amazing, which is a pleasure to hear. Based on vocals alone, you'd never be able to tell that she's over fifty and apparently has had issues with her vocal cords in the past decade. That being said, in this whole album, there was never a moment where I really stopped and went 'wow, that's some especially great singing'. But does that matter when she's proven to be a fabulous singer even live? No. I know she's talented. You know she's talented.
In terms of lyrics, I can't say any of this stuff is mindblowingly genius. She's good, but she never was known for being a brilliant songwriter when it comes to deep, lasting lyrics. The songs are direct enough to convey the thoughts and feelings, and that's good enough, I think.
I still love Shania Twain
Overall, Now is a new era of Shania Twain and I don't mind it. It's easy to listen to, and it really does a good job documenting Shania now (hence the title!). After a few listens, I came to appreciate the songs and the power. Like I said, in the past several years, she has changed and so has her music style. Different doesn't mean bad. I'm still a huge fan, am so glad she's making music again, and I definitely want her to continue to do so. While I can't say that this album is my favourite, it's solid, and I recommend to all Shania Twain fans (which should be everyone).
What are your thoughts on Now?