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NOW, the first studio album for Shania in nearly 15 years, releases on September 29th. The new album offered as both a 16-track deluxe and a 12-track standard album, both feature Shania s current single, Life s About To Get Good, playing on country radio now. All songs on NOW were written solely by Shania, who also served as co-producer on the project. Shania worked with four producers across the 16 tracks including Matthew Koma, Ron Aniello (Bruce Springsteen, Gavin DeGraw), Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes) and Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones).
Shania is a five-time GRAMMY Award-winner and the reigning Queen of Country Pop. With more than 75 million albums sold worldwide and U.S. sales topping 34.5 million, Shania remains the top-selling female country artist of all time. Shania s albums include her Platinum-selling 1993 debut, SHANIA TWAIN; the GRAMMY Award-winning, Double Diamond-selling 1995 release, THE WOMAN IN ME; COME ON OVER, the best-selling studio album in Soundscan history by a female artist in any genre and the best-selling country album of all time with over 40 million units sold worldwide; and UP!, Shania s third consecutive Diamond-selling album release.
Recognizing her indelible impact and achievements in music, Shania is the first and only female artist to receive CMT s Artist of a Lifetime Award and the Country Music Hall of Fame recently opened the Shania Twain: Rock This Country exhibit. Shania was also honored with the Icon Award at Billboard s Women in Music ceremony. Shania s hits include Any Man of Mine, That Don t Impress Me Much, You re Still the One, and Man! I Feel Like A Woman! .
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Combining the trendy with the tried-and-true, while she still upholds her diva performance tradition, from the throwback-referencing cover artwork with the leotard outfit, to the actual songs, there is hardly anything pretentious about this record. Shania did this album not because she needs the money but because her fans needed new music from her. "Now" is a raw and revealing record from a pop-country icon, a labour of love (Shania shares a co-writing credit on all 16 songs, and also takes a turn in the producer's chair). Although, it will not sell the record-breaking 40 million copies that 1998's "Come on over" did, or even the incredible 20+ million "Up!" achieved, it deserves to do so. "I'm still myself but I've changed / Things I thought were always strange aren't that strange at all", she muses on the closing track "All in all". "Afraid to jump, but had to try / Exhaled and said goodbye"; closing this chapter of her life and bookending her tumultuous journey with hope. Regardless of whether "Now" will become another diamond hit for her, it is all about bouncing back and it is a success in so many ways already. Shania Now. Shania Wow!
There are some excellent upbeat jams on this that I love and rate high up there with her fun party songs of the 90's. Tunes such as "We Got Something They Don't", which is one of my favorite tracks on this album. It's also one of the strongest bouncier tracks harking back to the good old Shania Twain days. Her vocals sound good to me, she knows a harmony, her pitch is perfect, and she can work her voice around a melody as evident in the tropical reggae sounding coastal beach song, "Let's Kiss and Make Up" and "All in All", both of which are on the Deluxe version of this album and up there as some of my favorite tracks on this too. One of my other favorite tracks is the gritty rock country song, "Swingin' with My Eyes Closed", which has some hints of her past "Up" album.
The Deluxe version of "Now" is packed with great tunes connected to relationships from break ups, to new love, to working things out, but it also has empowering songs that inspire such as the upbeat anthem, "Life's About to Get Good". It's difficult to put "Now" into any kind of genre as it's got a softer subtle country sound in places, a tropical reggae beach sound, a pop sound. It's also got a folk sound in some of the slower tracks that remind me of James Taylor and John Denver.
In another favorite of mine, "I'm Alright" you can hear the pain over experiencing something personally traumatic, but its got confident strength as she brushes herself off and forges on. I found this to be her first serious album packed with some intense emotion that she no doubt needed to release. It's much different than her kick back fun three albums from over a decade ago, which I love too. Each time this album plays, I notice things about it I had ignored before. I find I have an ever growing appreciation for what she's done with it.
Nine of the tracks are excellent to me, three of which are on the Deluxe version. I had to change the order of the songs and put it on a disc and on my iPod in an order that flows best:
- Swingin With My Eyes Closed
- Life's About to Get Good
- We Got Something They Don't
- Let's Kiss and Make Up (deluxe)
- All in All (deluxe)
- Who's Gonna Be Your Girl
- I'm Alright
- More Fun
- Because of You (deluxe)
Then I followed those favorites with the rest of the tracks: Home, Light of My Life, You Can't Buy Love, Roll Me on the River, Poor Me, Where Do You Think You're Going, and Soldier. Then I added a song that might as well have been included on this album, "Today is Your Day".