BY CHARLIE FERN
After much personal upheaval, Shania Twain has released her first album since 2002 and it further solidifies her as a pop-country legend. The songs on “Now” are not quite as in your face or upbeat as many of Twain’s biggest hits. There are still catchy choruses, but there are also a lot of more reflective mid-tempo songs and ballads.
Shania divorced her husband and longtime producer John Robert “Mutt” Lange in 2008. The end of the marriage also ended the artistic relationship. This and her vocals being effected by Lyme disease giving “Now” a different sound than Twain’s previous albums.
Those looking for earworms will be in luck with the first two singles, “Life’s About to Get Good” and “Swingin’ with My Eyes Closed.” Though the former explicitly deals with the breakdown of her marriage, both songs have a sense of triumph. This makes them fun to listen to.
The song “Home Now” gives off a similar esthetic. Shania sings about how she was lost, but she has found her way home. This track deserves to be a single. It has the potential to be a huge country hit.“We Got Something They Don’t” would also be a good single. It is catchy and accurately reflects Shania’s life and relationship.
Another standout is “You Can’t Buy Love.” This track has a soulful swing to it unlike any other Shania Twain song. This track has evoked comparisons to Motown and Amy Winehouse. These comparisons surprisingly make sense considering how strange they sound.
The ballads on the album are also noteworthy. They are not quite as exciting as songs like “You’re Still the One” and “From This Moment On,” but the subtlety works here.
The high point of the ballads is “Soldier.” In this song, Twain takes on the part of a woman married to a deployed man asking if anyone has seen her soldier “standing all alone” and “waiting to come home.” The song is heartbreaking and beautiful. It is easily the album’s most powerful.
Elsewhere, Twain takes on her divorce in solid tracks like “Poor Me” and Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl.” She also continues melding genres as she always has on tracks like the tropical “Let’s Kiss and Make Up.”
The album is not perfect however. “More Fun” is a weaker version of “C’est la Vie” from 2002’s “Up!” album, and “Light of My Life” falls flat despite its lovely sentiment.
However, these are nitpicks in the grand scheme of the album. The lyrics here pack a punch in a way they never did before. She is still the same woman, donning leopard print on the album cover just like she did in the video for “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”
“Now” is easily Shania Twain’s most autobiographical album and it really payed off. Despite the changes in sound, Twain is still as impressive as ever. Fans should be glad to welcome her back.
The Flyer gives “Now” an 8 out of 10.