Shania Twain - "Now"
September 29th saw the long awaited release of Shania Twain's fifth studio album, Now. The album comes fifteen years since the release of her last studio album and is also the first release from Shania where all of the songs have been written by solely her. Unfortunately, Now somewhat fails to live up to expectations in my opinion with an overall sound that leaves you missing the spark of past albums such as Up! and Come On Over.
That being said, lead single Life's About To Get Good is one of the strongest tracks on the album and one that is sure to continue to be popular throughout the album's cycle and beyond. Grounded by a distinct country-pop sound with a very catchy beat, the chorus in particular has a very 'singable' quality although - oddly - one thing that stands out after a few listens is the drum beat is quite heavy and is exactly the same through the majority of the track, something that ultimately becomes a little annoying.
You then, disappointingly, came to tracks like Roll Me On The River and wonder what on earth has happened. At first I was intrigued by the Steampunk, work-song styling to the track and there is nothing extrinsically wrong with the verses but the chorus is enough to completely put you off ever listening to the track again. The instrumentalistion itself is incredibly messy and the combination of the multiple vocal lines and generally lower pitch ultimately just leaves the listener feeling uncomfortable.
More Fun is another track that ultimately just doesn't work. Channelling an odd influence that almost borders upon hip-hop but with a loose waltz timing, the song as a whole feels a little disjointed, with a vocal that doesn't really flow and instrumental lines that don't really blend together very well. All in all the track feels a little random and throw-away and the overall sound lets down a song that with a bit of polish could have brought a lot more to the album.
Track listing.... [all songs written by Shania Twain]
1) Swingin' With My Eyes Closed
2) Home Now
3) Light Of My Life
4) Poor Me
5) Who's Gonna Be Your Girl
6) More Fun
7) I'm Alright
8) Roll Me On The River
9) We Got Something They Don't
10) You Can't Buy Love
11) Life's About To Get Good
8) Let's Kiss and Make Up
9) Where Do You Think You're Going
10) Roll Me On The River
11) We Got Something They Don't
12) Because Of You
13) You Can't Buy Love
14) Life's About To Get Good
16) All In All
Ultimately - and I don't say this easily as I've been a fan of Shania's for years - I probably won't be returning to this album. The songs included in this release fail to build upon or even match Shania's past catalogue - even as far back as tracks like Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? - and, put simply, the majority of Now leaves you asking what more could have been done. A real shame.