Has anyone else noticed that we haven’t heard much from Shania Twain in recent years? The Canadian country pop singer’s 1995 album, The Woman In Me, brought her to our attention. Then, in 1997, listeners across the world were captivated by Come On Over, which is currently the best-selling album by a female artist, of all time in any genre. Just to what genre does Twain belong? Her original label was strictly Country, but this sparked some controversy with “pure” country listeners, who did not agree. Perhaps this led to the multiple versions of her fourth studio album, Up!, which was released in November 2002.
Three versions of Up! were released, all with the same track listing: a country version (the green disc), a pop version (green disc), and an international version (blue disc), which was in the style of Bollywood music. I listened to the country version, but based on other reviews that I have read, the differences among the three are quite minimal. Twain’s voice is essentially the same in all three styles. The album you prefer depends solely on what you would like to hear more in the background, some fiddle and a banjo or some funk guitars, keyboards, and a string section.
If you liked Twain’s first few albums, then you’ll like Up!, unless you were hoping that Twain would expand her musical horizons. Despite the three different versions of the album, Twain ultimately does not seem to stray from her simple and oh-so-catchy tunes. Her voice sounds exactly the same as on Come on Over, and many of the songs reminded me of her older hits. It’s almost like she looked at her old songs as models for her new ones, instead of coming up with original material. You can decide for yourself whether that’s a good or a bad thing.
Up! garnered Twain the distinction of being the only female artist to have three consecutive albums released in the United States become Diamond. However, since Up! Twain has only released a handful of songs; on her website, she cited personal struggles as the reason for the delay in new music. Unless you count her Greatest Hits album, Twain’s fans have been without a new album for just about a decade! Twain released one single last year (after six long, empty years) entitled “Today is Your Day,” but there is still no word on a new album. Twain reported recently that she will by headlining Caesars Palace for two years starting later this year, with a show called Still the One. At least she gave us plenty to listen to; the 19 songs on Up! would probably be on a minimum of two albums for any other artist.