Canadian country-pop superstar Shania Twain released her long-awaited Queen of Me album 3rd February, with Republic Records/UMG Recordings.
And, overall, it’s a decent collection of reflective, original, uptempo, fun, feel-good songs. Perfect for anyone who’s gone through a tough break-up and wants to reconnect with hope.
Yes, there’s the usual over-production, as opposed to the fiddle and banjo of traditional country music (but Shania isn’t trying to be anyone she’s not; trademark vocals are still evident) and each of the songs will likely blur into each other, save for a couple of the more catchier, head-nodding choruses (“brand new me”, “up in your giddy up”). There are also a couple of songs that are a bit cringey, lyrically.
No, Queen Of Me isn’t as good as any of her four Diamond certified albums from the ‘90s, but Shania is a different woman twenty years on, with a world of personal pain behind her. The album’s 12 tracks will musically appeal to fans of pop divas, like Brittney, Kylie, even Queen Beyonce.
The production of Queen Of Me, from Dan Priddy and Mark Crew (Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Bastille) is more honed and consistent than Twain’s 2017’s Now album; it’s not trying to be a little bit country or a little bit of pop and country; this is a pop record from a legendary performer who knows how to put on a show, with producers who know drum-based production.
The highlights? I really enjoy the opening track and lead single, ‘Giddy Up!’ Great energy and fun, with a dance-inspired music video. From the woman who brought us the iconic, ‘Let’s Go Girls’ (you’ve just played the riff in your head!), this song epitomises the Queen of Me album, standing together and striding out with the formerly heartbroken. A gimmick of a song, or acknowledging how to have fun in a world where country music has a bit of a perceived cheesy reputation?
‘Brand New’ is the ballad to recovering from a bad relationship, “I cut you out when you cut me deep…you’ll always be the same old you, but I’m a brand new me”.
‘Pretty Liar’ is a fun song, reminding people to be aware of, well, pretty liars and the damage they can inflict, while you’re dancing carefree. Talk about getting burned.
Although ‘Queen of Me’ absolutely works on a song title level, the album’s titular song isn’t as strong as I’d hoped for, largely thanks to the provision of rhyming couplets designed by a primary school child.
And I could have done without listening to a couple of these songs, lyrically, although musically there is nothing wrong with them; ‘Last Day of Summer’ and ‘Not Just A Girl’.
But for fun, night out with the girls music? Shania’s still the one.
Twain’s Queen of Me tour kicks off at Florida’s Tortuga festival in April, and will reach the UK in September.
Track Listing: 1. Giddy Up! 2. Brand New 3. Waking Up Dreaming 4.Best Friend 5. Pretty Liar 6. Inhale/Exhale AIR 7. Last Day of Summer 8. Queen of Me 9. Got It Good 10. Number One 11. Not Just A Girl 12. The Hardest Stone Record Label: Republic Records/UMG Recordings Release Date: 3rd February Buy ‘Queen of Me’ now