Shania Twain - Up

Shania Twain has committed hideous crimes against country music for the best part of a decade, yet as I find myself gently easing to the wrong side of twenty five there's something strangely appealing about this woman whose feminist lyrics are simple in the extreme and whose tune are slightly less annoying that Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart". It was the country crossover hit "That Don't Impress Me Much" which set Shania on her way and looking back in retrospect it has the same novelty value in country music which Liam Lynch's "United States Of Whatever" had to punk music 2003.

From the outset "Up" was always destined for success and with "I'm Gonna Getcha Good" as the comeback single it was assured. Combining the sort of crunching chords Def Leppard would be proud, lush bollywood influenced string sections and a fully matured chunk of countrified cheese to ensure she doesn't loose her core audience. The albums title track equally pilfers from a host of eighties guitar bands such as REM and Roxette while you can imagine proud line dancers polishing their boots before dancing around the kitchen in a semi-detached house in Stoke. Elsewhere things are more laid-back with a series of ballads such as "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" and "I'm Jealous" destined to become "our special songs" between middle aged couples and on "(Wanna Get To Know You) That Good!" and "C'est La Vie" there's reminders of T'Pau.

The second CD is where things certainly get more interesting though with remixed versions of all 19 tracks featured on CD1. Although in no way leftfield or adventurous, when you consider the average age of a Shania Twain fan, this CD with certainly open up a lot of minds musically. Very much driven by the rhythmic influences throughout a range of continents and cultures with Latin and Asian flavours mixed next to a loose R&B feel over the slower tracks. "Ka Ching" for example could be a cut from Wu Tang until the chorus brings it up to a full on bollywood ballad. "What A Way To Wanna Be!" has a banging bhangra beat while the strings are omnipresent.

Despite the fact that liking Shania Twain is probably considered a detainable offence there's a certain charm to this country bollyrock hybrid. And when you consider there's 3 different versions of this album flying around to show the world the different aspects of Ms Twains personality, you've got to give her the credit that is due for being even more pretentious than Radiohead ever could dream of!!!

Alex McCann

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