With Shania Twain’s first world tour in 14 years about to hit London, we celebrate seven of her most indelible country-pop moments.
‘You’re Still the One’
Twain’s first ever UK hit may sound sweetly sentimental, but it carries a surprising sting in the tail. She actually wrote it in response to somewhat sexist press speculation that her marriage to ex-husband Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange, a record producer nearly 17 years her senior, was a career move. There’s definitely a hint of spiky defiance in her voice when she sings: ‘They said, “I bet they’ll never make it”, but just look at us holding on.’
‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’
Let’s be real: the song that cemented Twain’s status as the queen of country-pop is about as country as a branch of All Bar One. It’s really a bolshy dance-pop banger whose production – hiya, Mutt! – already sounded dated when it came out in 1998. But that doesn’t stop it from being an irresistible clap-back to the world’s braggadocious blokes. The way she calls out a vain potential partner – ‘Okay, so you’re Brad Pitt’ – is one of the greatest pop moments of the ’90s.
‘Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)’
Though 1997’s ‘Come On Over’ album broke Twain in the UK, its predecessor, 1995’s ‘ The Woman in Me’, had been super-successful Stateside. So you can’t blame her for feeling confident about the sound she and Lange had created. At the end of this song’s deliciously cheesy violin intro, she almost seems to congratulate the pair of them by saying ‘Cool!’. The rest of the track is just as catchy, as Twain tells a jealous guy to chill out and back off. Her lyrics aren’t fancy, but there’s no denying she writes relatable songs that are packed with character.
‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’
With its giddy lyrics and iconic video paying homage Robert Palmer’s MTV classic ‘Addicted to Love’, Twain’s female empowerment banger is essentially a ’90s update of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’. The fact that it’s since become a drag favourite as well as a ladies’ night staple is entirely appropriate – she says it was partly inspired by the drag performers she saw while working a pre-fame bartending job. Some of their sass surely comes through in the endlessly quotable opening line: ‘Let’s go, girls!’
‘I’m Gonna Getcha Good!’
This country(ish) pop nugget from Twain’s 2002 album ‘Up’ is precision-tooled to repeat the pop crossover success of ‘Come on Over’. Who can blame Twain and Lange for sticking to a formula that had sold 40m albums last time out? Hearteningly, there’s still a hint of quirkiness hidden among the rock-solid pop hooks. No one but Twain would try a chat-up line like: ‘You’re a fine piece of real estate, and I’m gonna get me some land!’
Okay, so we obviously don’t really need a multimillionaire who resides in low-tax Switzerland to tell us that capitalism ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. But given Twain’s own journey from an impoverished upbringing in Canada, where her family lived for a time in a homeless shelter, she’s probably got some perspective on the whole money-and-happiness thing. Besides, ‘Ka-Ching!’ is an underrated banger that shows off Twain’s endless exuberance – even when she’s singing about the ‘credit card mess’ society has created, she rounds off the song title with a chirpy exclamation mark.
‘Life’s About to Get Good’
Sure, this single from Twain’s 2017 comeback album ‘Now’ is a bit simplistic. ‘Life’s about joy, life’s about pain, life’s about to get good,’ she sings on the cute chorus. But she wrote it following a mother of a rough patch – her marriage broke down after Lange allegedly had an affair with her best friend (Twain is now married to, erm, that friend’s ex-husband). Then Lyme disease took her singing voice for several years. So really, her optimism feels heartwarming. Shania, it’s great to see you smashing it on stage again.
Shania Twain plays The O2 Arena on Oct 2-3.
Check out Time Out’s guide to the 50 best pop songs, ever.