It’s been fifteen years since we have had new music from Shania Twain and her return to music is bold, courageous and heart warming. Her fifth studio album “Now” documents the heart break she’s been through and re-finds the self belief that she lost in herself which resulted in her giving up music. Country music has changed quite a bit since she’s last released a record so she’s appropriately adapted to the evolving pop fusion with a more modern take. Sadly at 16 tracks long a lot of this becomes forgettable at best. Album opener “Swingin With My Eyes Closed” impresses with a reggae infused beat and a ridiculously catchy chorus. But it’s in that moment where the album peaks. “Poor Me” comes close as a runner up with it’s slightly EDM experimentation with a minimal beat that enhances the moving on anthem. It looks at finding out that her lover has left her to be with another woman and she is left to pick up the pieces. “He never told me how long, I’d been living in the dark. No one turned the light on, I fell and broke my heart”. A lot of the albums strongest moments come from her embracing her experimental side with the poppy lead single “Life’s About To Get Good” and the darker “More Fun” which could’ve done with a slightly more polished chorus to fulfil that anthemic chorus. She does deliver classic country roots with the sweet “Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl” and the stripped down “I’m Alright”. But the other strong country tracks like “Home Now”, “Light Of My Life” and “Roll Me On The River” are just truly forgettable and skip worthy. And don’t even get me started on the cheesy and utterly cringe worthy “Let’s Kiss And Make Up”, and “You Can’t Buy Love”.
After some vocal issues during her “UP!” era her vocals are noticeably different on this record. They are slightly darker with less of a twang and when I first heard “Life’s About To Get Good” she was almost unrecognisable. As a whole the record is commendable because this could’ve easily become a pity party with some of the album’s honest themes. But instead she has offered a positive outlook about using these events to grow as a person and that’s what we need to take away from this record. It could’ve done with some refining but after 15 years I guess some people do just want quantity over quality.