Fifteen years after her last studio album, Up!, Shania Twain bursts back onto the musical landscape with Now. A lot has changed in the past fifteen years — for Twain especially, with the album following the divorce of her husband and musical partner Mutt Lange. While Now has songs about love lost — a territory the usual love-happy Twain doesn’t write about — it’s not an album about divorce or sadness.
Now is a diverse album in its lyrical content — to a fault. It does its best to recreate some of Shania’s golden chart toppers but with mixed results. The collection of songs follow no real path or message, which is a shame — surely Twain has a lot to say, and that makes the album’s constant meandering all the more disappointing.
That’s not to say Now isn’t without its highlights. These tracks include album opener, ‘Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed,’ ‘Home Now’ and ‘Life’s About To Get Good’ among others. One thing these songs have in common is their joyous country nature. In the past, Twain has always flirted with pop music, infusing her country roots into mainstream pop bops. With Now, the country has been heavily watered down, but the pop aspects have been, too. When Twain is unafraid to let her Southern twang fly, Now shines.
Two of Now‘s best are delegated to the Deluxe edition. ‘Let’s Kiss and Make Up’ is the closest the album gets to having a titular track, an enjoyable number where Shania urges reconciliation now. ‘Because of You’ is the only real romantic story told on Now, but even it pales in comparison to her past works like ‘From This Moment On.’
It’s sad to say that Shania Twain’s comeback would be forgettable, but a quick look at her past discography does just that. Twain’s 2004 Greatest Hits can still turn a party, full of timeless numbers that have aged like a fine wine. Now, on the other hand, already feels dated. Fifteen years may have passed since Twain’s last release, but the album feels stuck in the past.
As someone who grew up listening to Shania Twain on repeat, Now just doesn’t feel worth the wait. Shania is, and always will be, one of music’s finest. She’s one of the best selling artists for a good reason. With that said, Now does nothing to leave her past work in the dust, nor does it complement old hits. Instead, the album is just generic rehashing of past works. Nothing on the album elevates Twain to new levels, and that’s probably the biggest disservice this album could do for her.
Twain stays in her wheelhouse when she should push herself further out of her comfort zone. Now covers new ground lyrically, but it still feels paint-by-numbers. Without a doubt, Twain’s resurgence in the music world is refreshing, as she opens herself up to a new generation of music lovers who will no doubt find themselves engrossed in her catalog. There’s a lot to be heard and enjoyed in her past releases, certainly more so than on Now.
Hopefully, the future has more new music from Shania in store, because on its own, Now just doesn’t cut it.