Greatest Hits - Shania Twain

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Greatest Hits - Shania Twain

1 CD(s) - Country - Label: Mercury, Universal - Distributor: Universal Music, Universal Music; Arvato Services - Released: 08/11/2004 - 602498636046

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Review of "Greatest Hits - Shania Twain"

published 23/12/2010 | JOHNV
Member since : 13/07/2000
Reviews : 886
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About me :
2000-2015, 886 reviews. Thanks all - it was fun while it lasted, but nothing lasts forever.
Super
Pro All but one of the major hits; generous playing time
Cons Verges on the samey and formularised in places
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"Queen of country pop, or sell-out?"

Shania Twain

Shania Twain

Aha, Shania Twain. Wasn’t she the country chanteuse who sold out by diluting her style with all those unbearably commercial songs, letting her record company remix them for the dance crowd, and promoting them with all those tarty gimmicky videos? Or was she the one who (or whose former husband, Def Leppard producer Robert John Lange) spotted a gap in the market, broadened the appeal just a bit to make her more palatable to pop an rock fans, and notched up a hefty string of Top 10 hits plus the best-selling album of the last year of the previous millennium in 'Come On Over'?

Let’s take a middle course between the two. Shania’s career was boosted into the stratosphere by a pretty slick marketing operation. But then so were those of Elvis, the Beatles, Adam and the Ants, the Corrs...and five thousand others. What’s new? Her early albums were pleasant but hardly spectacular. The major hits might have been irritatingly catchy if you heard them too often, but all things considered, she was about as good as they got in the country-meets-pop stakes. And this 21-track ‘Greatest Hits’ does have, well, nearly all the greatest hits. All except one, in fact (read on).

It’s a racing certainty that you probably know the most successful songs, ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’, ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman!’- you're bound to remember the brilliant tongue-in-cheek video sending up Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ - and ‘Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)’ inside out, unless you deliberately turned the radio off every time they came on. (On here ‘Don’t Be Stupid’, by the way, is the original album track version, not the remixed version with that added top-heavy drum track single remix). I can’t really tell you anything new about them, so let’s look at some of the others instead.

Basically they tend to fall into three rather formularised categories. There are the out-and-out commercial pop-rock numbers, gutsy guitars and glossy drum machine-created thumping beats, closer to ZZ Top at their commercial peak than Tammy Wynette. (Significantly, engineer Terry Manning, best known for his work on ZZ Top's 'Eiminator' album, has had a hand in some tracks on here too). There are the more conventional pop-country steel guitar and fiddle-driven numbers, of which Tammy would surely have approved. Then there are a few ballads, a kind of breathing space between everything else.

The three new songs offer up something from each category. ‘Party For Two’, a duet with Mark McGrath, is a poppy number with plenty of tremolo on the lead guitar, that threatens to break into the Equals’ 1968 stomper ‘Baby Come Back’. (OK, Pato Banton also had a No 1 hit with it in the 90s, but as so often, nothing beats the original). ‘Don’t’ is a rather nondescript ballad, pleasant enough but not much more, while ‘I Ain’t No Quitter’, is back to the more traditional country sound.

‘Up’ is almost insanely catchy, so love it or loathe it, it’s one of those songs that will have you singing along without you realising it. Shania could have taught Abba a thing or two about irresistible hooks – or, on second thoughts, maybe that’s where she learnt it all from. ‘Come On Over’ isn’t far behind, though it varies the formula a little with that more funky rhythm and accordion.

‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under’ is as close to standard country as it gets, with that slightly corny title, a story in the lyrics that’s easily guessed at, and that steel guitar country sound that immediately evinces mutterings of ‘yee-haw!’ It’s a style followed by the similarly bouncy ‘No One Needs To Know’, ‘Honey I’m Home’, ‘Any Man Of Mine’, and ‘If You’re Not In It For Love I’m Outta Here’. The latter’s the best of these, in my view – a rockier affair with slide and dobro guitars and harmonica spicing things up.

The best of the ballads come in ‘You’re Still The One’, her first British hit, and ‘The Woman In Me’. Probably the most untypical track is the slowish ‘Ka Ching!’, which starts with cash register sound, and moody strings. Cue comparisons with Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ and lyrical references to “We've created us a credit card mess/We spend the money we don't possess/Our religion is to go and blow it all/So it's shoppin' every Sunday at the mall”. Thought-provoking stuff, methinks, until it goes all lovey-dovey with the last verse – “It makes you wanna sing/You'll love to dream/With lots of money and things”. Er, maybe not so radical after all.

The second UK hit ‘When’ is missing from this set. It’s an odd omission, especially when you think that one of the newer songs might have been saved for the next new album (which at the time of writing is still to be completed), and in view of the fact that it has regularly been played on the radio as an oldie. Still, at 77 minutes’ playing time, nobody will feel shortchanged.

I’m in two minds about this CD. It’s a tad samey in places, and listening to the whole lot, say, in a single sitting or in the car might prove mildly irritating. On the other hand, it’s hard to fault the songs and arrangements, and at its best it is very very good. All in all, it’s probably one of those records that falls into the category of the average mega-seller by U2, Coldplay and others (though they are from completely different genres, of course) - you’re very glad to have a copy, but you might not play it too often.

Interestingly, when this CD was released in 2004, her major hits were rarely off the radio as oldies. In the last three or four years, she does seem to have dropped a little off the staple radio playlists. Has she fallen slightly out of fashion, or possibly paying the price for over-exposure a few years ago? Just a thought.


This is a revised version of the review I originally posted on dooyoo

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Comments on this review

  • ames123 published 22/01/2011
    Great review.
  • lilloulfc published 16/01/2011
    I had forgot about her excellent review
  • jonathanb published 06/01/2011
    On the whole I quite like her and she's produced some excellent songs, but you're right that she's best in smallish doses. In my view things took a major downturn with "Party For Two" and its cringe-worthy lyrics and I'd find it hard to take "Ka Ching" remotely seriously when she must be hugely rich, but overall she's very good at what she does.
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Product Information : Greatest Hits - Shania Twain

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1 CD(s) - Country - Label: Mercury, Universal - Distributor: Universal Music, Universal Music; Arvato Services - Released: 08/11/2004 - 602498636046

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EAN: 602498636046

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