iPods are peculiar gadgets. I have 5,557 tracks on mine, and it's always set on shuffle, but there must be only about a dozen artists in active rotation because every day I seem to get the same old songs. Today, though, I got a little surprise. Could it be? Shania Twain? Nah. No, seriously, "Nah," one of my favorites from Shania's last CD, Up!, which came out nearly six years ago. I read somewhere that she's working on new music for release later in 2008, and I couldn't be happier because I've been suffering from extreme Shania withdrawal since her last release, the song "Shoes" from the Desperate Housewives soundtrack in 2005. One of my all-time favorite singers (her unexpected cameo and Jean Smart were the only things I liked about the movie I Heart Huckabees), she was the subject of my first cover story as a People magazine writer (link). I even came in to work on my 30th birthday (I had never before worked on my birthday and haven't since) to finish it.
Come On Over may have been a bigger hit, but in my opinion, Up! is one of the 10 best CDs of the 21st century. I must admit that I'm a little bit worried about where Shania goes from here. What will her recent split from her husband and producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange after his alleged (by People) affair with her former secretary mean for her career? Mutt's production contributed greatly to the appeal of the three albums he and Shania did together. What made Shania such an interesting country star, aside from the fact that her music isn't all that country, is that she wrote all of her own material and worked outside the genre's reservoir of production talent. Consider Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill. Take away their voices, and it's hard to tell the different between any of their songs. But there's no mistaking Shania. Time will tell what new tricks she pulls out of her sleeve. Let's hope to God that Timbaland isn't on her speed dial. In the meantime, the only way is Up!.
Here are my 10 favorite Shania songs in alphabetical order:
- "Any Man of Mine" I once did this at karaoke, and by the end, the entire room was in a fit of laughter.
- "Honey I'm Home" (link) Whenever anyone claims that Shania is totally pop, I play them the original version of this No. 1 country hit.
- "Ka-Ching!" Shania channels Missing Persons.
- "Love Gets Me Every Time" Her most underrated No. 1--if you can call a No. 1 underrated.
- "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" Her signature song--although it only reached No. 4 on the country chart and No. 23 on the Hot 100. In Buenos Aires even people who don't speak English seem to know all the words.
- "Nah!" I'll have to remember to play this the next time someone dumps me.
- "No One Needs to Know" Beyond tuneful and effortlessly excellent. After a trio of novelty-esque hits from her breakthrough The Woman in Me CD launched her stardom, this confirmed her talent.
- "Thank You, Baby! (For Making Someday Come So Soon)" I bought the CD single in the UK (it was never released in the U.S.) because it included the video (see below), which features Shania as the biggest female museum attraction this side of the Mona Lisa.
- "Waiter! Bring Me Water!" The chorus is so Def Leppard, circa Hysteria (produced--natch!--by Mutt). Pop storytelling at its very best. Should have been a single. The video would have been killer!
- "You're Still the One" Since she wrote it about herself and Mutt, I'll never again be able to listen to it in the same way.