The Woman In Me

Shania Twain

Mercury Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez


A couple of months back, I reviewed Shania Twain's last album, Come On Over. After that review came out, I received several e-mails from long-standing country fans who proceeded to declare that Twain was not country. I agreed with them in that Come On Over was more of a pop album that had country influences on it. So, should I have expected the same from the album that launched Ms. Twain (or is it Mrs. Mutt?)'s career? Expected more? less? Let's not get ahead and, instead, take it from the top.

After her debut album went pretty much unnoticed, Shania hooked up with producer-writer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Somehow you'd think that this strange pairing--Canadian-country bumpkin Twain and British mega-producer Lange--was going to go bust. After all, Lange has produced some of rock's biggest names and albums--Def Leppard's Pyromania and Hysteria, AC/DC's Highway To Hell and Back In Black. His background is, to put it mildly, not in country music. Meanwhile, Twain had yet to get her break in the country scene that pretty much expects you to play by many unwritten rules. Their relationship worked and--amazingly enough--Twain and "Mutt" got married.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

How does all of that above affect the music within this jewel case? Contrary to her first album, Twain does all of the writting here--along with Lange. Also, Lange brings his expertise in big sound and over-the-top writting to the table. This partnership makes The Woman In Me work and work succesfully.

So, how does it differ from its successor? Well, when I first popped it in, I thought I was going to get another pop album. Instead, The Woman In Me is definitely and without a doubt country. Make no mistakes about it. Now, let's take a closer look.

You can definitely hear and feel Mutt's touch on most of this album. Hit songs like "Any Man Of Mine," "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!" and "The Woman In Me (Needs The Man In You)" all benefit from Lange's production and from the pop sensibilities he brings. The guy can recognize a hit song. However, they are all country songs.

Nevertheless, you can hear the pop sounds that would dominate the latter album on songs like "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" and "Raining On Our Love." "No One Needs To Know" is perhaps the closest they may come to "true country music." Meanwhile, "Home Ain't Where His Heart Is (Anymore)" and "Is There Life After Love?" feature a softer side to the duo's writings. They lay the foundation for the mega-hits "From This Moment On" and "You're Still The One."

There are a few missteps here. "If It Don't Take Two" sounds like a weak attempt at rocking out and isn't as good as some of the other songs. "You Win My Love" sounds waaay too much like something Lange and Bryan Adams might have created in their last collaborations. Finally, "God Bless The Child" doesn't work for me. It just seems they went out and wrote this five minutes before they were supposed to lay it down.

A big complain I have is all them damn parentheses and exclamation marks. Do you realize that one song is titled "I'm Outta Here!" or that the opening track is "Home Ain't Where His Heart Is"? I know what the title is and what it implies, but does every other song need this? I know that on Come On Over they get even worse, but c'mon ! Give the songs real names and remember that parentheses or exclamation marks aren't needed for the title.

Overall, I found this album to be much more enjoyable than its successor. Perhaps it is because the Twain and Lange connection had yet to go full-on, balls-out, to-the-top (and many people thought this was it!). But this album can strongly reside in the country landscape along with the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill. It doesn't even seem that distant. Now, can someone explain to me what the big deal was with Shania's stomach and country music TV?

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.