As we look forward to 2017, there is this ray of sunlight in the distance: new music from Shania Twain.
Shania wasn't the first singer to get me into the genre as kid growing up in Texas in the '90s, but she solidified my love for country music. The Woman in Me CD is among the first I ever owned. If memory serves, I actually got it as a 10th birthday present the week after it came out in February of 1995. With the promise of new music on the horizon, I decided to go back and listen to this album that I wore out during my childhood.
Looking at it as a whole, I have to say it's one of the greatest albums ever made. The singles alone offer a diverse snapshot of the project. Four out of the eight singles released from this album topped the country charts. And you have to remember that each track was co-written by Twain and her ex-husband (and producer) Mutt Lange, with the exception of one.
"Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" was the first release from the project and Shania's first hit. She had released three previous singles from her first self-titled album, but none of them even broke the top 50. This one made it all the way to No. 11. What was the appeal? It wasn't callous, it wasn't bitter, but she was calling out her love who had been running around in such a catchy way.
Then came the assertive "Any Man of Mine" that revealed to men what women really want. We want to be loved whether we've gained weight or we're being contradictory. It's not that complex!
"The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You)" was the first serious relationship song released and it stopped you in your tracks. "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!" was destined to be a karaoke favorite. "You Win My Love" was an instant road trip song. (This is the one that was solely written by Lange, BTW.)
My favorite from the album, though, was the sweet love song "No One Needs to Know." I'm definitely one of those girls who has their entire wedding planned out even though they're not dating someone and, apparently, I'm not the only one because this song went No. 1.
"Home Ain't Where His Heart Is (Anymore)" will break your heart. It may have been the sixth single, but this song is the first track on the album -- and when this project was released we didn't have MP3s so we usually listened in order -- and it set a wonderful tone for the entire project. There is a pain in Shania's voice that sells this sadness of the back end of a love story. This song showcases her relatable songwriting and flawless voice.
The final single was also the final song on the album, "God Bless the Child." It was released to country radio on Nov. 30, 1997 and only barely broke the top 50, which few would call a success. But it was a striking, original song that was released completely a cappella. To this day, it's a fan favorite.
The Woman in Me was comprised of love, heartbreak and desire. It personified the contradictions and complications that are involved in being a woman, thus reflecting its title perfectly.
Shania Twain - The Woman In Me