Artist Deep Dive is a series that looks into the career span of a musical artist. We look at the hits, the songs that didn’t get the justice they deserved and personal favorites.
I LOVE SHANIA TWAIN.
I had to open with that line in all caps bold in order for you to attempt to comprehend my feelings toward Shania. I could write a book about my love for this woman but this is not the time nor the place. I will try to keep my own Shania backstory to a minimum so we can instead dive into her incredible career as a country pop crossover star.
Shania was the first artist I remember listening to as a child and as a result, the first artist to make me fall in love with music. My dad used to play The Woman In Me album through his gigantic 90s speaker system and toddler Sarah would twirl around to “Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” and “Any Man of Mine” without understanding any of the words. I was never able to see her live when she was at her peak because I was too young and unfortunately she took a leave from music after the Up! tour ended in 2004. In 2011 I went to her book signing in LA by myself just to catch a glimpse of her. I ended up getting to stand right in front of her, shake her hand, and mumble incoherently for a few seconds while she smiled at my starstruckness. She was so beautiful and welcoming and I gave her the most sappy letter to ever exist. She probably thought I was a total fangirl (I was/still am) but I didn’t care. After years of admiring and idolizing her, I finally got to meet Shania. I cried and I have zero shame about it.
PULLING IT TOGETHER NOW let’s talk about Shania’s career by numbers. She is the best selling female country artist of all time which gives her the well deserved title of Queen of Country Pop. Throughout her career, she has sold over 85 million records. When you take that number and throw it into the arena of all genres, it also makes her one of the best selling artists of all time.
No one really talks about Shania’s self titled debut album because it wasn’t until her second (The Woman In Me) that she really blew up. I am choosing not to talk about it either because unlike the rest of her albums, Shania didn’t write very many of the songs on her debut and there were quite a few songs that were actually covers.
The Woman In Me – 1995
The Woman In Me is the first of three albums that future ex-husband Mutt Lange would write and produce with Shania. TWIM sold 20 million albums worldwide, gave Shania the first of many US Country #1’s (“Any Man of Mine”) and won her her first Grammy. “Any Man of Mine” also peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100, Shania’s first step toward country pop crossover Queen.
- The Hits: “Any Man of Mine,” “(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here!,” “You Win My Love,” “No One Needs to Know”
- Songs That Deserve Justice: “Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” “The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You)”
- SAS Personal Favorites: “Any Man Of Mine,” “Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” No One Needs To Know,” “You Win My Love”
Come On Over – 1997
Shania’s third album, Come On Over, is the best selling female studio album OF ALL TIME with over 40 million album sales worldwide. Did you read that right? OF. ALL. TIME. Come On Over also has bragging rights as the best selling country album of all time. Sorry boys, Queen Shania reigns supreme. If TWIM was the start of the country-pop crossover, then COO was the takeover. COO earned Shania three US Country #1’s, four Grammys and a slew of other awards that are too long to list out (but you can read about here). Also notable, this album gave us the iconic music video for “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.” If you haven’t watched it, stop reading this right now and take 3 minutes and 57 seconds to have your life changed by clicking here.
- The Hits: “Love Gets Me Every Time,” “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You),” “You’re Still The One,” “From This Moment On,” “Honey I’m Home,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “Man! I Feel Like A Woman”
- Songs That Deserve Justice: “I’m Holding Onto Love (To Save My Life),” “Come On Over,” “Whatever You Do! Don’t!,” “Rock This Country!”
- SAS Personal Favorites: Literally all of them. I can’t pick favorites off this album because it is an actual masterpiece. (Best selling female studio album OF ALL TIME.)
Up! – 2002
Shania’s fourth album, Up!, was also a huge success (shocker to no one). Up! has sold around 20 million copies worldwide and spawned five songs in the US Country top 20. This album was interesting because it was the first time Shania purposefully put herself in the pop arena. Up! was released with three different versions – pop (red disc), country (green disc) and international (blue disc). At this point, Shania knew her crossover power and gave the people (aka me) what they wanted (MORE SHANIA). Each version of the album had the exact same track listing, just a slightly different production that would lend itself to its respective genre.
- The Hits: “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!,” “Up!,” “Forever and Always,” “She’s Not Just A Pretty Face,” “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing”
- Songs That Deserve Justice: “I Ain’t Going Down,” “In My Car (I’ll Be The Driver),” “Nah!,” “Ain’t No Particular Way”
- SAS Personal Favorites: “I Ain’t Going Down,” “She’s Not Just A Pretty Face,” I’m Gonna Getcha Good!,” “Nah!,” “Thank You Baby! (For Making Someday Come So Soon)”
In 2004, the world (mostly me) fell on dark times. Shania publicly stated that she was retiring from performing. Not until her 2011 memoir did we find out that in 2004 she was actually suffering from vocal problems which is what caused her retreat from music. BUT FEAR NOT. The heavens opened up in 2011 when my other fave, Queen Oprah, produced Shania’s short lived TV show, Why Not? with Shania Twain which basically served as Shania’s reintroduction to the public eye.
In 2012 Shania blessed us all and returned to the stage to perform a residency show in Las Vegas that would last through 2014. But that’s not the best part. The best part was that in 2015, SHANIA WENT ON TOUR FOR REAL. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 11 YEARS. AND I GOT TO GO. TWICE.
The show was everything I had dreamed about since I was a little girl dancing in my living room. She was captivating and beautiful and her vocals sounded great after everything she had been through. My Country Pop Queen still reigned supreme after all these years.
Here is playlist I put together that features my personal favorite Shania songs. I hope it serves as an introduction to The Queen if you’ve never listened before. Or if you have listened, I hope it’s a nice trip down memory lane.
“Let’s go girls.”
Featured image photo credit: Mercury Records