Headbanger's (?) Guide #16 - Now album [Shania Twain, 2017]

Headbanger's (?) Guide #16 - Now album [Shania Twain, 2017]

Postby A7XDrumCovers » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:54 am

15 years is a really long time. After so long without any albums from the best selling female artist of all time, Shania finally released her newest album in 2017 called “Now”. It had topped sales charts, and made her a household name once again to those who may have forgotten about her existence in the music industry. General consumers were back on the hype train for more Shania the moment she announced the new album. I was one of them.

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History

After returning to my favourite album, Come On Over, listening to it again and again over the course of 2017, I remembered that there was a time where music was genius with structure, additional sounds, and melodies. Nowadays as I listen to music, the modern era has moved away from these additional sounds and we’ve stuck to traditional beats, with a lot of bass or guitar chugging, depending on your genre. It isnt bad per se, but I do very much miss this Disney-level magic that Shania had in her music, especially thanks to her producer and then-husband, Mutt Lange. He had a vision as much as she did for something perfect. Come On Over doesn’t have a single bad song on it, my favourite’s being “When”, “I’m Holdin Onto Love (To Save My Life)”, and “I Won’t Leave You Lonely”, which all have some phenomenal structure and instrumental songwriting I have never heard from anything else before. This album was clearly the foundation that lead to the modern country era that we all know about today, she was truly paving the wall between old and new.

Why am I talking about Come On Over so much? Well, you have to consider her best when looking into what makes this new album good or bad. You have to consider that it’s been 20 years between the newest album and that one, and you also have to consider her history. Since 2002 she has had lyme disease, which destroyed her voice, she had divorced with her producer at the time, which meant finding a new producer, and several other smaller events snowballed to create a very big change to Shania that really meant bad news for fans. Ultimately leading up to this point where she randomly drops a new album after finally giving into fan demand of new music. She was ready to return.

You have to remember: There are already 2 red flags with this happening. First is her lyme disease, which in her case was severe, to the point where she couldnt even talk for some time. Second was her divorce with Mutt Lange, which lead to her having 5 TOTAL PRODUCERS on one album, including herself. Don’t get me wrong, you can do that, but that is not exactly a good thing to have. On average, most albums have maybe 2 or 3 at the very most, not 5. She also has not been her own producer up to this point, to my knowledge. So this was a first for her, too. There is but one last red flag: The industry has changed around her and she is now going to have to make the choice to adapt, or accept and stay the same. Did she adapt? Well, let’s finally take a look at the album.

Review
Track 1 - Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed
She certainly tried to adapt, there’s no doubt about that. Or perhaps it was her 4 other producers that wanted to make her adapt. This is the best song on the album, and unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of good to say about it. It’s very strange that it starts you with a modern country sound and jumps right into some sort of reggae type beat, it really doesn’t make any sense. Like, why waste my time for the first 10 seconds of the song? To tease me? Because honestly it’s my favourite part of the whole song, when she actually does modern country it works. Oddly enough, the chorus almost does that, but then they lay down this crappy pop drum beat in it that just doesn’t sound like something Shania would do, or even modern country would do. Then they have this cringey build-up section before last chorus, straight out of some old dubstep album with a string instrument, just so bizarre. It’s very clear she’s catering more to the pop industry than her country-side. Also, her voice is so bad in this song at the start, that its actually spine-tingling levels of creepy robot vibes. The auto-tune is absolutely ridiculous on this entire album, to the point where it sounds like they’re just trying to simulate her voice and she isn’t even singing anymore. For as much as I want new music, her voice is awfully painful to listen to. There are ways to make her voice sound better besides auto-tune, and a perfect example is the next track...

Track 2 - Home Now
This song WORKS. It functions like a normal Shania track and could work as a modern country track, it’s got some nice additional flair to it with the strings, banjo, and guitar near the end. Her vocals sound great and not filled with ridiculous auto-tune like the rest of the album, it’s tolerable. This song is actually very catchy, and it would be so good if it wasn’t for the beat again. You’re going to hear me say a lot about this album. The drums were not Shania’s forte in her music but suddenly in this album, everything is all about the drums! I don’t get it. It’s stupid, and it makes this song sound much more droned out and boring. The beat for verse and chorus stay more or less the same without any special changes, nothing exciting or enticing for the listener to point out. Then JUST when you think the song is about to have a fun and exciting beat change, doubling the beat per-se, nothing happens. The beat just continues the same way. It’s so boring, I could program these drums in 5 minutes. Uninspired and lazy is the name of the game.

Track 3 - Light Of My Life
This song is bad. Depressing guitar and drums, crazy auto-tune, really bad lyrics. I do like the transition from verse to chorus, and I feel like that was the idea and they worked around that and it just didn’t work. Moving on.

Track 4 - Poor Me
Stop. You’ve heard the first 10 seconds, you’ve heard it all. This is literally just Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers, who the fuck let this pass? This is Avenged Sevenfold This Means War levels of copy and paste. Awful.
Reference - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io0fBr1XBUA

Track 5 - Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl
The last notable song in the first half of the album honestly. An actually really good chorus honestly, it’s very catchy and pulls off Shania’s new low range really well and I would’ve loved to hear more of that. Too bad the lyrics are pretty bad again. It sounds like she didn’t try because she figured neither does the music industry in 2017, which, touche Shania, but coming from one of the masterminds of lyrics in 1997, what on earth are you doing? You could be making god-like lines after 15 years of damage, but you come out with this? The verse and bridge are also a little too much like the chorus and I would’ve liked to have seen more tweaking, and possibly some banjo involvement to make it differentiate from the chorus. The strings at the end are a nice touch.

Tracks 6 - 10 are all bad filler. Here’s some short thoughts going deeper:

Track 6 - More Fun
Stupid. Makes zero sense to be a Shania song. More pandering to pop. Also, the beginning for some reason sounds like Nine In The Afternoon but if it was stripped down to almost nothing.
Reference - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCto3PCn8wo

Track 7 - I’m Alright
Want to hear more Robot Shania? Here you go! Other than that, very boring, strings create the illusion that it’s a country song. Next.

Track 8 - Let’s Kiss and Make Up
What the hell is this? Seriously? This is actually Wal-Mart music. Like, you walk into Wal-Mart and this is the music that’s playing. This is the most quintessential advertisement music I’ve heard next to Best Day Of My Life. Drums are uninspired, again.
Reference - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY

Track 9 - Where Do You Think You’re Going
See “I’m Alright”, but more “sad” chords. If Adele can do it, so can you, right?!

Track 10 - Roll Me On The River
Arabian Knight remix meets Wal Mart music? This is incredibly strange. I don’t really know what they wanted to do with this. Most definitely filler, and for Shania this is an all new low. I don’t see any filler on her previous albums, everything gets equal amounts of love and passion. This is just blatantly incomplete, and the drums sound unbelievably dull and uninspired once more!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Track 11 - We Got Something They Don’t
A-ha! Now we’re getting to some juicy stuff again. This song is 100%, straight up written for Alanis Morissette. Why is this a Shania Twain song? Don’t get me wrong, it’s very good, but in my opinion it doesn’t really fit her new voice, and there is like, zero reference to previous material, which admittedly makes it sound less cringey, but again, this isn’t a Shania song. How many songs do you have to make before you recognize that what you are doing is just lazy pop copy-pastas? The drums are actually really good in this song, but it’s because of how the song rolls, and Alanis Morissette has very similar stuff where drums are a strong point, with some funky and loud bass. This is yet another example of being over-inspired, but it’s a better song than most of the others. It’s one of my favourite tracks for sure, but only on it’s own merits, not based on being a Shania track.

Track 12 - Because Of You
This song could honestly work. It needs some tweaking. Better drum samples, it needs a ride cymbal to keep time in the high registers, possibly a banjo, or some strings for additional sounds. They sort of just keep it bass drum, snare, acoustics, and her. That’s all well and good but it’s very empty for a Shania ballad. The song is actually a very good demo, with a lot of potential.

Track 13 - You Can’t Buy Love
It’s actually really funny, I forgot this song existed. I was going to praise the next track but then I realized this song existed. This and the next song are the EXACT. SAME. SONG. (but somehow, somewhat worse!) One just has a different beat and electric guitar. This is actually embarrassing. How did they put these two songs together and not say “Wait, we recorded both of these songs in the same session we should probably not have them back to back!”. I guess the dumbasses who made this didn’t get the memo that copy and paste of the same song on an album that already has copy and paste of dozens of other pop songs, is a very dumb idea. More details on how the actual song sounds here:

Track 14 - Life’s About To Get Good
This was the first song released for the marketing of this album. It’s honestly a good song. It has a good mix of country elements with the piano, strings, acoustic guitar and banjo, and the drums are very modern country in the verses. Very basic bass drum and hats, and I like that. The drums in the chorus are a little more pop and that isn't exactly terrible in this case cause the song still retains a lot of the country elements in there, and the vocals are actually god-like this time around. The robotic sound is still a thing but it’s easy to ignore because her range along with the gang vocals makes it really fun to listen to, and honestly I could listen to this plenty. BUT. Doesn’t this sound like something out of Katy Perry’s catalogue? Like, something she would do and it would be a huge hit? I’m trying to make a point that this album is a perfect example that someone can be easily over-inspired to the point where you roll your eyes and anyone with a brain would point it out and move on. I love Shania. I want more Shania. This is not Shania 100%, this is half assed.

Also, top 10 worst lyrics in the world contender. “I wasn’t just broken, I WAS SHATTERED!!!1111!!!1” (insert 75 crying emojis here). I’m sorry, I get it, she was hurt when she was divorced, but this line is still bad. I can criticize the line as much as I want. Get over it.

Track 15 - Soldier
See “I’m Alright” for the second time. Sigh. This song is slightly better because at least they put a lot of effort into the piano and the other instruments near the climax.

Track 16 - All In All
Why are there 16 tracks on this album again? Anyway, this is sort of a hybrid between Life’s About To Get Good and I’m Alright. It has its time to shine, mostly after the chorus during that instrumental section. Other than that, boring song, and a bad last track.

Conclusion

Well, what can I say. This album bothers me. It is dull, over-inspired at times, uninspired at other times, a cash cow if I ever did see one, with some terrible auto tune, with really bad drums across the board, some silly and ridiculous additions of strings to songs that don't need them to slap you across the face with “REMEMBER SHANIA? WHEN SHE DID SONGS WITH A VIOLIN IN IT? LOOK WE CAN DO IT TOO!”. This whole album is honestly potential songwriting for other artists being wasted on a name. It’s like when Guitar Hero Live came out after years of no Guitar Hero, everyone was excited and when it got revealed your heart sank, and you realize the wasted potential that could’ve been something magical. A waste of time for someone so talented. A waste of my money buying this, and a waste of time for anyone who actually believes this album is anywhere near the level of magic of Come On Over, Up!, or The Woman In Me. People are sheep.

I give this album a rating of 4/10. I would recommend just to hear how ironically bad it is, and it would be a lower rating if it wasn't for that irony. So I guess give yourself a laugh or something.
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Re: Headbanger's (?) Guide #16 - Now album [Shania Twain, 20

Postby Lieutenant Fatman » Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:34 pm

Hey, welcome back, dude! How's it going?
Nice review of this come back album. Shame it didn't meet your expectations, can be a bit gutting when that happens, I know.
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Re: Headbanger's (?) Guide #16 - Now album [Shania Twain, 20

Postby Musashi1596 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:49 am

But can I bang my head to it?
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Re: Headbanger's (?) Guide #16 - Now album [Shania Twain, 20

Postby A7XDrumCovers » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:03 am

Lieutenant Fatman wrote:Hey, welcome back, dude! How's it going?
Nice review of this come back album. Shame it didn't meet your expectations, can be a bit gutting when that happens, I know.

I'm doing great, thank you for asking! Miss you guys. :-D Finished up college for drum performance and music and now I'm in a signed band! I suppose I could add the band info to my sig now, probs needs an update lol.

In terms of the review, yeah it kind of sucks when an album is super dissapointing like this and its even worse when people actually believe its a true return to form. I'm sitting here shaking my head, but idk, guess opinions is opinions.

Musashi1596 wrote:But can I bang my head to it?


I wouldnt be opposed to you banging your head to it, but I certainly wouldn't. You could bang your head against the CD jewel case too, would probably be more productive than making that entire album ever was. :mrgreen:
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Re: Headbanger's (?) Guide #16 - Now album [Shania Twain, 20

Postby Musashi1596 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:36 am

A7XDrumCovers wrote:I wouldnt be opposed to you banging your head to it, but I certainly wouldn't. You could bang your head against the CD jewel case too, would probably be more productive than making that entire album ever was. :mrgreen:
As long as it isn't one of those flimsy cardboard cases that are popular now
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