By Soda Canter
Queen of Me is adventurous, a bit weird and delightfully imperfect.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Shania Twain is quite human. One who, despite ever-changing the landscape of country music, has suffered heartbreak, loss and even destabilizing self-doubt.
Her Netflix documentary, Not Just a Girl, dissipated the mythical shield that surrounded her legendary career by offering an inside glimpse of the woman behind the global brand.
Queen of Me, Twain’s first album in six years, continues this revelatory conversation.
Instead of merely continuing to expose aspects of Twain’s energizing spirit, it carves out a space that seems affirming for her and her alone. It asserts the idea that, after conquering the world, the only thing left is to conquer the relationship with yourself. Perhaps, you may find a little joy in the process too.
The glossy set finds Twain jumping from genre to genre like a gold medalist runner, tackling each hurdle with ease and confidence. ‘Giddy Up!’ is a cheeky sidekick to the bouncy pop of ‘Waking Up Dreaming’; equally obvious choices as nostalgic singles, both the songs are pleasingly reminiscent of her seminal ‘90s work.
Yet it’s the mid-tempo ‘Brand New’ that’s a dazzling notion of rebirth, Twain accentuating every syllable to emphasise the fact this is her story, told from her own unique perspective.
She continues to experiment through an array of production choices. The doo-wop leaning ‘Best Friend’, blue-eyed soul of ‘Pretty Liar’ and new age-guided ‘Inhale/Exhale AIR’ all serve as the creative core of the album, where Twain is undoubtedly having the most fun she’s had on record in years.
The fun abruptly pauses though on the supremely out-of-place ‘Last Day of Summer’ and the title track which, while conceptually intriguing, falls flat with trite lyrics and scrambled production that even Twain’s conviction in delivery can’t save.
In typical fashion though, she always finds her groove again; this time on the dance floor ready ‘Number One’, a song that’s destined to be in contention for the 2023 song of the summer.
Queen of Me is adventurous, a bit weird and delightfully imperfect. Here, Shania succeeds when taking risks, even if some of the results aren’t fully formed.
It’s clear that Twain’s next creative evolution isn’t about the end result, but the heart-rendered dedication to the journey instead.
7.5 / 10.
Shania Twain's 2023 album, Queen of Me, is released on February 3rd via Republic Records. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:
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