Why have a top 10 when you can have 11? We rank the very best tracks from Shania Twain
The list of artists that have successfully crossed over from country to pop is small. The list of those that have bounced cheerfully back and forth between the two genres is tiny. But somewhere very near the top of that list is Shania, whose commitment to releasing dancefloor-ready hits of either sonic persuasion has spanned three decades. When we talk about crossover success stories, Shania Twain is right up there with Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift – and she’s the only one of the three of them that’s dared to return from pop with a single called ‘Giddy Up!’
As Twain’s Queen Of Me tour travels the UK, we travel back through her discography to find her best 11 tracks.
11. What Made You Say That?
Shania’s debut single remains as charming a country love song as one could hope for. With a cheerful, buoyant vocal performance and a twang pronounced enough to make us all forget her Canadian passport, Twain secured herself a devoted audience. The ‘pop’ in the country pop of it all isn’t too evident yet, but the unreasonably catchy chorus definitely gives a sense that Twain is aiming for something more than your typical country hit.
10. I Ain’t Goin’ Down
One of Up!’s more country-leaning tracks tells the touching story of a teenage mother and her fight to build a life for herself and her child. ‘I Ain’t Goin’ Down’ combines the ingredients of every great country ballad – skillful storytelling, emotive vocals and a disapproving father – with pop drums and a big chorus. Many of Twain’s best tracks see her weaving country elements into pop songs – it’s fun to see her take something pure country and inject it with just a little pop.
9. Waking Up Dreaming
The lead single from Twain’s 2022 album, Queen Of Me, showcases the singer’s mature voice with all its well-earned rasp. It’s Twain at her most pop, bringing the joyful radio hits of the mid 2010s forward into a new era, and the singer is totally dedicated in her performance of the track. It’s hard to believe this is the same voice that delivered ‘What Made You Say That?’ thirty years prior.
A great string riff introduces us to ‘Nah!’, before Twain ushers in that guitar-and-stomp track. By the time the pre-chorus hits, it’s almost a little grungy but, crucially, there’s not a moment that you couldn’t line dance to. A sassy, aloof delivery from Twain cinches ‘Nah!’ as the slightly cooler older sister of ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ – only this much lower on the list than its sibling because, really, do we want our Shania Twain songs to be cool?
7. Home Now
This track from Now is a wonderfully folky offering on what is probably the singer’s most diverse album. Equally appropriate for blaring out of car windows or strumming by the fire, ‘Home Now’ is that impossible “life is a journey” track that manages not to be overly earnest. Instead, we get a heartfelt reflection from the singer on her return to music, and a real sense that there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.
6. Whatever You Do! Don’t!
Is there a serotonin hit quite like hearing Shania verbally welcome us onto a track? “Here we go!” she announces before launching into ‘Whatever You Do! Don’t!’ – an incredibly infectious piece of country pop that features a fantastic string line and some of Twain’s very best vocals. Twain begs that object of her affections not to make her fall for them, even though she’s already well on her way – but ‘Whatever You Do! Don’t!’ is good enough sonically that Shania could be singing her grocery list over the track and it would probably still rank.
5. You’re Still The One
‘You’re Still The One’ is kind of magical. No matter how you feel about that whispered introduction, that chorus melody is hard to resist. It’s the track’s simple execution and unpretentiousness that really sells it, with Twain’s clear vocals floating over a guitar-driven instrumental and a small choir of backing singers. There are some love songs you just believe, and ‘You’re Still The One’ is one of them.
4. Any Man Of Mine
The countrified beat drop at the beginning of ‘Any Many Of Mine’ feels like a call to action. Twain is at her best when she gets to really perform in the booth, and there’s plenty for her to sink her teeth into in these tongue-in-cheek verses. She leans as far into the county fair branch of country as its possible to go, and still manages to produce something that feels like a comfortable radio hit. Also, the section at the end where she talks us through the choreography is a delight.
3. Man! I Feel Like A Woman
Is there a track that can make a roomful of women flood a dancefloor faster than ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’? When Shania says, “Let’s go girls,” it doesn’t feel optional. Come On Over’s second single is country pop at its very best – fun, polished and creative, with universal appeal and a totally distinctive sound. Twain’s delivery of the hook is pitch-perfect, and that guitar solo kicks it all up a few notches.
2. Where Do You Think You’re Going
Nothing else in Shania’s discography sounds like ‘Where Do You Think You’re Going’ – not her heartbreak ballads, not her love songs, and certainly not her country-pop crowd pleasers. There’s something darker in this deluxe track from Now than we’ve seen from the singer before, as she unpacks the end of a relationship over steadily mounting strings. She isn’t mourning so much as waiting, knowing that her lover won’t be able to help coming back to her no matter what they might say. “If you should fall from grace / I’ll be waiting at the bottom for you,” she tells them.
1. That Don’t Impress Me Much
It could only ever be ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’. The lead single of Come On Over is one of the most ridiculously fun pieces of pop ever to be put to radio, and it’s hard to imagine an artist capable of delivering it better than Shania. Beneath a layer of camp, is something sharply observational and savagely funny. It’s a track that young women will still be dancing to even when none of them have heard of Brad Pitt.