Looking Back

Shania Twain’s Come On Over at 25

Man! I feel like some nostalgia! A look back at the Canadian country singer's landmark 1997 album

If there was ever a sign you’d made your magnum opus, releasing 11 of your album’s 16 songs as singles was probably it. But if there was any doubt for Shania Twain back in 1997, who at the time had established herself as Canada’s top country star with her first two albums, then time would tell all.

Twain’s third album, Come On Over, would stay at No.1 in the Billboard Top Country Albums list for fifty consecutive weeks and even more impressively become the biggest selling record by a solo female artist ever, both of which earned her Guinness World Records. And that’s to say nothing of its Grammy nominations, multi-platinum status the world over, or the success of its singles. 25 years on, Come On Over remains one of the all-time greats in pop, let alone country, music history.

Key to its immediate appeal was the unapologetic feminine fire burning at its heart, summed up neatly by its opening mantra: “Let’s go girls.” The crunchy rock guitar that followed on ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ signalled a little more punch, clout and oomph than the album’s predecessor, The Woman In Me, or at least set things on a grander scale. Country had long had its queens, but rock still felt like a man’s game at the end of the 90s. With Come On Over, Twain took this sound for her own and added to the celebration of women, now free to do whatever they wanted.

Shania Twain - Man! I Feel Like A Woman! (Official Music Video)

Twain’s then husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who had produced the likes of AC/DC and Def Leppard and worked on The Woman In Me, again helped bring out this stadium rock feel while pulling in the tropes of country and Americana into a coherent whole. ‘Love Gets Me Every Time’ is a fine example, and in many ways feels like the blueprint for contemporary acts such as HAIM and Taylor Swift.

Shania Twain - Love Gets Me Every Time (Official Music Video)

It’s well known that the singer had delayed touring The Woman In Me, feeling that her live shows were missing something and relied too much on covers. “So I put my head down,” she told Billboard in 2017, “focused on the songwriting and went to work. I was kind of pragmatic about it, to be honest. It was just time to make an album that was my best in that moment”.

The result was worthy of an arena tour of its own. Not only was it 16 tracks long, but it ticked all the boxes of a huge, headline show: the big, dramatic opener (‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman!’); the special guest (‘From This Moment On’ with Bryan White); the soaring tearjerker (‘You’re Still The One’); the walk-in-to-the-crowd anthem (‘That Don’t Impress Me Much); the stripped-back ballad (‘You’ve Got A Way’); the clap along (‘Honey, I’m Home) and so on. That Twain pulled this off without segmenting rock, country or pop is what made it a phenomenon.

The Come On Over sound somehow remains a distinct moment of 90s culture while clearly paving the way for all the pop fusion that followed. But most importantly, as you’ll still see at every karaoke bar around the world, it radiates its own unique, unabashed joy.

Shania Twain is bringing her Queen Of Me tour to the UK in September 2023 tickets are available here.