Album Review: Shania Twain – Queen Of Me

The Canadian singer’s first record in nearly six years reveals that her love affair with country pop is far from over

Shania doesn’t waste time letting us know that she’s excited to throw herself back into country. “I left my heart at a watering hole somewhere in small town Ohio,” she sings in the opening verse of ‘Giddy Up!’, over a beat even the most un-American listener instinctively wants to line dance to. The album’s opener is practically a call to arms for country fans; an unapologetic embrace of everything fun about the genre, with a chorus that sounds like the Nashville equivalent of scatting.

Shania Twain - Giddy Up! (Official Dance Video)

‘Giddy Up!’ perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album – a sun-drenched, spur-jingling gallop of a country pop record that sees Twain celebrating friendship, self-sufficiency, and the genre she came to rule. Bright, Katy Perry-esque pop numbers ‘Brand New Me’ and ‘Queen Of Me’ applaud Twain’s self-confidence. Country anthems ‘Inhale/Exhale AIR’ and ‘Not Just A Girl’ champion an independent restless spirit with a Dixie Chicks-meets-MUNA sound. There’s even a little Madonna in dance track ‘Number One’.

Shania Twain - Waking Up Dreaming (Official Music Video)

It’s hard to distinguish Shania’s influences from the artists she herself has influenced. Younger acts climbing up the ranks in pop and country can hardly help but owe something of themselves to her catalogue. Her sixth record feels almost like a summary of this legacy, and a joyful mishmash of everything she enjoys making the most. From introspective closer ‘The Hardest Stone’ to cheerful takedown ‘Pretty Liar’, the album blends elements of the personal with a healthy dose of mass appeal. It’s a happy formula for success. Queen Of Me isn’t a bid for country pop immortality – Twain secured that crown years ago. It’s the afterparty in the Western bar downstairs.

Released: 3 Feb 2023
Label: Republic Nashville
On Tour: Shania Twain tickets available here