Shania Twain’s Up! is nominated for Country Album of the Year.
What can one say about five-time Grammy winning country-pop exemplar Shania Twain? In the obsessive hands of her producer, husband and co-songwriter Mutt Lange — who had previously molded the likes of AC/DC, Bryan Adams, the Cars, Def Leppard, Foreigner, and Billy Ocean into multi-platinum shape — Twain has become more a symbol than performer, as her carefully-crafted recordings are no less processed than Britney Spears’, or any dance-pop diva’s.
Not being much of a “purist” when it comes to recordings — I don’t much care if it isn’t “authentic” as long as it sounds good — I will not dwell on the absurdity of an electronics-crazed Englishman and a Canadian glamour girl making “country” music, but the question remains, does this pop float? Not really.
The title track is catchy and buoyant in all the right ways, and “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” is undeniable countrified electro-pop perfection, but that leaves 17 more songs (not even taking into account that all 19 songs are redone without the country trappings on a second disc), including the Grammy-nominated treacly ballad “Forever and For Always,” that just kind of sit there. “She’s Not Just Pretty Face” is formulaic faux-feminism, “Juanita” is limp Latinesque, and that’s enough of that.
Portions of this story originally appeared here.