20 years ago, five-time Grammy-winning global mega-star and the Queen of Country-Pop Shania Twain – then a Country newbie struggling to get her first hit – unleashed an album that would change the face of Country music forever and set the benchmark for every recording artist in Nashville. Bow down y’all!
‘The Woman In Me‘, Shania’s sophomore album released in 1995, following her relatively forgettable 1993 self-titled début effort – remains a landmark album that helped Twain to become one of the biggest recording artists of all time, and laid the foundation for her third album ‘Come On Over‘ to be released two years later in 1997. In case y’all have no idea about the impact of ‘Come On Over‘ – let me break it down for you – it remains the highest selling album by a female vocalist of ALL TIME – with a stellar 45 million albums sold worldwide till date and counting.
It was Shania who made Country cool – and with her sassy assertiveness and bold and sexy no-prisoners-taken attitude – she unleashed a style and sound that would eventually birth a million careers in Country music including a certain Ms Taylor Swift, along with luring billions of fans worldwide into a genre that was famed for its conservative and traditional outlook.
With the first single ‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?’ effectively setting the ball rolling – it was the album’s ground -breaking second single ‘Any Man Of Mine‘ that proved to be the album’s highlight and a milestone when it came to crossover Country hits.
An insanely addictive hook-filled slice of brassy feminism – unseen or unheard of by any female Country vocalist until then – ‘Any Man Of Mine‘ became Shania’s very first # 1 hit on the Billboard Country charts, and eventually crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 to become her very first top 40 hit. Back in the day, a Country song crossing over was rare – so hitting the top 40 was no small feat by Shania. Of course, she would go on to achieve heights unheard of with her future singles including ‘You’re Still The One‘ and ‘From This Moment On‘.
Of course, the world sat up and took notice, as ‘The Woman In Me‘ steadily sold with the help of a relentless onslaught of singles – the album’s sales stand at a staggering 20 million plus units worldwide to date – and earned Shania her first Grammy for Best Country Album in 1996.
I thoroughly love this classic, and I bump it on almost a daily basis – it sounds fresh even after two decades of weathering the ever-changing and unpredictable musical landscape. It’s an empowerment anthem that’s fun – Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange (her then husband) and Twain’s songwriting/producing chemistry remains unparalleled. Sadly, Mutt would go on to cheat on Shania with her best friend Marie-Ann – ending their marriage in 2008. After a hiatus of a few years, understandably so, Twain roared back on the scene with a sold-out residency at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas with her show ‘Still The One‘ (I missed seeing her by a few hours btw), and in an ironic twist of fate, ended up falling in love and marrying the husband of her ex best friend! Now that’s what I call a survivor!
I did manage to get a pic of her store in the Colosseum when I visited Vegas last December, outside which I loitered like a starstruck pup! Here you go!
The world can’t get enough of Shania – new music by her is anticipated globally, especially since Taylor Swift and co created careers out of the template she pioneered. Her new album, her first since 2012’s ‘Up‘ – is scheduled to drop soon, and honestly, I CANNOT WAIT! Lets not forget that Twain is the only female artist in history to have three consecutive Diamond-certified albums in the US. And those are the only three she’s released apart from her début effort – she’s way too talented for a measly cheating ex husband and a worthless ex best friend to hold her down!
Bring it on Queen Shania!
Check out the John Derek and Charley Randazzo-directed video for the iconic ‘Any Man Of Mine‘ right here :