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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

Queen of Me is a Major Disappointment

Bekah Bostick, associate editor

Shania Twain’s Queen of Me showcases her new genre that she’s moving into in a dissatisfying collection of 12 songs. Growing up, I remember my mom playing the 1997 hit “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” constantly. This album is anything but her past hits that brought the Canadian country star to fame.

After a decade that gave Twain a son, a divorce, and an illness that brought the fear that she would never be able to sing again, she’s back and ready to create music that she wants to. In 2017, Twain released her “comeback” album that helped her move into the pop genre. Twain no longer wants to create music that she’d made with her ex-husband, and is moving into pop while her history in country continues to cling to her.

Queen of Me was disappointing. I’m aware that I’m not a fan of country music, but this album had a mix of both country and pop. While I’m not sure if it was put together correctly, the collection of different genres have the potential to be great. In reality, this album felt awkward. Each song doesn’t need to go together seamlessly, but there does need to be an overall flow. Each time a song ended and a completely new tempo began, it threw me off and made me forget about the last song, giving me whiplash the longer I listened.

Twain had to undergo surgery on her throat to correct the damage that Lyme disease did on her vocal chords. Because of that, her voice is not the same as it once was on her most popular albums from her heyday. In some of her songs, “Wake Up Dreaming,” “Number One,” and “The Hardest Stone,” auto tune has to be used to help achieve notes that Twain isn’t able to reach on her own anymore. Nonetheless, the auto tune doesn’t doesn’t help or fit the atmosphere of the rest of the album.

I had trouble finding a theme throughout the album. Some songs were about a current love while others were about finding confidence in herself. The fourth track, “Best Friend,” I felt was out of place. The lyrics are fairly simple but the backing vocals help to let it not fall flat. I did feel like this song reminds me of something that Lizzo would make, not something that I would ever expect from Shania Twain. Overall, this song had no place on this album.

Backing vocals helped provide dimension to a lot of the songs, even reaching notes I didn’t think Twain was able to reach anymore. However, some of the songs seemed so simple that they didn’t sound like a Shania Twain song. “Waking Up Dreaming” sounded like a poppy Taylor Swift song or something old that Megan Trainor would’ve put out. “Brand New” starts out like a ballad, then changes and moves to sound more like a contemporary church put it out.

Even though my ears bled for most of the album, Twain picked perfect songs to open and close the album. “Giddy Up,” the opener, gives the listener the old school Shania Twain that we’re all used to. It’s a fun honky-tonk song with her classic country twang. I could see this song becoming popular on TikTok with dances accompanying it. The last song, “The Hardest Stone,” was my favorite song on Queen of Me. The lyrics were just as simple as the other songs, which is what I was struggling with for the rest of the album, but the production was the saving grace. My favorite part in the song starts at two minutes and thirty-six seconds, which also happens to be an instrumental break where she doesn’t sing. However, it showcases how much thought was put into this album. Twain doesn’t want to make music like she used to anymore and this song shows just that.

Lyrically, this album was not it. Each song started fairly strong, some even telling a story that was carried throughout the whole song. “Last Day of Summer” tells a story, though the simplicity of the lyrics make it painful to listen to the whole three minutes and ten seconds. For most of the songs, though, it seemed as if Twain gave up halfway through and sang the chorus for almost two minutes (it truly sounded like me trying to hit word count on an essay- repeating the same thing over and over in slightly different ways). “Not Just a Girl” starts out by telling a story, and even incorporates a new way to say the title by saying “I’m not just a 4 letter word,” but then repeats the title about 700 other times.

I’m not a country fan and while this album wasn’t only that, it still made listening to this album incredibly painful. I wish I loved Shania Twain as much as my mom, but I don’t even think love for the singer would save this experience. Overall, it was incredibly disappointing. Save your 36 minutes and 25 seconds and go listen to an uplifting murder podcast- it would make you less confused and cause your ears to bleed less.

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