Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Shania Twain offers up the audio equivalent of speed dating on Queen of Me

"Queen of Me"

Release date: 03 February 2023
Shania Twain - Queen of Me cover
02 February 2023, 00:00 Written by Connor Shelton

Shania Twain’s previous album, Now, centered itself around the idea that "Life's About to Get Good" following the wake of the trauma Twain experienced after losing her voice, husband, and best friend.

In the five years since that record’s release, it’s safe to say that things have been going more than well for the country-pop pioneer. Her three year Las Vegas residency was a rousing commercial success, she received several high profile awards in 2022, and solidified her place in pop culture with the career-spanning documentary Not Just a Girl.

Given the amount of excitement Twain has experienced in the last year, it makes sense that Queen of Me is perhaps her most upbeat album to date. There’s little of the introspection that colored Now or even annoyance with pig-headed men that added variety to her ‘90s records. Instead, Twain is focused almost entirely on the euphoric anthems that made her an icon. It’s right there in the title, which alludes to her breakout album, The Woman in Me. Where that name put a focus on the artist’s femininity and the various facets of it, Queen of Me builds on the mythos of Shania Twain. She’s more than just an ordinary woman at this point in her career. She’s the Queen of Country Pop, and with that status comes a (seemingly) deliberate isolation.

Shania Twain might still be trying to paint herself as an everyday person on songs like “Giddy Up” and “Best Friend,” but her attempts to connect with her audience don’t quite land. In the case of the former track, it’s due to the simple matter of it being akin to empty calorie advertising music full of nonsensical lyrics (“Up in your giddy up / giddy, giddy up”) and questionable use of slang (“Drunk in the city / got litty in the cup”). The latter, however, is a more curious affair. It’s focused on the type of bond that brings up all sorts of memories and emotions, yet is lacking in details for the listener to latch onto. It’s a curious choice given the fact that Twain is Queen of her narrative on this record, and it’s this lack of specificity that hinders the entire album from being as potent as her best material.

While Queen of Me isn’t as emotionally resonant as Twain’s previous works, it still manages to deliver on the hooks one would expect. “Waking Up Dreaming” is a strutting electro-pop anthem, “Got It Good” makes the most out of its slinky bass groove, and “The Hardest Stone”'s flirtation with hip hop beats is a welcome bit of experimentation. Were Twain willing to engage with additional genres, it’s quite possible Queen of Me would hold up as a more engrossing listen. Instead, what we’re given is the audio equivalent of speed dating. The songs hint at Twain’s vivacious personality, but never quite let us in.

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