My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Shania Twain – ‘Life’s About To Get Good’

Twenty years ago, the ongoing and never-ending “is it country or is it pop” debate focused primarily on Shania Twain, who was the polarizing crossover artist of the day. My assessment was — and still is – that some of her earlier hits were country but most of her music starting with Come On Over was definitely pop. Even before she began crossing over to the pop charts, Shania was controversial for not living in Nashville, not relying on Nashville producers and songwriters, and for not touring to support her breakthrough album The Woman In Me. There is no question that Shania owed a great deal of her success to clever marketing and the savvy of her husband, producer and co-writer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. It is also true that much of the music they made together, regardless of the genre one categorized it under, wasn’t particularly substantive.

That being said, I always felt that Shania was more talented than many of her detractors gave her credit for. After an extended absence from the charts, she has a lot riding on her first full-length album since her divorce from Lange. Aside from the underwhelming 2011 single “Today is Your Day”, it’s been twelve years since she had a record on country radio and fifteen years since she released a full-length studio album. She needed to prove not only that she could still deliver the goods, but also to establish for once and for all that not all of the credit for her prior success was attributable to Lange. Unfortunately, “Life’s About to Get Good”, the advance single from her upcoming new album Now, fails on both counts.

Although the song directly tackles the subject of the adversities Shania has faced since she was a staple on country radio, “Life’s About to Get Good” doesn’t address those issues in a substantive manner. Instead, they are a springboard to the repetitive, Pollyanna-ish platitude that life will be all rainbows and unicorns from this day forward. In so many ways, the song is typical of what we’ve come to expect from Shania: a catchy earworm that doesn’t say a whole lot but provides three minutes or so of distraction from the banalities of day to day life.

It is not a great song, but I have heard far worse. Had Shania released this record during her commercial hey-day it probably would have been just another bit of inconsequential fluff. The real problems with this recording, however lie in the production, beginning with the annoying EDM in the intro, and continuing on with the extreme uses of autotune and the general over-processing of her vocals, which sap the song of any life or emotion that may have been there to begin with. It’s not terribly surprising since neither of the producers (Matthew Koma and Ron Aniello) has a background in country music. It’s not as though I was expecting anything particularly country or rootsy, but it is a bit disappointing that Twain is apparently OK with such heavy-handed and sloppy production that only reinforce the perception that she was just a pretty face that catapulted to stardom due to her ex-husband’s studio wizardry.

Grade: D

6 responses to “Single Review: Shania Twain – ‘Life’s About To Get Good’

  1. Tyler Pappas July 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    I think D is being generous. I like Shania Twain but this is just pathetic:

  2. Paul W Dennis July 5, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Ben Foster over at Country Universe gave it a B+ leading me to wonder what he had been smoking. The production on this song really mars the single. The song isn’t great, but it isn’t bad in a poppy sort of way. If they would release an unprocessed version of the song it would be much better. As is: D+

  3. Luckyoldsun July 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    It’s a pop record. I wouldn’t buy it, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly bad or objectionable. From what I’ve gathered, today’s listeners evidently PREFER the artificial Autotune sheen over a “natural” vocal sound. Kanye West is like the biggest, most respected star in the business, and he’d sooner stroll down Hollywood Boulevard buck naked than release a vocal without exaggerated auto-tuning.
    Shania’s record still manages to sound somewhat retro, even with the processed sound, evoking old Coke commercials from the ’70s.

  4. Michelle Aussie country girl July 6, 2017 at 5:38 am

    I’m a fan of Shania even some of her more pop sounding music, but this is not a good song.

  5. Tahler July 17, 2017 at 4:42 am

    I like Shania’s new song and I’m looking forward to buying her new CD in September!

  6. Gareth September 20, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    She needs to work with Dave Cobb.

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