Recommendation XXXVIII: Shania Twain

I’m thinking that I will go back to writing posts much more often (maybe more than once a week lol), because I gotta satisfy my faithful blog audience and myself, so let’s get it done.  Honestly, right now, I’ve got nothing exciting to report about my life at the moment.  Just the same ole same ole working and sleeping, so this paragraph will be kinda short. Hmm… well, I did make a new look for the front page of my Lee Ann Womack fansite: LAW: Lee Ann Womack Online last night, so you might wanna check that out ;-) .  As for the subject of today’s blog, I bet you’re in for a surprise: you’re either pleased or disgusted (or in between, depending on your mood).  We’ll get to that…now

My thirty-eighth recommendation is: Shania’s Twain’s “I Ain’t Goin’ Down” from her 2002 Up! album.  Yes, yes, we have gotten to her (for those who didn’t know me too well before, you’re probably surprised to see her here lol).  I’m a pretty big Shania fan, and have been pretty much since “Any Man of Mine” in the ’90s.  She was certainly one of biggest definers of that decade and her music was a big part of my childhood.  Even though she’s not really “country” country, it doesn’t really matter to me.  Shania Twain‘s music brought about excitement to the genre that didn’t really exist before (though, I’ve come to the conclusion, that while I love her music, I’m not particularly fond of her imitators’ music who would arise in later mainstream country music).  She did commit murder on music row, but I’m willing to forgive her for it :p (in fact, I’ll hand her the hatchet myself, say “swing away!”, look the other way, because I love her that much and will allow her to get away with it lol).  And It’s too bad that her marriage with Mutt Lange didn’t work out because I thought they made a good team together.  I hear rumors that Shania will be the “surprise performer” at this Wednesday’s CMA Awards, so I figured I’d highlight Ms. Twain for this entry (I’m so excited for new music!)  It was tough to select a track for her because most of her songs have been hit radio singles haha, so choosing one from the Up! album was the path to go.

(Man! I’m hoping this post isn’t too long because I could go on and on…)  Anyway, “I Ain’t Goin’ Down” is the 16th track on the incredible Up! album.  As shocked as my purist/traditionalist readers may be, “Down” is actually very much country: it’s traditional country with a moderate modern Mutt Lange influence to it (mostly the former, though).  It’s full of steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and is even a story song, just like all those classic country songs of the past.  The pop Shania fans may not be particularly crazy about this one, though they may like the “Red”/pop version (I don’t think that one works as well, though, since it’s more suited for country IMO).  So yes, there are two versions (well, three… there’s a “Blue” version that’s more Asian/Middle-Eastern influenced), but the one you guys gotta hear is the “Green”/country version.  She even performed “I Ain’t Goin’ Down” live on her DVD special with Alison Krauss & Union Station.  It’s one of the most countriest songs she’s recorded in recent years, along with 2004’s “I Ain’t No Quitter”.   The song is about an under-aged teenage girl who had a baby, and all the repercussions that came along with that.  Raising this baby girl is a double-edged sword: her “sin” has caused her to lose her family/friends and become a single mother at a young age, but the baby is a miracle too, because the blessing that being a parent can be, can’t be described (or so I hear).  While Shania didn’t have a baby when she was of that same age, as almost everybody knows, she did have to raise her brothers when she was young after a tragic accident killed their parents, so there is a personal connection to the story, in that respect.  It’s tough enough to raise kids when you’re doing it all by yourself, but as a teenager or young adult, it’s even harder.  The song is like a tribute to single moms, and seeing as I was raised by one, I can connect to it somewhat.

I remember a girl back at my high school who got pregnant and had her baby later on (I even knew the father).  I remember that she was very intelligent in school and had great grades, so when I learned of this, I was fairly shocked.  It made me think of the song, and I wondered if it really was worth it, but I’m sure she doesn’t regret it.  People have their real life experiences at a earlier age than others, and she was one of them.  I hope everything is going well for her and child, and that she continues to hold on.  It’s not an easy world to live in.  I think Shania did a great job with “Down” and captured the emotion and the vocal delivery that a song like this needs: it’s message is filled with hope and optimism for the future, despite difficult circumstances.  I’m not encouraging girls to allow themselves to get pregnant (some people just aren’t fit to be parents, at that time in their life, or ever) because I don’t think anybody’s ready to become a parent that young.  Give it some time and wait.  The song also reminds me of the film, Juno (great comedy, and portrays the issue well too).

Now to the Up! album.  People may criticize all the exclamation points and silly rhyming songwriting here and there, but I really enjoy this album.  Yeah, it’s ϋber pop and I’m usually against that, but it totally works here.  Some people call it overproduced and I agree that it is, but whatever.  Sounds good to my ears and I like jamming to the tunes.  I was first introduced to the album through the first single, “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” and that’s still one of my favorite Twain songs, and from there on out, it’s quite a ride.  My other favorites from the Green/country disc are “Nah!”, “In My Car (I’ll Be the Driver)”, “Forever and for Always”, “Thank You Baby! (For Making Someday Come So Soon)”, “C’est La Vie”, “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing”, and more.  I was converted to love the Red/pop disc when I saw Shania live in concert with the song, “What a Way to Wanna Be!”.  Some of my other favorites from the pop disc are: “I’m Jealous”, “Waiter! Bring Me Water!”, “When You Kiss Me”, “Ka-Ching!”, and others.  If you aren’t aware by now, every American copy of the Up! album contains two versions of 19 songs, making it 48 songs really, for the price of one album.  Truly a great deal, if you ask me.  I love how Mutt and Shania produced the country disc because you don’t usually hear country instruments used in those ways and it makes for a really fun listen and brings about high-energy motivation.  Besides for the Up! album, my favorite music of Twain’s has gotta be her older stuff, especially with The Woman In Me and Come On Over (seriously, who doesn’t have that album?).  I would talk more about those, but this entry is getting too long.  Maybe another time.  Best bet for new Twain fans is to get the Greatest Hits and Up! to get started.

Hopefully, we see Shania on Wednesday night.  Like I mentioned before, I’d love for her new album to be bluegrass-rock or something like that, or she could surprise us and make an acoustic/folk album?  Who knows?  Without Mutt, it’s hard to tell, but I’ll definitely be listening!

Thanks for reading!

Buy the song here on iTunes right now!

Here are the full lyrics to “I Ain’t Goin’ Down”, written by Shania Twain & R.J. Lange:

I’m gonna hold on –
‘Cause what I believe in is so strong
No matter how long, no one
Can tell me I’m wrong – I ain’t goin’ down

I had a baby at fifteen–
Daddy never did forgive me
I never heard from the guy again
I had to drop outta high school –
Everybody treated me so cruel
But I didn’t give in and give her away

I’m gonna hold on –
‘Cause what I believe in is so strong
No matter how long, no one
Can tell me I’m wrong – I ain’t goin’ down

Her smile got me through the day –
And every night I’d pray
I could give her enough
At night, I’d lie awake and cry –
Hopin’ we’d get by
‘Cause you can’t live on love

I worked night and day to keep us going
Through the sweat and tears
Without her knowing
It was worth it just to watch her grow
Oh, oh, at least I was able to hold her
Whenever she needed my shoulder
I’m so glad I never let her go

I’m gonna hold on –
‘Cause what I believe in is so strong
No matter how long, no one
Can tell me I’m wrong – I ain’t goin’ down

Her smile got me through the years –
Dried away the tears
And filled me with hope
At night, I’d lie awake and cry –
Prayed we would get by
And for the courage to cope
Oh, oh, oh

Her smile got me through the day –
And every night I’d pray
I could give her enough

I’m gonna hold on (hold on) –
‘Cause what I believe in is so strong (so strong)
No matter how long, no one (no one)
Can tell me I’m wrong – I ain’t goin’ down

I’m gonna hold on –
‘Cause what I believe in is so strong
No matter how long, no one
Can tell me I’m wrong – I ain’t goin’ down

No one can tell me I’m wrong
I ain’t goin’ down…

—————————————————-

http://www.shaniaforums.com/

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3 Comments

  1. I completely agree about Shania. She may have committed murder on music row, but she did it with style and class. Traditionalists complain a lot about how she is responsible for the music today, but in essence the music being made today isn’t really her part to blame. She was just the head of the pack of country-pop singers in the 90’s and today. I will say that I think people dished on Shania way too much, and I find her in no way responsible for some of today’s awful music. Country-pop in the 90’s and early 2000’s was good, I wouldn’t classify some of the awful stuff today as country-pop, but just a bland take on what they think country is about.

    On the album, it’s the only one we have of Shania’s and I wish my family would’ve bought the two previous ones, but luckily I know all of her great songs back then.

    Having read many reviews of this album, I think everyone agrees that no one cares that it’s a pop album being used in a country music market, because the music is that good, and (like you said) the country instruments that are used in the green disc, because it’s very fresh and entertaining.

  2. I agree with you, Jake (and thanks for checking the site out!). I wouldn’t consider all of the awful stuff today as country-pop either. A good amount of it is, but there’s plenty of bad somewhat-traditional stuff too. It’s just bad music in general.

    Get the Greatest Hits album too at least :p

    I don’t think anyone every really produced country music like Mutt Lange and Shania did. Their partnership was really unique.

  3. I too am wondering what her next album will be seeing as she hasn’t done one with out Mutt since her debut (Only three albums but still…)

    This is actually my favorite song she’s put out since The Woman In Me. I love it and am glad to hear somebody else does too.


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