Shania Twain was already a huge success in country music when she released her third album, Come On Over in 1997. The disc was her first “crossover” album, with the songs sounding less country and more like pop music. Fortunately, this change in musical direction went over well, and Come On Over went on to sell 39 million copies worldwide, led Twain to the record books by having the best-selling album of all time by a female artist (and the best-selling country album of all time), and the album even went on to be the number sixth best-selling album of all time.
Despite all those accolades, Come On Over has a few highs and several lows. Lackluster production and poorly written lyrics plague an album that had promise, and though I’ve owned this disc since ’98 or ’99, I can only say I’ve listened to it all the way through on five or six occasions.
The album starts off with the number one hit, Man! I Feel Like A Woman. The track begins with electric guitar- something already foreign to “traditional” country music. It’s easy to see why this song was such a big hit- Twain’s voice is light and free as she sings the simple, but catchy verses and chorus (“Oh oh oh/Go totally crazy/Forget I’m a lady”…etc). This is just one of those songs that’s always fun to sing; a couple of friends and I actually performed it on stage at Great America (but that’s another story).
I’m Holdin’ On To Love (To Save My Life) is up next, and was another chart topper. Like the majority of the album, the song was written by Twain and her husband/producer Mutt Lange. Though the lyrics aren’t anything special the song boasts another bouncy rhythm that makes it worth listening to. Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) is another upbeat track, that’s even catchier than its predecessor. Though the title pretty much tells everything the song is about, the chorus (“Don’t be stupid-you know I love you/Don’t be ridiculous-you know I need you/Don’t be absurd-you know I want you/Don’t be impossible”) is still cute.
Finally, we reach the first ballad, From This Moment On. I can’t even begin to imagine how many weddings this has been played at, but I’ll still admit that I think this song is hopelessly romantic, and is one of my favorite songs by Twain. The track begins quietly, with Twain speaking of her undying love for her sweetheart, before a few piano chords come in. The album version of this song is a duet with Bryan White (Someone Else’s Star, I’m Not Supposed To Love You Anymore) though the single was released as a solo. Either way, the song is a beautiful love ballad with plenty of heartfelt and romantic lyrics (“You’re the reason I believe in love/And you’re the answers to my prayers from up above/…I will love you as long as I live/From this moment on”). This track also gives the first true glimpse of Twain’s vocal ability; though she isn’t an extraordinary singer, she has a beautiful voice and is always pleasant to listen to.
The pace picks back up with the title track, Come On Over. The song isn’t anything special, and sounds like a lackluster version of Don’t Be Stupid. However, the track was also released as a single and won a Grammy for Best Country Song in 2000. Another big hit was You’re Still The One a mid-tempo ballad that I’m also a big fan of. This time around, Twain promises her husband (literally- the song was written about their relationship) that despite all they’ve been through, he’s still “the one” (“They said, ‘I bet they’ll never make it’/But just look at us holding on/…We’re still together still going strong/You’re still the one that I love/The only one I dream of/You’re still the one I kiss good night/You’re still the one”).
That Don’t Impress Me Much still makes me want to dance whenever it comes on. Similar to Man!, the track has yet another great upbeat melody and catchy lyrics. The best part of the song is the attitude; Twain confronts every man who has ever thought he was “something special” and basically tells him to get over himself (she even mentions Brad Pitt during one of the verses!). The song was a huge hit when it was released and was virtually everywhere.
Despite all the great singles on the album, there are quite a few stinkers. Love Gets Me Everytime has more of a country/rock flair to it, but is extremely dull. When tries to be clever, but lines like “If elephants could fly I’d be a little more optimistic/But I don’t see that happening anytime soon” make me want to roll my eyes. Whatever You Do, Don’t! has a nice country feel to it, but ends up being forgettable after the first listen.
If You Want To Touch Her, Ask! is already annoying because of its ridiculous title, but the lyrics are almost worse. The chorus (“If you wanna get to know her/Really get inside her mind/If you wanna move in closer/Take it slow, yeah take your time/You must start from the heart and then/If you wanna touch her/Really wanna touch her/if you wanna touch her, ask!”) sounds like a bad parody of country music, and the whole track gives me a headache. The album continues its trek downhill with Honey, I’m Home. Though the lyrics are slightly better (a playful take on the stereotypical house wife/working husband situation) the chorus is corny and embarrassing.
Thankfully, things come to a close with You’ve Got A Way which is honestly one of my favorite love songs (look for a countdown of them coming up soon!). From a beautiful melody, simply sweet lyrics (“You’ve got a way it seems/You gave me faith to find my dreams/You’ll never know just what that means/Can’t you see/You got a way with me”), and right down to Twain’s tender delivery, the song is a perfect love ballad, and a great end to the album.
Shania Twain’s third album has generated the most success in her career, and for the most part, it’s deserved. Come On Over has plenty of great country/pop tracks that were on constant rotation in the late ’90s. However, the majority of the album is filler tracks that weren’t even worth recording.
1. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
2. I’m Holdin’ On To Love (To Save My Life)
3. Love Gets Me Every Time
4. Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
5. From This Moment On – (with Bryan White)
6. Come On Over
8. Whatever You Do! Don’t
9. If You Want To Touch Her, Ask!
10. You’re Still The One
11. Honey, I’m Home
12. That Don’t Impress Me Much
13. Black Eyes, Blue Tears
14. I Won’t Leave You Lonely
15. Rock This Country!
16. You’ve Got A Way