February 22, 2009
I was inspired to recommend Shania Twain’s “What a Way to Wanna Be!” after seeing this new Dove commercial:
The track comes from her excellent fourth album Up!, which was released in three different mixes. Entertainment Weekly writer Chris Willman wrote my favorite line to ever appear in an album review when he described the set as “Abba Gold without all the melancholy.”
But that isn’t to say the album doesn’t deal with some substantive issues, despite Twain’s trademark optimism remaining dominant. She deconstructs the desire in women to be physically perfect and challenges them to reject the pressure that society places upon them to meet impossible standards of beauty.
She sings, “We like to buy, we like to spend, to keep up with the latest trends. But we don’t get no satisfaction living like a slave to fashion. No more thinking for yourself. Just get it off a shelf. Why be perfect? It’s not worth it.”
While Twain has criticized in the early stages of her success for using sex appeal to sell her music, such criticisms always missed the obvious fact that the message of her music was specifically tailored to female audiences. It’s been a consistent measure throughout: You’re worthy of respect for who you are. Hold out for the man who treats you that way, then give your full commitment to him.
She wrote “What a Way to Wanna Be!” when she was having trouble losing weight after her pregnancy, and her willingness to share her own inner monologue is a good message to send to her listeners who deal with the same struggles, living in a world where the ideal is memorably captured with the line, “Bigger is the best, but only in the chest.”
What song with an empowering message do you recommend?
Note: “What a Way to Wanna Be!” is available in both country and pop mixes. My preferences vary from track to track, but for this particular song, I think the pop mix is stronger.