June 12, 2012
The title track and second single of Shania Twain’s Up! album is arguably the finest and fullest realization of Twain’s signature positivity. It also perfectly exemplifies the sheer brilliance of the strategy behind the Up! album.
With Shania Twain having found a whole new worldwide audience thanks to the crossover success of Come On Over, she found an ingenious way to placate both her pop and country music fan bases with her subsequent album release. Each song on the album was recorded in three different versions – country, pop and East Asian rhythm. Thanks to that solution, Twain was freed of the need to carefully toe the line between musical styles. Instead, the pop versions could be even more pop than the songs on Come On Over had been, while Twain likewise had the freedom to fully amp up the twang factor on the country versions.
“Up!” is a charming song in any form, but by all rights, the country version spanks the others. The energetic banjo picking adds a whole new layer of personality to the tune as it mixes deliciously with the pulsing pop beat. Regardless, it’s ultimately Twain’s uninhibited performance that makes the record soar, as she delivers the hook of “Up! Up! Up! There’s no way but up from here” with ferocious conviction as well as infectious spunk and charmisma.
While the lyrics are simple, the magic lies in the fact that the melody and performance carry just the right “spark” to bring the song fully to life. It’s not so much about the words themselves as it is about the feeling created by the composite product, such that the spirit of the song goes so far as to transcend the song itself. That makes “Up!” one of those rare instances in which seemingly rudimentary ingredients combine with just the right musical chemistry to create something truly memorable and special.
Written by Shania Twain and Robert John “Mutt” Lange
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