Single Review: Shania Twain, “Life’s About to Get Good”

“Life’s About to Get Good”
Shania Twain
Written by Shania Twain

After years of unfulfilled promises of a new Shania Twain album, I eventually said that I would believe it when I heard a release date and a first single. Well, that release is September 29 and the first single is “Life’s About to Get Good”. It would seem that it’s time to believe it.

It’s immediately clear that fifteen years has not taken away Twain’s way with a hook. From the bouncy opening notes, the arrangement is a delight, sweetly seasoned with mandolin, fiddle and hand claps. The arrangement is not overwhelmed by clutter, as is much of today’s mainstream country music. It sounds pops but still feels country – it’s recognizable as a Shania Twain single without blatantly recycling her past hit material.

Lyrics such as “Life’s about joy…life’s about pain” are not in themselves particularly revelatory, but Twain’s performance draws out a deep sense of sincerity and vulnerability from even the simplest lines, such the opening “I wasn’t just broken…I was shattered.” When she sings, “I had to believe that life would get better,” her determination to move on is palpable.

Perhaps the biggest knock against “Life’s About to Get Good” is the excessive processing to which Twain’s vocal has been subjected – an unnecessary barrier between her and her audience. The echoing background vocals are likewise distracting and contribute nothing meaningful to the proceedings.

But the song’s spirit remains infectious as it expresses heartache for today coupled with hope for tomorrow. It’s easy to hear the song as having been inspired by Twain’s personal life upheavals of the past decade, but really, relentless positivity has always been a hallmark of her work. In that respect, “Life’s About Good” feels like the return of an old friend.

Grade: B+

18 Comments

  1. “The arrangement is not overwhelmed by clutter” — I beg to differ. Sure, there’s worse out there, but it’s still a mess. And it’s more than the vocals that are processed. The instruments are ridiculously processed and barely recognizable. It sounds like the whole song was composed with computer software, instruments included. I’m confident that the song will do well initially, given that it’s Shania and all, but it is a major disappointment.

  2. I’ve never been a ST fan and this song won’t change that. Here’s my comment from Aug of ’09:

    Bob
    August 31, 2009 at 9:38 am

    In addition to being beautiful Shania could be a regular Mother Theresa for all I know. I just can’t listen to her. Her voice sounds so whiny to me. I may be the only country music fan who owns 7 Lisa Brokop cds and nary a Twain. Saw Lisa at the Bluebird Cafe in January accompanied only by her guitar and she was great. A Canadian like Twain, she has never had a top 40 hit in the U.S. but I love her music.

  3. I too agree with Kevin Davis. You have this powerful singer in Shania and it was almost like everything was drowning her out. Pretty disappointed with the song actually.

  4. Well, I always liked Shania as a pop-country singer but this sounds more like song written for a TV commercial at best. Only die-hard Shania fans will really enjoy this. I would give this a “C-” at best.

  5. I think there was a point during the 15-year layoff when Shania lost her voice for a period of time. Evidently, not all of it has come back, if she had to rely so much on the kind of modern production gimmickry that characterizes almost anything Taylor Swift has done.

    At the risk of sounding like I hate Shania, I would be lying if I said I didn’t think she has been problematic vocalist. She isn’t a downright terrible singer by any stretch, but there have been times when I wonder if she isn’t playing down to the level of the material on hand for the sake of a hit. I felt this was true on some of the hits she had during her apex at the end of the 1990s; and the over-production on “Life’s About To Get Good” almost seems to continue that trend.

    I’d give this a B- because at least she is trying; but she can do far better than this (IMHO).

  6. Late to the party, but just want to say that I really like the song. I agree with Ben’s feeling that it’s like discovering an old friend again, one who has been away for far too long.

    For me, her emotion is palpable on the track. Everything she went through was in direct opposition to the positivity she’s always wanted to put out into the world, and this song, for me, is her basically saying, “Hey. Sorry this took me so long. I got my butt kicked by life. But I’m back. Thanks for waiting until I could be who I want to be for you.”

  7. I like the sentiment of the song and think that it really fits her persona, but the cluttered production that doesn’t sound organic to me and the processed vocals keep me from personally enjoying the song.

  8. I won’t lie, Life’s About To Get Good isn’t a perfect song by any means, from the processed vocals and non organic production being a little distracting and stopping the song from being great, but you have to take in account, Shania suffer from dysphonia and Lyme Disease that almost took her singing voice forever. Plus, it going to be hard to replace/duplicate the production off her The Woman In Me, Come On Over, and Up! albums. Her voice isn’t going to sound the same. Still, I love the song and her songwriting is still on point. Great review, Ben.

  9. I think 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 worth the B= you gave it. As is: D+

  10. Kevin, I think you summed it up perfectly!

    I was originally going to grade this a bit lower, but I found myself enjoying it more and more with further listens.

  11. Sure, I am enjoying the song but the vocal alterations distract me so much. Also, the production is cluttered. Ugh.

    I am giving this a B- though. I love the bruised optimism in Shania’s performance here.

  12. The reason the mix sounds so thin is the absence of an actual band. I don’t hear any guitar or bass guitar on the track, leaving it sounding like she was singing into a computer. Her microphone is flat and the drummer doesn’t sound real either. Reminds me of Sylvia – Nobody, which was better recorded.

  13. Yuk, what a mess of a song! Mutt Lange is probably dancing!
    Shania has always been a mediocre vocalist but the production made her vocals work. This overproduction is both annoying and boring!

  14. What the heck?

    Shania was the Taylor Swift of the 90s. Only sexier in her presentation. This is a D+ song at best. Overproduced, cluttered and the voice isn’t there.

  15. Well. I’m glad to see her back. She changed country music that’s for sure! Mutt Lange can suck it! This new music, is real, and honest. Yes, her voice is not as strong as she was on ”God Bless the Child” but people will relate to her new songs. But, I do hope she comes out with something empowering and a Survivor!

  16. Unfortunately Mutt Lange was the sole reason behind Shania Twain’s success. Her once very large ego is still bruised. Time to get over it and move on.

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