Posts Tagged ‘Mutt Lange’

Retro Single Review: Shania Twain, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

1995 | Peak: #11

It’s fun to imagine the looks on the radio DJs’ faces when they got this one in the mail. That pretty, weird-named lady whose records they’d brushed aside before,  now looking all bizarro-sexy in a red “executive jumpsuit” thing on the cover, and with that song title.

It was a smart introduction to the Shania-Mutt Lange machine, in retrospect. “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” has all the sugary hooks and goofy feminist pluck that would come to define the singer and producer’s joint legacy, but it still sounds more or less like a “normal” country song, an easy little addition to the mid-nineties radio format. Who’d have guessed that as soon the pair got their foot in the door, they’d take over the whole building?

Written by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and Shania Twain

Grade: A

Listen: Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?

Retro Single Review: Shania Twain, “Dance With the One That Brought You”

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Her entire debut album has a retro feel, but “Dance With the One That Brought You” is the one track that sounds vintage without sounding dated.

The gorgeous tune is a perfect fit for Twain’s nuanced vocal, proving to anyone willing to listen that it was never Mutt Lange’s studio wizardry that made her voice shine.

A charming should’ve been hit that has made her debut album a worthy purchase for those few who discovered it at the time, and the millions more who discovered it once she was a superstar.

Written by Sam Hogin and Gretchen Peters

Grade: A

Listen: Dance With the One That Brought You

Retro Single Review: Shania Twain, “What Made You Say That”

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

1993 | Peak: #55

The video got the attention of Mutt Lange and Sean Penn, but Shania Twain’s first single made little impression beyond that at radio and retail.

It’s not a novelty song, but it might as well be, given the dated-on-arrival arrangement and mostly silly premise.  What saves it from being a complete dud?  Twain’s playful vocal and a fairly catchy hook.

Written by Tony Haselden and Stan Munsey, Jr.

Grade: C

Listen: What Made You Say That

Shania Twain Starter Kit

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

shania-twainThere were two solo artists who changed the course of country music history in the nineties. The first was Garth Brooks, who ushered in the boom years with his mega-selling albums No Fences and Ropin’ the Wind.  The second was Shania Twain, who permanently altered the female point of view in country music with her mega-selling albums The Woman in Me and Come On Over.

Twain’s debut album was decent enough, with some charming singles like “What Made You Say That” and the Gretchen Peters-penned “Dance With the One That Brought You” being among the highlights. But it was the combination of Twain’s pen and Mutt Lange’s production that made her a superstar.  Throughout her career, she’s been a champion of mutual monogamy and carefree independence. She didn’t protest for women to be treated with equality and respect so much as write from the assumption that no other option had ever existed.

In truth, all three of her self-written albums are essential listening, but if none of the 60 million albums that Twain has sold are in your personal collection, here are some tracks to help you get started:

Ten Essential Tracks

“Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”
From the 1995 album The Woman in Me

For all the heat Twain gets for being too pop, it’s hard to imagine anything this country getting played on even country radio today, let alone pop radio.

“Any Man of Mine”
From the 1995 album The Woman in Me

There were two songs from this album that essentially powered it toward becoming the best-selling female country album up until that point.  I’ve always preferred this one over “I’m Outta Here!”

“No One Needs to Know”
From the 1995 album The Woman in Me

A charming record about falling in love but not letting anybody know about it yet. It was the fourth #1 single from the album.

“You’re Still the One”
From the 1997 album Come On Over

Her first big pop hit won her two country Grammys, and was her first of two songs to be nominated for overall Song of the Year.

“That Don’t Impress Me Much”
From the 1997 album Come On Over

Three men are summarily dismissed for putting their looks, their brains, and their car before showing love and affection to Shania Twain. Such men are unlikely to exist in the real world.

“Man! I  Feel Like a Woman!”
From the 1997 album Come On Over

Arguably the most iconic single from Come On Over, it won her another Grammy and was a worldwide hit to boot, helping the album reach international sales in excess of 35 million.

“You’ve Got a Way”
From the 1997 album Come On Over

Shania unplugs with a quiet, acoustic love song.

“Up!”
From the 2002 album Up!

The title track from her epic fourth album is best heard in its country mix, with irresistible banjo and fiddle combos accompanying her frantic performance.

“Forever and For Always”
From the 2002 album Up!

Quite possibly her most beautiful ballad showcased how much she’d grown as a vocalist in the five years between Come On Over and Up!

“Ka-Ching!”
From the 2002 album Up!

This was the biggest pop hit from this album overseas, and it features a riveting video that skewers the banality of  her own celebrity as it questions society’s focus on materialism. That it was originally intended for her Christmas album is too cool for words.

Two Hidden Treasures

“Amneris’ Letter”
From the 1999 album Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida

Of all the places to find Twain’s finest vocal performance, its home is on the concept album for Aida. Just a piano and Twain singing her heart out.

“Nah!”
From the 2002 album Up!

Sure, there are countless witty rave-ups and quite a few heartbreaking ballads that never made it to radio and remained album cuts. But I don’t think there’s a more enjoyable track among her lesser-known songs than this kiss-off anthem that has some “na na na’s” thrown in to boot.


Sara Evans, “Feels Just Like a Love Song”

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Sara Evans FeelsSara Evans is an excellent singer in desperate need of a better production team. She sings the fire out of a fairly decent pop-country song here, but the arrangement is an overwhelming distraction, with far too much clutter in the mix.

It’s to her credit as a vocalist that she’s not drowned out completely, but she’s ill-served by the production philosophy that bigger is better.  The opposite is true with both pop and country music, so it never ceases to amaze me how difficult that concept is to grasp for too many of those who make pop-country records.

John Farrar or Mutt Lange could make a great record out of this song and vocal talent, but we’ll have to settle for only a good one this time around.

Written by Nathan Chapman, Sara Evans, Chris Lindsey, and Aimee Mayo

Grade: B-

Listen: Feels Just Like a Love Song

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