Retro Single Review: Shania Twain, “No One Needs to Know”

1996 | #1

Over jaunty acoustic guitar strums, Shania Twain reflectively sings, “Am I dreamin’ or stupid? I think I’ve been hit by Cupid, but no one needs to know right now.”

While that first stanza reasonably acknowledges that something might be amiss, Twain matter-of-factly plows ahead to reveal all the plans that she’s been making regarding the future with the special someone that she’s found, which includes the intimate details of wedding plans, kids and even pets.

The only hitch is that she’s the only one who needs to know right now; the man whose compliance is necessary in order for the plans to materialize doesn’t even need to know now. And if such a presumptuous situation isn’t amusing enough to ponder already, the added layer of the secret fantasies being real enough to keep her from being lonely at night is surely enough to seal the deal.

Written by Twain and her former producer/husband, “Mutt” Lange, this is not a song manufactured by committee, but rather, an example of a pair of songwriters who created a delightfully quirky song that, incidentally, still sounds both refreshing and even organic today thanks to a compelling scenario and a crisp acoustic production.

Written by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and Shania Twain

Grade:  A



  1. This song never gets old. I love how, in all its quirkiness, it basically puts into words what a person thinks but doesn’t say. And most of us have at one point or another let our imaginations run wild when attracted to someone. The acoustic arrangement gives it an extra kick for me. I love the dobro and steel.

    It’s also one of my favorite Shania music videos. It just seems like Shania’s love of music really shines through in the “No One Needs to Know” video, and you can just tell she’s having the best time ever singing that song.

  2. I had checked out of country music in the early to mid 90s with the lone exception of Garth Brooks, so I missed The Woman in Me when it was released in 1995. However, I did go see the movie Twister and in those days I bought a lot of soundtracks. That’s where I was introduced to “No One Needs to Know,” and I fell in love with it.

    I was sixteen at the time and I really connected with the idea of keeping feelings to oneself. I can’t tell you how many crushes I had throughout school that I never acted on; of course, I didn’t have the kind of self-confidence Shania expresses in this song. For her, it’ll all work out later and that’s why she’s okay putting all of this in her back pocket for the time being.

    I, conversely, thought about my attractions long enough that after I thought about how I would approach the girl in question, I had already worked out how and why I would fail. Rather than waste her time and add to my misery, I rejected myself for her and moved onto the next crush that would never materialize into anything more.

    Once I heard “No One Needs to Know,” though, I started to feel a little better about all those girls I never approached. This song let me know that maybe it was okay just to be infatuated with someone for a while, that it didn’t always have to become something else.

    Whenever I hear this song today, I recall those anguishing years of my youth but because of Shania Twain, I can smile about it all now.

    Somewhat off-topic, but after I graduated high school in 1997 and I took my first job, one of the first things I treated myself to when I finally got my own checking account was to join BMG Music Service. The Woman in Me was one of my seven introductory selections. It’s still a favorite album of mine. I wouldn’t have bought or heard it had I not fallen in love with “No One Needs to Know” on the Twister soundtrack (itself also another favorite in my library).

  3. Great write-up here, Leeann.

    If I can only pick one, this is my favorite Shania single. Here, she gets both halves of “pop-country” exactly right, in a way that few artists have been able to replicate since, and Lange’s production is far lighter-handed here than usual, which makes the single sound effortless even though there’s so much deliberate craft behind it.

  4. This was the first track I heard from The Woman In Me. It was on a New Country CD sampler that came with the magazine of the same name.

    I had liked the singles off of Twain’s debut, and thought this was a really cool song. Hearing both this and “Whose Bed” before the album came out didn’t prepare me at all for how radical that album would be, yet both songs feel totally in place on it.

  5. I love this song. I love the simplicity of the arrangement, the lyrics, Shania’s vocal performance. It’s pure magic and it is still just as good today as when I listened to it at the age of 8!

    The Woman in Me is a FANTASTIC album. I really hope Shania’s next album will be similar in sound.

  6. @Bob they are covering all singles by certain artists. When they are done one artist’s singles, they will add someone else.

  7. PS: Meant to say this in my other comment but great review LeeAnn!! You’ve put how I feel about “No One Needs To Know” into eloquent words. :)

  8. …just read the entry about the everly brothers beneath – and guess what, this tune sounds just like one of theirs and it goes well with shania twain.

  9. The song just reminds me how great The Woman In Me was. Easily one of the best record’s of the 90’s. Makes it all the tougher to take that she become an insufferable pop artist just a few short years later.

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