Shania Twain Greatest Hits

Shania’s name and face might be on the front cover, but her first greatest-hits album is really all about the success of her ongoing collaboration with husband and producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.

Notice that although Greatest Hits spans 21 tracks, there’s nothing here from Shania’s Mutt-less first album – that’s because the sound that made her a star only kicked in with his arrival for 1995’s The Woman in Me. Shania charged the airwaves with a slick sound that combined catchy hooks, girl-power attitude and the slamming beats and head-on impact her husband learned during years of producing hard-rock acts like AC/DC and Def Leppard.

The formula worked again and again and again: Greatest Hits keeps it coming for well over an hour, each perfectly placed note and sleek, shiny beat still gleaming after all this time. Every Top 10 song Shania has racked up is here – including all eight from 1997’s Come On Over – so it’s hard to complain about the content. But it’s easy to grumble about the awkward way this compilation is laid out, kicking off with last year’s “Forever and For Always,” it travels with near-total precision backward through time to her first Top 20, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”

Then it jerks back to the present with four new tracks, including two versions of the current hit, “Party for Two” – one featuring rock singer Mark McGrath and one with country’s own Billy Currington. Fear not, country fan, Billy’s is better – although both have the air of forced fun that crept into Shania’s music with 2002’s Up!

Better are the other two new songs, “Don’t!” and “I Ain’t No Quitter,” both of which suggest a turn toward a more traditional country sound – and suggest that this marital team hasn’t run out of steam quite yet.

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