Kate Robertson has, on occasion, soundtracked her life entirely with Shania Twain. Here’s how you can too.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: Looks like we made it… closer to Shania’s New Zealand tour! And Spark is giving away 20 double-passes to her Auckland and Dunedin shows. Entries close 27 July 2018.
Stop everything you’re doing – the OG queen of country pop, Shania Twain, is on the comeback circuit and heading for New Zealand! It is definitely the best gig announcement we’ll get all year and no, that is not just me being dramatic.
Like a lot of ‘90s babies I grew up during peak Shaniamania – if there was one thing semi-rural suburban mums loved in 1998, it was Shania Twain in a leopard print catsuit cursing mediocrity. If you’re unfamiliar with the life and times of Shania Twain, or hit pause back in the other century, buckle in because there is some serious tea to sip.
There’s this Oprah tell-all from 2013, this book, and this weird VICE interview, but to save time, let me get you up to speed: In 1993 Twain marries her producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange. In the years that follow she wins five Grammys, scores countless number one singles, has a child, and makes country music accessible to mainstream audiences the world over.
She does it all and she has it all, and in 2002 chooses to step back from the spotlight for a while. In 2004, Twain and Lange convince the New Zealand government to let them buy up land in Wanaka, subject to conditions around public access that results in the annual Motatapu Icebreaker race. Helen Clark and Shania Twain meet. In 2008 Twain finds out her husband is having an affair with her assistant and close friend. Three years later Twain marries the friend’s now ex-husband, Frédéric Thiébaud ,and they live happily ever after. Somewhere in the midst of all of this Twain also loses her voice, leaving her almost completely unable to sing. She’s fought hard to get it back, and it’s yet another reason her comeback album Now and upcoming tour is nothing short of a miracle.
But whether it be in the car, in the supermarket, or screaming into our pinot gris, we never stopped singing her songs. In an industry that’s eager to ditch its stars as soon as they’ve found their place, Twain has proved her starpower to be stronger still after all this time than most expected. She is, simply, an icon.
If the 15 year hiatus does have you struggling to recall some of the deeper cuts, don’t stress, I’ve got you. At surface level Twain’s back catalogue is primarily made up of soothing love songs, but get creative and they can be whatever you want them to be. Sit back, relax, and let me inject a little bit of old school country pop back into your hectic 2018 lifestyle with the Shania Twain soundtrack of your life.
After eating your body weight in KFC on a Sunday night: ‘Up!’
A severely underrated anthem, ‘Up!’ is the new year new me mentality that strikes right as you’re polishing off a Quarter Pack or two on a Sunday night, and you’re fully amped to start that juice cleanse first thing Monday morning. You’re Bridget Jones pedalling so hard on the spin bike you fall over and you’re UNSTOPPABLE.
Notable lyric: “Even my skin is acting weird, I wish that I could grow a beard.”
The first dance: ‘From This Moment On’
Your significant other wants an overplayed, overrated Ed Sheeran song to be your first dance as a married couple? No! Stop that kind of thinking right now, because the answer is right in front of you! Well suited to people who cling to 1990s Julia Roberts films as if they were the peak of filmmaking, ‘From This Moment On’ still tugs on the heartstrings and will definitely throw your guests an unexpected curveball. Hell, if it worked for my mum and stepdad nine years ago then it can work for you too!
Notable lyric: “I can’t wait to live my life with you, I can’t wait to start”
Suburban power walking: ‘I’m Gonna Getcha Good’
Lace up your sneakers and strap on your Fitbit because we’re goin’ power walking! And I’m not talking about some dawdle around the park while you gasbag to your mum on the phone, I’m talking about a full on arms swinging Kath and Kel power walk. You go get those endorphins you good thing you!
Notable lyric: “Don’t try to run, honey”
Swiping through the Tinder cesspit: ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’
Okay, so you slung a dead boar over your shoulder… Okay, so you’ve got a Hilux with a snorkel… Okay, so you met Shaun Johnson one time… That don’t impress me much. And so on and so forth, or at least until you feel better about your joke of a love life.
Notable lyric: “You think you’re cool but have you got the touch?”
Anytime you need a cheerleader: ‘Life’s About To Get Good’
The comeback track! If Shania Twain herself can come out the other side of personal turmoil better than ever, then you can tackle whatever’s on your plate with the wit, optimism and intelligence of a Reese Witherspoon character in a rom-com. Have that tough conversation with your boss, breakup with the hairdresser you don’t like, tell your indoor netball team you actually hate netball and bid them farewell. It’s true there’s no joy without pain, but carrying around a dead weight and bad vibes ain’t a good look on anyone, so loop the song and get that shit gone.
Notable lyric: “It took me so long to be strong, but I’m alive, and I hold on”
When you’re absolutely infatuated with someone: ‘Forever and Always’
Before Taylor Swift was “flashing back to when he said forever & always”, the OG country pop crossover queen turned the cliché into a rollicking love song. Y’all know I don’t do feelings so I’ll say it quickly, this is the song for when you’re so loved up you turn into one of those smitten couples you’d normally to sit and make fun of. As a love cynic it seems too good to be true, but Ms Twain herself says in a live recording that the song is “definitely about love that lasts forever”, and meh, I guess it does sound kind of nice. Okay maybe more than nice, but you didn’t catch me saying that! The very 2004 music video does a better job of explaining this than I do. Just go watch that.
Notable lyric: “I can stay right here forever in your arms”
When you need a reminder of your standards: ‘Any Man of Mine’
My close friend Alice founded the 10% rule, and it’s a modern dating gamechanger. The ‘10%’ refers to the fact we’re all so used to accepting the bare minimum from people (10%), that when we meet someone who puts in 40-50% we completely lose the plot. They’re the person of my dreams! And so on and so forth. Oh, they’re nice to your mum? Cool, even a sociopath would probably be nice to your mum! Make that mother fucker walk the line Shania Twain style! Can they shimmy, shake, kick, turn, stomp, jump, heel to toe, and do si do? Dance them till their boots break and only then can you consider a second date. Totally fair.
Notable lyric: “I can be late for a date—that’s fine, but he’d better be on time”
When your favourite flavour La Croix is in stock at Countdown: ‘You’re Still The One’
Personally, I don’t vibe the fruity water that gets heads spinning, but the hype seems about on par with what is one of history’s greatest love songs and winner of Best Country Song at the 1999 Grammy Awards.
Notable lyric: “You’re still the one that I love, the only one I dream of”
Shania Twain plays Spark Arena in Auckland on 18 December and Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on 22 December 2018. Spark has an exclusive pre-sale for Spark customers, available from 12 pm Monday 5 February until 12 pm Wednesday 7 February.