There are very few albums that you can say definitively changed the face of a genre. Shania Twain’s Come On Over is one of them.
Released in 1997, Come On Over was a massive success, selling over 15 million copies. The album featured twelve singles, most of which managed some form of radio play, and a few now iconic music videos. And, most importantly for the genre, Come On Over is one of the first examples of the country-pop genre to blow up on such a national scale. Twain takes the country music sensibilities of her previous album, The Woman in Me, and interjects top 40 stylings and arrangements, giving the songs near-pop perfection.
Arguably, the two songs most people would recognize off the album are its powerhouse singles: “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. Both songs are fun, bright, punchy girl power anthems that have become girls nights songs and almost obligatory karaoke jams. The girl power movement flourished in the late 1990s/early 2000s and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” is a beautiful jam in that vein. A bright pump-you-up song, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” is about going out with the girls, having a good time, and just reveling and celebrating in utter femininity. Twain’s lower register is put on wonderful display here, as she belts, charms, and grins her way through the entire song.
“That Don’t Impress Me Much” is a brilliant take down of all the egomaniac men that every woman has had to deal with at some point. Twain’s dismissals are kind of cheesy, but in a short and pithy way, a beautiful kiss off to puncture egos: “Okay, so you’re Brad Pitt / that don’t impress me much.” The song is light-hearted and fun, as Twain dismisses all her potential suitors with a smile on her face and a laugh in her voice. Both songs also have equally iconic videos, from “Man’s” Robert Palmer riff to the leopard print bonanza of “Impress Me Much.”
Though Twain’s biggest songs off the album are arguably these sassy ‘we don’t need men’ songs, Come On Over gives her plenty of a chance to show off her softer side. The album features multiple love songs, slower and more tender ballads that would fit on adult contemporary radio or playing over the credits of a romcom. One of them actually did play over the credits of a romcom: “You’ve Got A Way”, featured in Notting Hill. That song, as well as others like “From This Moment On” and “You’re Still the One” show just how multifaceted Twain is as a performer and how she manages to sell the hell out of any song or mood.
I really can’t overstate just how much of a cultural juggernaut this album was and how it effortlessly launched Shania Twain into the public consciousness. I doubt her 2003 Super Bowl performance would have happened had it not been for the masterpiece that was Come On Over. And even today, twenty years later, the impact of Come On Over is still felt. From HAIM covering “That Don’t Impress Me Much” to various album-themed jokes Twain made during her appearance on Broad City, Come On Over still holds a tight grip on the public consciousness and a firm place in the music loving world’s mind.