I originally intended to begin featuring miscellaneous artists in my next mash-up installment, but then, as I listened to the hits from Taylor Swift’s latest album, Red, I instantly thought, “this is Taylor’s Shania Twain record” noting how the sound of her latest album so blatantly crosses over into other genres besides country music, just like the way Shania courted the pop market with Come On Over and especially Up! (recall how the latter album comes in “Green”, “Red” and “Blue” editions representing country, pop, and Bollywood styles respectively).
“Any Man of Mine” – Shania Twain (1995) / “Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Def Leppard (1988) / “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together” (2012). Taylor’s launching single from her debut album was the song that made me instantly think of a connection with Shania, especially with the heavy beats that accompany the chorus. I can imagine how Shania’s ex-husband and former producer Mutt Lange would beef that up if he’s at the helm producing Taylor’s song. The Shania song that best fits and segues well to “We Are Never…” is “Any Man of Mine”, Shania’s first hit single from The Woman in Me. And speaking of Mutt Lange, that trademark sound he has is first prominent with the work he did with Def Leppard, and sonically and melodically, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was the first I could think of that would segue well with the aforementioned Shania and Taylor songs. On the surface, lyrically it wouldn’t make sense to put those three in a mash-up, but then it dawned on me that it could be segued into a “break-up suite” with this story: girl is cooling off from her boyfriend and hanging out with her friends talking about the crisis in her relationship and talking about what she really wants in a man with the Shania Twain song; then she caught said boyfriend painting the town red and wooing another girl with raunchy pick-up lines culled from “Pour Some Sugar on Me”; incensed, this put a nail in the coffin of their relationship and the girl launches into the Taylor Swift song.
“I Knew You Were Trouble” (2012) / “Ka-Ching!” – Shania Twain (2002). A few days ago, while I was preparing my miscellaneous artists essay, I suddenly thought of another Taylor Swift-Shania Twain combo featuring Taylor’s other pop-oriented hit, “I Knew You Were Trouble”. I thought of Shania’s Europe-only hit “Ka-Ching!”, and it makes for an interesting twist if you combine those two songs–the troublemaker in Taylor’s song may not be a person, but the obsession with material things even if it is beyond your means. It does make odd sense especially in the post-2008 economy, doesn’t it?
“Does Your Mother Know” – ABBA (1979) / “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)” – Shania Twain (1997) / “Mine” (2010). For the third song, I dug back to an earlier Taylor Swift hit, from her previous album Speak Now and how it could segue into Shania’s hit “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)”. Then, when I think of the Shania hit, the chorus of that song could easily segue into the refrain after the chorus of ABBA’s 1979 hit “Does Your Mother Know” (the “Take it easy…” part). Again, it may not easily make sense on the surface, but then I see a story evolving, about a man reluctant to date a girl because she’s too young for him, but the girl was relentless, and the man eventually gave in. If the official story is to be believed, it makes me recall the love story of Celine Dion and her manager-husband Rene Angelil.
For the ABBA song, I’m posting the rock/hootenanny version they played in their February 1979 BBC TV special in Switzerland, not the official disco-fied mix they eventually released for their Voulez-Vous album. It makes a better fit with the Taylor / Shania tunes.
Considering the relative scale of her success in this era, I believe Taylor Swift is this generation’s equivalent of Shania Twain. Sure, I doubt that Taylor will be able to achieve Shania’s humongous album sales at her heyday, and Shania at her heyday was in a stable relationship with her producer-husband* while Taylor’s unstable love life is well-documented tabloid fodder, the way both ladies courted an audience beyond the country constituent makes the comparison stick. I think I might have additional ideas down the line for other songs in their oeuvre.
* Though Mutt Lange ended up a cad for eventually then leaving her by cheating on her with a decidedly homelier lady–oddly enough, Shania then ended up with the ex-husband of the other woman.