Crazy/Dutiful

The problem isn't so much telling disc from disc as song from song. Up! Is a kind of hysterical paralysis brought on by an untenable choice. The two discs, pretty straightforwardly, represent the two moves Nashville offers the good-time girl: red the MOR embrace, green the traditionalist retreat. Shania Twain saw her choices—she made a critical reading of her field, like every intelligent artist—and froze. Or maybe she thought that choosing both was a way out. But accepting all the terms is no more nervy than failing to select among them; it is, finally, dutiful in the way always asked of country women. And that inescapable call to duty is what makes you crazy, makes you unable to exercise your own gifts. Not a single song has the wildly dense hooks; no hearts kick-started here. The issue isn't whether MOR and NashTrad are bright or dull poles—but that, magnetized between the two, the songs are one after the next lacking the nerve and verve that made Shania great. And no amount of exclamation points will bring them back. Score another one for the dull ol' boys, and wave goodbye to another pure product of America.


Related Article:
"Shania Twain's Up: The Blue Version Caters to Electro-Rockin' Bollywood Enthusiasts" by Kembrew McLeod

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