26 Years Ago: Shania Twain Releases ‘The Woman in Me’
On Feb. 7, 1995, Shania Twain released her second album, The Woman in Me. The Canadian musician co-wrote the album with her then-husband, Robert John "Mutt" Lange; the latter also produced the full-length.
Although the well-crafted songwriting points to Twain's future pop success, the LP is squarely in the country realm. However, The Woman In Me has a song for every mood, as it boasts tender ballads ("The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You)," "Raining on Our Love"), sentimental breakup songs (the piano-driven waltz "Leaving Is the Only Way Out"), searing country-rockers ("(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!") and kicky dancefloor fillers ("Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?").
To say The Woman in Me became a blockbuster is a vast understatement. The album spawned six Canadian country No. 1 singles, and four in the U.S., with "Any Man of Mine," "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!," "You Win My Love," and "No One Needs to Know" topping the charts in both countries.
These hits especially came at country from a distinctly feminist perspective, which was aligned with the strong female musicians dominating music during the '90s. The protagonist of "(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!" makes it clear from the start that she's not in the mood to invest in someone who's wasting her time: "Let me make it clear / To you my dear / If you're not in it for love / I'm outta here!"
"Any Man of Mine," which became Twain's first No. 1 country hit in the U.S., also especially resonated. Its lyrics spoke to a woman proclaiming what she wants in a partner, both from a slightly cheeky perspective ("Any man of mine'll say it fits just right / When last year's dress is just a little too tight / And anything I do or say better be okay / When I have a bad hair day") and a serious one ("Any man of mine better be proud of me").
Speaking to Maclean's magazine in 2015, Twain noted that "Any Man of Mine" "was considered to be too strong from a female perspective by radio. Not so much by the public — they were with me."
Incredibly enough, Twain achieved these milestones without touring. "I didn’t tour off The Woman in Me, and that was partly because I really felt I needed more powerful music under my belt to get out and do a really powerful show, and one where I wasn’t doing any covers -- I’d spent my whole career up until then doing covers to make a living," she told Billboard in 2017. "It was important to me to focus a lot on the songwriting, and not be touring at the same time."
Sales-wise, The Woman in Me was also a massive success. In the U.S., the RIAA certified it diamond, for 10 million albums shipped, on Nov. 17, 1997, and it is 12 times platinum overall. It was the first of three Twain albums to reach the prestigious diamond level: Come On Over earned the honor in 1999, while Up! achieved the milestone in 2003.
"We were very surprised by how big The Woman in Me became in the first place," Twain told Billboard. "So that was already something that went beyond my expectations. I really just felt very lucky, and wasn’t sure that it was even possible to get another diamond album off the back of that one."
The Woman in Me is available for streaming and purchase on Amazon.
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