Straight outta the lab

Shania Twain’s “Party for Two” might be the single of the year. The duet, released in both country-broasted and Mark McGrath pop versions, is a laser-guided, petri dish-corrected, space age polymer orgasm of clean burning, unadulterated joy. In other words, its pitch-corrected tickle has a mandate to make you smile. And yet, “Party” is only the latest artificial high from Shania and producer/husband Mutt Lange’s ridiculously successful pop laboratory. (And Shania is certainly pop, even when she’s country.) From the foot-stompin’ fun of “Any Man of Mine,” off the 1995 breakthrough Woman in Me, through the amplified Juice Newton bounce of ’97’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” all the way to Up!’s robotic exclamation points in a platinum 2002, Shania and Lange implemented a songwriting method that vaulted the frames of format to focus solely on the limitless reach of the perfectly crafted radio single. While still nominally a country artist, what Shania truly became was a durable brand. Greatest Hits collects every one of her biggest hits and includes two additional new songs besides the alternating takes on “Party for Two.” It’s got the moves and it’s got the touch; like Madonna’s Immaculate Collection, it’s all the Twain you’ll ever need.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].

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