Shania Twain's Now album plays better as a whole than any of the 12 songs do individually.

Listening to the best songs out of order is like hopping around from chapter to chapter of a great novel. You're dropped on an emotional island with no instructions for how to proceed, or knowledge of how you even you got there! The mystery of "Who's Gonna Be Your Girl" isn't as compelling without the heartbreak suffered in "Poor Me" before it. A playful burst of sunshine called "You Can't Buy Love" isn't as satisfying without the deceptive "I'm Alright" a few cuts before it.

Without the dark, you can't appreciate the light on Now, a long overdue album from one of country music's all-time great females. Twain wrote every song by herself, and at times she indulges. "Who's Gonna Be Your Girl" relies on a long, languid melody that's thick with melodrama her words don't support. That we know the events of which she sings makes it more difficult to insert our own stories, but that she's singing of these things makes this a compelling album.

Credit the 52-year-old for not over-reaching to appease the oft-sought after younger audience. This is a grown woman's album. The pop-friendly production adds a sheen, but never pushes against the edges of what we define as country music in 2017. There is a message of empowerment to be taken from this album, but it's not from any song as much as it is from all of them and that, after all she's been through, she still found a way to make a consistent, professional piece of art.

5 Things You've Gotta Know About Shania Now

Did You Know?: Twain worried she would not regain her voice after Lyme disease, and was content being another songwriter in Nashville and not releasing another album.

Key Tracks: "Swingin' With My Eyes Closed," "Poor Me," "You Can't Buy Love"

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