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Shania Twain 

Up! (Mercury)

After ascending from their adopted city of Nashville on the wings of 1997's Come On Over, which sold 37 million copies worldwide, Shania Twain and husband-producer-co-writer Jeff "Mutt" Lange rise higher into the global pop stratosphere on the brazenly titled Up! To reassure old fans, the duo offers comfy continuity, too, with 19 songs as catchy and quasi-danceable as Come On Over's sweet 16. Most newsworthy, the package even contains two discs, each featuring different arrangements of the same tunes.

Yet the purportedly "rockier-edged" renditions on the red disc are more akin to cheesy global electropop than anything on Come On Over. And the green disc often just sounds like a consolation prize, with "more acoustic, down-home" versions that are no more country than they are Celtic.

Granted, Twain's sass and simplicity make her a better international pop star than anyone from Celine Dion to Kylie Minogue, especially on man-hunting rave-ups like the current single "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" and the bizarre "Waiter! Bring Me Water!" But mostly, Up! is as personable as the five-year plan of any ruthless transnational corporation, which is exactly what it is.

More by Franklin Soults

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