Album: Come On Over
Shania Twain has lost hope that she and her ex-boyfriend will be together again in the skeptical “When.”
A defeated guitar and complacent drums opens the single. She counts the beats until she’s ready to hear more of it. It sets a disillusioned tone.
“1, 2, now.”
In the first verse, she says it would take a miracle for her to speak to her ex again. She apologizes for her cynicism, saying nursery rhymes are false. She wonders when she will get over him, what caused him to stop loving her and at least be friendly.
“If elephants could fly I'd be a little more optimistic/But I don't see that happening anytime soon/I don't mean to sound so pessimistic/But I don't think that cow really jumped over the moon.”
In the pre-chorus, she wonders when she will get over him, what caused him to stop loving her and at least be friendly.
“When will I wake up?/Why did we break up?/When will we make up?”
In the chorus, she says it will be in her fantasies that they will have a future. The world will have be rid of its evil and be a peaceful place. Relationships would have to become a product like a dishwasher. It will work for many years and be a stable influence, according the label on the person’s heart.
“When money grows on trees/People live in peace/Everyone agrees/When happiness is free/Love can guarantee/You'll come back to me-that's when.”
The guitar, now lively, has a short solo.
In the second verse, she misses her usual sunny outlook. She wants to hear happy news, like her favorite dead singers didn’t really die. They just hid away for awhile. It would be fantastic to see them live.
“I'd love to wake up smiling-full of the joys of spring/And hear on CNN that Elvis lives again/And that John's back with the Beatles and they're going out on tour/I'll be the first in line for tickets-gotta see that show for sure.”
The pre-chorus and chorus are sung once.
The lively guitar has an extended solo. It gets goofy and decides to riff for a bit.
The pre-chorus and chorus are sung once again to close the single.
Twain believed love was forever. Losing her boyfriend shattered her dreams. She thought she would be married to him and have kids. They would grow old together and feed baby food to each other once their teeth were gone. She had planned out, even though she hadn’t expressed it him. She felt it, which for her, meant something.
Twain’s pouty, droopy vocals have a genial, chipper air to them. However, she can’t sell hurt well. She’s downplaying her heartache, contradicting the hopeless lyrics. There’s still a glimmer of a chance she’s holding onto. It feels like a façade when it isn’t intended to be.
The empathic arrangment sops up the lyrics, draining them of any credibility with its chipperness.
The misleading “When” is sunk by its incapability to pick a tone.
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