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CD Review: time * sex * love - Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Reviewed by Jolene Downs

Mary Chapin Carpenter is releasing her first new music in five years, and I think her many fans will find it well worth the wait. Looking for a fresh approach to record her music, Mary Chapin Carpenter packed herself and her band overseas to London to record the album. It gave her the atmosphere she was looking for to create some great new music. Her new album's full title is: Time is the great gift; Sex is the great equalizer; Love is the great mystery. This very long title is a spontaneous quote from John Jennings - one of the albums producers. It was shortened to "Time * Sex * Love." This is quite an interesting title for an

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album, and makes you wonder what is inside. I was more than happy to find out what Mary Chapin Carpenter cooked up.

Although I would not consider this album "really country," it does have a couple of songs that would probably do well on country radio. However, it is packed front to back with great music that Mary Chapin Carpenter fans will love immediately. It is a very easy album to listen to. She sings about real life and adds some musical texture to her songs.

The first cut is a fun song, with a carefree attitude. "Whenever You're Ready" has a whimsical message of how to live life. Don't be afraid to try new things..."the more you lose the more you win..." as you play the game of life.

"Simple Life" is the first single release from the album. The basic message is to remain yourself. Don't try to conform to everyone's standards if you are happy as you are. She says "life has fast, slow and stall - no reverse." That is good food for thought.

In "Maybe World," she tells us not dwell on what could have happened, but what is happening now. Life is uncertain and you just take it as you get it and deal with it as it is. It is a "Maybe World..."

I enjoyed "What Was It Like." I haven't been able to figure out why, because it is a sad, haunting song. Not the kind that usually grab me. However, Mary Chapin Carpenter gives the song a life of its own, and it grew on me really fast. A woman who has been spurned is questioning what it was like for him to just discard her like she was nothing. Really wants to make him think about it - and not just write her off as another statistic.

"King of Love" is a dark song about a woman in a domineering relationship. She is in love, but his idea of love is to control her.

"This Is Me Leaving You" is a fun, in your face song about someone done with being taken for granted. He took everything she had to give and gave nothing back.... so she says "this is me leaving you."

Another song that seems to hold true in many cases is "The Long Road Home." It talks of people finding financial success in their life but forgetting where they came from.

The last "official" cut on the album is "In The Name of Love." It is a long track as far as songs go, lasting over 10 min. It deals, again, with people not grabbing the chance for love when it happens. For some reason, people always have to question why. By the time they are done questioning, the chance is gone. She says, "Don't be late for love." It is sort of bittersweet in melody.

All in all, this album was fun listening. I love the last "surprise" on the album - it was very spontaneous. Mary Chapin Carpenter is a very talented songwriter as well as a singer. She makes you think about the way you live your life, while giving you something enjoyable to listen to. It may not be the album for someone who only listens to traditional country music. It is, however, an excellent album for someone who enjoys great music.

Song List:

  1. Whenever You're Ready
  2. Simple Life
  3. Swept Away
  4. Slave To The Beauty
  5. Maybe World
  6. What Was It Like
  7. King Of Love
  8. This Is Me Leaving You
  9. Someone Else's Prayer
  10. The Dreaming Road
  11. Alone But Not Lonely
  12. The Long Way Home
  13. In The Name Of Love
  14. Going Home
  15. Late For Your Life

Audio clips courtesy of Amazon.
All graphics © Shelly Fabian, with the exception of the album cover, used with permission of Sony Nashville.

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