Time * Sex * Love

This new Mary Chapin Carpenter CD is like a new romance: so hot from anticipation that it has nowhere to go but stale. Similes like that overrun Time * Sex * Love, a CD that is as satisfying as it is depressing.

Take, for example, the gut-wrenching, near-perfect songs—trademark Mary Chapin Carpenter—that are sure to make it onto her next compilation CD. My picks are “Simple Life” ("You’re making lists today of all the things you haven’t done yet. You’re driving everyone crazy. Are you having any fun yet?"), “Slave to the Beauty” and “This is Me Leaving You.”

But the downer songs, rather than thought provoking, are just downers. That seems to be the theme of this album: Fun, upbeat music followed by two pretty, lilting dirges—like the artistic equivalent of bipolar disorder.

Now, I like to wallow as much as the next gal, but this CD is an all-out pity party. I found myself wanting more of the upbeat tunes of Carpenter’s earlier releases. (Remember “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” the woman-leaves-man song that’s so fun you can’t help but belt it out in the car? On this CD, “This is Me Leaving You” hits that same emotional tone.)

But overall, she went too far this time. Get this girl some Prozac.