My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Roger Linn

Class of ’89 Album Review: Mary Chapin Carpenter – ‘State Of The Heart’

stateoftheheart1Singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter’s second album (her first album saw no singles released from it) and it’s four breakthrough top 20 singles gave her a solid place in the Class of ’89.  Originally released through Columbia Nashville, State Of The Heart rose to #28 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and has been certified gold.  

State of the Heart contains the beginnings of Carpenter’s transition from folk into country and features her signature rich lyrics in a mix of both styles. She wrote every song on the album with the exception of ‘Quittin Time’ and a bit of co-authoring from John Jennings on ‘Never Had It So Good.’ 

‘How Do’ kicks off the set with a high energy dance tune that’ll get your feet tapping and your heart pumpin’. It’s a country version of “How do you do” and one of those “I’d like to meet you” numbers, perfect for a Honky Tonk, summed up best in the line, ‘Here’s a local girl/Who wants to show you around’. There’s some great instrumental solo work on this one which made it to #19 on the Hot Country Singles chart.  I don’t know what its competition was on radio, but this one deserved to go higher. 

She slows it down, but only a bit, with the next one, ‘Something Of a Dreamer’. Its lilting acoustic guitar picking and her clear folksy voice give it that optimistic dreamer feel. For some reason I could hear Trisha Yearwood doing a great cover of this one. Carpenter’s lyrics paint a poetic picture of love from afar and the chorus is catchy:

    ‘She’s something of a dreamer 
    Something of a fool 
    Something of a heartbreak 
    When she gives her heart to you’

‘Dreamer’ rose to #14 and was her 4th top 20 from this album on the Hot Country Singles chart. 

Next up is ‘Never Had It So Good’ which has a great hook: ‘You never had it so good babe/I never had it so bad’. It made it to #8 on the chart as the second single released to radio, but personally I think the hook is the best part of it. It’s just not as interesting as the first two cuts which have much more to offer instrumentally and lyrically. And Mary doesn’t sound as invested in this one either. 

Read more of this post