Rumination on life and love
In 2001, Mary Chapin Carpenter abandoned her sassy country twang to release time* sex* love, a brooding folk album filled with poignant musings and prayers for inner peace. After nine years and two albums of near-formulaic somber meditations, Carpenter is still trudging down that grueling path.
Reprising her well-worn role as a pensive, wistful artist, Carpenter’s latest is a pastiche of her respectable and nakedly honest earlier work. The Age of Miracles is almost laughably despondent, its few half-hearted attempts at pluck (“I Put My Ring Back On,” “What You Look For”) obscured by morose ballads, where “valleys of sorrow and tears” and “oceans of longing and years” blemish the lyrical landscape. Carpenter’s weepy soul-searching makes The Age of Miracles feel like a cheap copy of the genuine introspection that made her previous records so intriguing.