Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mary Chapin Carpenter, "I Put My Ring Back On"

"I Put My Ring Back On" was the first single from Mary Chapin Carpenter's recently-released album The Age of Miracles. It did not enter the country charts, so most of you probably never got to hear it.

The lyrics describe the healing of a troubled marital relationship. In the heat of a dispute, the song's narrator has removed her wedding ring and thrown it down... "down, down, down." But she eventually puts her ring back on, realizing that "here with you is where I belong." She realistically acknowledges that their relationship is still far from perfect, and that love and marriage are still just as difficult as ever, but she is prepared to continue facing those difficulties without giving up.

These lyrics make for a heartwarming make-up song, bolstered by a pleasant lilting melody, that puts a smile on your face. The simple folk-pop production is not distinctly country, but that's because Mary Chapin Carpenter is no longer trying to squeeze herself into the mold of a typical "country singer." She is now recording on an independant label, and is no longer a mainstream country hitmaker, so there's really no need. One of Mary's admirable traits is that she has always allowed her lyrics and vocals to speak for themselves - she does not have to rely on catchy hooks to grab the listener's attention. Her new music retains these traits in full.

This song does not sound at all like the music currently heard on country radio, but it some ways, it's better. I definitely would have enjoyed hearing this one on radio. Check it out.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)