The daughter of country legends June Carter and Carl Smith, and raised in Johnny Cash’s house, Carlene Carter was something of a hellion in her younger days. After two teenage marriages, she ran off to England and got caught up in the music scene there, recording her first album with Graham Parker’s band and eventually marrying Nick Lowe in the late ’70s. Despite her auspicious background, she never clicked with the masses until 1990’s I Fell In Love, which, thanks to the sing-songy title track and the equally infectious “Come On Back”, was a big country hit.
Hindsight 20/20 is billed as a career retrospective, but it’s mostly filled with material from her later records. Compared to most of country radio, Carter’s work stands out thanks to its brash pop sound and high energy, and is always solace from the Rebas and Shanias on the airwaves. But a half-dozen of these tracks in a row — with glossy production, cloying background vocals (the “Whatcha wanna do that for?” from “I Fell In Love” is particularly grating), and inane lyrics (“Poets have a way with words” is actually repeated several times on “It’s No Wonder”) — blur together into a syrupy mess of Nashville schlock. Hindsight 20/20 is just too sweet to swallow.