Mary Chapin Carpenter has always eschewed the schlock material that often plagues country artists, avoiding the trappings of Nashville in favor of a more independent approach to her music. Party Doll, a greatest-hits collection, stays in line with Carpenter's approach of giving listeners substance rather than gloss. Instead of releasing the typical "best-of" collection that includes only the standard radio hits, Carpenter has put enough thought and imagination into Party Doll that even familiar fans will be surprised. Her career making hits are here, but often in an alternate form such as the live version of "Down at the Twist and Shout" recorded at Super Bowl XXXI or the version of "Quittin' Time" from the Ryman Auditorium. Also included are songs from soundtracks and tribute albums and an achingly beautiful cover of the Mick Jagger song that serves as the album's namesake. While some may be disappointed they can't buy one CD that includes all her hits the way they first heard them, Carpenter's true fans will appreciate the effort that went into this greatest-hits package.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Kurutz