Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Shut Up and Kiss Me”

“Shut Up and Kiss Me”

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Written by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

November 19, 1994

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

November 18, 1994

Mary Chapin Carpenter earns her third consecutive No. 1 single.

The Road to No. 1

After the sixth and seventh singles from Come On Come On went No. 1, Mary Chapin Carpenter released the lead single from her next studio set, Stones in the Road. It is her third and final No. 1 single to date.

The No. 1

Stones in the Road is a somber album with few moments of levity.  “Shut Up and Kiss Me” is the most joyful song on the album, and it showcases her growing confidence as a singer and a songwriter.

When asked why she whispered the title, she noted that doing it any other way would go against the lyric: “It’s been too long since somebody whispered, ‘Shut up and kiss me.'”

The woman who managed to get the word “benign” into the chorus of a No. 1 country hit was now ending her choruses with a sultry whisper and still topping the charts.

She also wrote such a memorable hook that Brooks & Dunn borrowed it wholesale for their 2000s hit, “Play Something Country.”

It’s a smart and compelling record that remains a highlight of this era. Country radio was better when Mary Chapin Carpenter was on it.

The Road From No. 1

Stones in the Road would only produce one more top ten hit – “Tender When I Want to Be” – and Chapin eked out one more top ten hit on the R&R chart with the lead single from A Place in the World, “Let Me Into Your Heart.”  Stones eventually went double platinum, while also winning the first Best Country Album Grammy given out in thirty years.  “Kiss Me” won Chapin a record-breaking fourth consecutive Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy.”  World went goldas did her late decade hits collection, Party Doll & Other Favorites, which included Chapin’s most recent radio hit, “Almost Home,” which went top twenty.

Chapin has continued to perform and release new albums, catering to an international fanbase that has endured since the end of her radio days.  Her most recent album, One Night Lonely [Live], is nominated this year for a Grammy Award, her first nomination in thirteen years.

“Shut Up and Kiss Me” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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3 Comments

  1. Look at the different styles, tones, and textures of the songs still reaching the top late in 1994. Country radio was still a wonderfully rewarding listening experience even as more made in Nashville product increasingly showed up at the party.

    How good was Carpenter in her commercial prime?

    Kevin, I am embarrassed to admit I never connected “Play Something Country” back to this song. I can’t un-see, or un-hear, it now!

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  2. Can’t argue with an A for “Shut Up and Kiss Me”. Favorite MCC album is still “Come On Come On” Played it a week ago. To be honest, I haven’t thought much of her work after “The Calling” which included “Houston” & “On with the Song”.

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  3. While the opening beat makes it sound like you’re in yet another line-dance ready made track, it’s not too long before the groove and piano draw you in, and Chapin’s clever writing style and sultry vocals are there to save the day. I love it when she whispers the title line! The melody is also insanely catchy, and I love Lee Roy Parnell’s smokin’ slide guitar licks throughout. Besides “Down At The Twist and Shout” and “I Feel Lucky,” this is definitely another one of MCC’s most fun singles!

    This is the Chapin song that seemed to be all over the radio throughout my days of listening to country radio in the mid 90’s. It’s actually the first time I learned that it was, in fact, okay to say “Shut up” in a country song, lol (Chely Wright would let me know again in 1997). I even remember one night seeing her perform this song live on some late night show while my mom and I were flipping through the TV (It seemed like there was at least one country singer performing every night on those late night talk shows back then). I’d hear it on several occasions when I was in my dad’s car and even during family vacations I went on with my mom and step dad. One time when we were around the mountain area in Upstate NY on the way up to Maine in 1996, this song was playing on a country station we found that was likely fading out, while a rock station was trying to take over. I remember my step dad going “So it’s Country vs. Rock & Roll! Which one is going to win?!”

    Of the other singles from Stones In The Road, “Why Walk When You Can Fly” is the one I was most surprised to learn didn’t do as well. I actually remember hearing that one quite a bit when it came out, and I always loved the fiddle in that song. I even remember hearing it on the little radio one night while we were in a motel room during another one of our family trips in 1995. I also really love “Tender When I Want To Be.”

    Oh yeah, and thanks for ruining a good song by pointing out it’s similarities to “Play Something Country.” Jk ;)

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