Deana Carter celebrates the birth of her first child by releasing a patchwork of co-dependent pop ("The Girl You Left Me For"), earnest ballads ("In A Heartbeat") and soulful R&B ("Getting Over You"). You'll find acoustic guitars and drum loops, B-3 organs and affected vocals. The one thing you won't find is much country -- an interesting departure for an artist whose first single, "Strawberry Wine", earned top honors from the CMA in 1997. The Story Of My Life is peppered with pop-culture references from the recent past: Carter name-drops "Jack & Diane", Thelma & Louise and Kurt Cobain. "Yeah, yeah, yeah" serves as a refrain for at least two songs. "She's Good For You" lifts a groove from the Turtles' "Happy Together". Still, the album's bright pop never masks Carter's southernness; she drawls words like "cotton panties" and "Sunday School" and "champagne." Her voice is occasionally reminiscent of Julie Miller's with its whisper-spoken, childlike quality. Carter had a hand in writing all these songs, and some of the hooks are quite good. Of the toe-ringed free spirit in "Katie", she sings, "You don't look at her, you stare." In "Atlanta & Birmingham", the best cut on the album, she describes the temptation of a forbidden relationship: "We fell in love with just one touch/It was out of our hands."