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All My Shadows

Carpenters discussion thread

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I'm pretty sure we don't have one dedicated to Karen and Richard, and I've been on my biggest Carpenters kick in yeeeeears over the last few months, so I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on their music, career, legacy, etc. Plus, Richard has been working on a new album that marries Karen's voice with new instrumental backing from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and it's due to be released this Friday.

My love for Karen's wonderful voice and Richard's arrangements began when I was around eight years old, when one of the greatest hits compilations was constantly being advertised on TV. The song I most remember from the commercial is "Rainy Days and Monday," but I came to most associate them with "(They Long to Be) Close to You." When I was in junior high, I watched The Karen Carpenter Story one Saturday afternoon, and I've been hooked ever since. Here are some of my favorite songs from each of their major albums...


"All I Can Do"
"We've Only Just Begun"
"Crescent Noon"
"Rainy Days and Mondays"
"Let Me Be the One"

"Hurting Each Other"

"Road Ode"

"Aurora" / "Eventide"

"Desperado"

"Boat to Sail"

"I Have You"

"All You Get From Love is a Love Song"

"Two Sides"

"I Believe You"

"Touch Me When We're Dancing"

"Now"

"Ordinary Fool"

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I love the Carpenters. It's sad to know even now there is still just jeering about their music or about Karen's eating disorder and not enough appreciation for their music. I listen to it a lot, but especially around Christmas. 

 

The arrangements can sometimes be a bit treacly but they are balanced out by the ache of Karen's voice. They are the perfect marriage.

 

I guess we're not posting videos, but "Because We Are In Love" is one of my favorites of theirs. So is "Those Good Old Dreams." 

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She’s now one of my favorite vocalists, but I was afraid of her as a child because she had died young and tragically recently. (I was also afraid of John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Minnie Riperton, and Roy Orbison. I was weird.)

 

It seems like they had a critical renaissance in the ‘90s, especially after the Todd Haynes film with the dolls in the late ‘80s, the Sonic Youth tribute “Tunic,” and the If I Were a Carpenter covers album.

 

An interesting cover of “Top of the World.”

 

 

The Sonic Youth track.

 

 

 

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Brilliance in every corner, and in every way.  It makes me so sad to think how tortured she must have been in some ways. Richard tries, but it seems like he's been a walking shell since she was gone, trying to pick up the pieces of what was. This for me, is their best song. And the video so beautiful, shot at the Huntington botanical garden. 

 

 

This is an amazing medley. 

 

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1 hour ago, DRW50 said:

I love the Carpenters. It's sad to know even now there is still just jeering about their music or about Karen's eating disorder and not enough appreciation for their music. I listen to it a lot, but especially around Christmas. 

 

The arrangements can sometimes be a bit treacly but they are balanced out by the ache of Karen's voice. They are the perfect marriage.

 

I guess we're not posting videos, but "Because We Are In Love" is one of my favorites of theirs. So is "Those Good Old Dreams." 

Please do post videos! My preferred method of sharing is to simply paste the URL to the video, but apparently that doesn't work anymore, and I was too lazy to figure out the current way to do it.

I think the Carpenters are one of those cultural things where if they speak to you, they really speak to you and they mean so much more than just a couple of songs you enjoy. These songs were with me through many lonely days in my teens and early 20s, and to this moment, those sharp, dissonant chords, the questioning quiver in Karen's voice, the sudden and dramatic sweep from the strings...all of it fills me with a longing for something that I'm still not sure I'll ever find. Then you get to one of their more upbeat songs, and you know there's no need to worry because everything will be okay.

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There's a Carpenters-themed commercial around 7 minutes that is interesting to watch, although the kids would probably grow up to be traumatized every time they hear Karen sing...

 

 

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Is everyone familiar with Todd Haynes' uh, very interesting but now infamous short film on Karen Carpenter, called Superstar

Years ago, I read about it and was surprised to find it was on You Tube.   I think he was trying to get the film removed at that time.

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8 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

Is everyone familiar with Todd Haynes' uh, very interesting but now infamous short film on Karen Carpenter, called Superstar

Years ago, I read about it and was surprised to find it was on You Tube.   I think he was trying to get the film removed at that time.

 

I've heard of it but never seen it. Had no real desire to. I know Richard hated it but it seems to have been one of the reasons for their revival in the '90s. 

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On 12/3/2018 at 11:22 PM, Costello said:

She’s now one of my favorite vocalists, but I was afraid of her as a child because she had died young and tragically recently. (I was also afraid of John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Minnie Riperton, and Roy Orbison. I was weird.)

 

It seems like they had a critical renaissance in the ‘90s, especially after the Todd Haynes film with the dolls in the late ‘80s, the Sonic Youth tribute “Tunic,” and the If I Were a Carpenter covers album.

 

An interesting cover of “Top of the World.”

 

 

The Sonic Youth track.

 

 

 

 

Back when the alternative radio station (I believe it originated out of Philly, but it must have syndicated, because we had a channel for it here in NY) WDRE was on, one of the songs it would play was another by Sonic Youth from that very Carpenters cover album. I'll be the first to admit that the Carpenters were not something I really liked much, though I have a small soft spot for "Merry Christmas, Darling" which is now playing on many radio stations. But Sonic Youth's take on "Superstar" was quite odd - and I liked it. Even if the line, "Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear!" was almost drowned out by amp/reverb. LOL!

 

 

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