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Carpenters on “Best Ever Albums"

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Must Hear This Album, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Must Hear This Album

    Must Hear This Album Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    So I stumbled upon an interesting website, “Best Ever Albums,” which states it’s purpose to be “...a means of establishing the greatest music albums of all time by using legitimate critical sources and calculating a ranking based on the rank and number of times an album has appeared in a 'greatest album' chart and then ranking the albums according to their aggregate performance.”

    Interesting concept. It ranks Carpenters albums on the site, based upon its stated metric, and their ranked list holds one significant surprise (for me, at least...). I’d be eager to hear your thoughts (mine are parenthetical).

    The “best” non-compilation Carpenters albums, according to “Best Ever Albums.”

    1. Close To You (No surprise)
    2. A Song For You (Again, no surprise)
    3. Passage (SURPRISE! Wow. Ranked as their 3rd best album ever? Huh...)
    4. Carpenters (Their best selling album, not surprised that it ranks highly)
    5. Now & Then (The last of the “classic” Carpenters sound)
    6. Horizon (Seems about right)
    7. Christmas Portrait (Best Christmas album ever recorded, though...)
    8. Offering (Love this album, but so be it)
    9. Made In America (Sure)
    10. A Kind Of Hush (Yep, although I rank Voice Of The Heart higher)

    Here’s the link, if you’re so inclined:
    Carpenters
     
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  2. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Like you say, 'Must Hear', the big surprise is the rank of 'Passage', but maybe it ranks highly because it's different and more adventurous. (I actually think that 'Offering' is also adventurous). Like you, I would have 'Voice of the Heart' on the list, (probably in place of 'Made In America' or 'A Kind of Hush'). Another personal favourite is 'Lovelines'. (A bit too syrupy for the Top 10, maybe, and some of the solo stuff gives it a different-category feel). If it was a personal list, I would have 'Horizon' at Number Two but I can see that, critically, it would come behind the earlier albums. Overall, I reckon they probably got the rank about right, if you're imagining the order that critics would put the titles in. It makes sense that the earlier albums would be the ones most critically acclaimed, and 'Close to You' holds its rightful Number One position. Wait. I've always ranked 'Horizon' above 'Close to You' personally and still would, although I love CTY. But given the way this chart would make, I can see why CTY is at the top.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
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  3. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    it is CLOSE TO YOU all the way for me if only for ANOTHER SONG and BABY IT'S YOU.
     
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  4. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    It is surprising that "Passage" ranked above #4,5, & 6. But it's becoming one of my favorite albums the more I listen to it. With that album it looked like the duo was going to successfully transition into the latter part of the decade and beyond. Oh well...As of late, I have been listening repeatedly to "Now & Then"; I just love side 2 with that great intro Yesterday Once More, setting the stage for a masterful oldies medley (I can also seem to handle Tony P's DJ rant, for the time being). I love the way they back each other up vocally. And knowing that Karen is handling the drumming makes it just that much better. They were truly a self-contained unit at that time.
     
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  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It's just a shame, having dipped their toes in ambitious waters, that they retreated back into their shells three years later. Who knows what the next album would have sounded like if they'd been as adventurous.
     
  6. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    As much as I love "Touch Me" (and I do), I missed the spark they'd ignited.
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    According to Billboard, in Japan the number of pre-shipping units for Passage was 250,000 copies.
    And, worldwide, Passage probably did very well, particularly with the success of Calling Occupants.
    Quite frankly, the lackluster performance of both Passage and Horizon,
    in the USA , continue to defy my expectations !
    After all, both--as complete albums--are rather creative in their own way.
    The Tan Album seems to get its impetus from the three Gold singles,
    but, otherwise I do not hold it in as high regard as the others I have mentioned.
    Even more unsettling--the relative lack of promotion for Lovelines--another great Album.
    Too bad Offering didn't get more notice, also,as it is rather brilliant.
    Needless to say, Passage (and the aborted solo album) spelled the effective ending of
    adventurousness ! Perhaps the record company really did get cold feet.
     
  8. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Just as this lone website has its own spin on Carpenters' albums, that spin is in flux, as a visit to the site today indicates a significant shakeup.

    Quality of Carpenters' albums is a much-discussed topic at our very own A&M Corner, with much divergence in views of fans. I, for instance, put on a pedestal, Horizon and A Kind of Hush (I know I am in the minority with the latter choice). It's always interesting to see how other fans perceive (and rank) individual albums and singles.

    I think it's safe to say that quality is a subjective criterion. Mass appeal can be quantified (in, for instance, music sales/airplay, TV ratings, and movie box office), but mass appeal and quality don't always go hand in hand. That may be a case in point with regard to Passage, with its generally favorable reviews yet modest sales. I was not an early fan of that particular release (only 8 songs, not a fan of Broadway tunes, not much in the way of traditional Carpenters' sound), but it --- most of it --- has grown on me immensely over time. And I suspect (and realize by reading these posts) that impressions naturally evolve among fans, much in flux...
     
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  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Always good to see A Kind of Hush LP get some recognition , James !
    I would gather that the majority of the "general public"
    have no inkling as to how truly different the albums are from each another !
    If all "they" are interested in are "the hit singles," then they are missing out on so much !
    The diversity represented by all of the albums--as a collective whole--
    is rather remarkable.......
     
  10. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    There's much I love about Hush as well... including the artwork and photography. :wink:
     
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  11. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    My favorite is Horizon, and it is my go to album when I need a good dose of Karen. Her voice is impeccable on this album. When it was first put on CD, one of my customers (I installed audio video systems on my off days) asked me for a good vocalist as in the old days and I gave her a copy of the CD. I ran into her a month later and she told me that she never new "that voice" was Karen Carpenter and she said it was the sound she was looking to find. I often wonder if she bought Lovelines later in the decade, for that has Where Do I Go From Here and Little Girl Blue that is in the mold of Horizon with Karen singing beautifully in ways untouched by anyone else. It's those ballads that get to me. Then, A Song For You is my next favorite for it has the best example of Carpenters material, then Close To You, Passage, Now and Then. The "Sing" medley from Music, Music, Music with the Bacharach tunes and The Karen and Ella duet and the 76 Medley of Hits from the First Carpenters Special and the Zodiac Medley from Make You Own Kind Of Music are special standouts, as well as a few from Karen's solo project. Then all the others fall into place scattered upon what day it is, for I like them all and treasure all of them. Then, there is the outstanding timeless Christmas Potrait that just gets better every year. It is stacked full of goodies to the point that it takes decades to hear them all as they are sprinkled though each song that Karen sings. Richard perfectly framed her voice and that paired treatment with Richard's "Carpenters" sound is what set them apart from the rest of the music world which gave them the superstardom status and legacy.
     
  12. Must Hear This Album

    Must Hear This Album Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Great notes from all. I, too, have a fondness for Passage, not only for what it was supposed to represent for the duo: a demonstration of their range and a reboot for their careers, but also for the songs. And, song for song, the album holds up well for me, even 40 years later. It’s just not their third best album.
     
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