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Official Review [Single]: 15. "PLEASE MR. POSTMAN"/"THIS MASQUERADE" (1646-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 24, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Please Mr. Postman"

    19 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "This Masquerade"

    22 vote(s)
  1. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I agree Craig, 1973 seems to be the pinnacle for the duo. What an incredible run! By the close of business of that year they had taken the pop music world by storm. Karen at just 23 yrs of age and Richard at 27; who would've not believed that the magic would continue through the end of the decade and beyond? And in 1974 a musical act that had only been relevant in the business for 3 years releases essentially a "Greatest Hits" LP that sells an astronomical amount of units. At that point in time the world was truly their oyster. But then, 1975 rolls around...
  2. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    [QUOTE="This Masquerade was a great song and it is one I usually played for my snooty friends who only listened to singer/songwriters. Even though it was Leon Russell it is clearly a Carpenters arrangement and fit Karen just as well. Plus, by 1974 it was done by several pop and easy artists. I was surprised when it was a hit 2 years later for George Benson but he put a signature on it that penetrated most of his hits and although I liked the Carpenters version better the public liked George Benson’s. Now back in 1973, friends of my parents thought it was the best song on Now and Then, kinda like I feel about A Song For You on the album of the same name. I guess it’s all timing. I think the best shot for it was when Sing was popular, but I don’t think it would have faired as well as Sing did. Sing had that Postman value and everyone was singing Sing in 1973 and it was the perfect year for that song as 1973 was perfect for the Carpenters. Who could beat what they had accomplished in and by that year![/QUOTE]

    I'd agree that 'This Masquerade' might not have done quite as well on the charts as 'Sing' did, but that raises the issue of whether they should have been releasing singles on the basis of getting the next hit single at all costs rather than on the basis of creating a long-term strategy for their sound and brand.

    I think Paul Grein wrote in an article in the 1990s that it would have been better at this stage to have gone with singles that weren't such surefire hits but would have broadened their appeal to different audiences (as I think 'This Masquerade' would have done) rather than go for the instant hit ('Sing') that got old quickly and gave more ammunition to their critics that they were lightweight and not worthy of being taken seriously.

    I can understand that the relative underperformance of the second and third singles from 'A Song for You' may have spooked them into feeling they needed to pick an easily accessible single (even if it was lightweight) to redress things, but although it did the job in the short term, it probably did more harm than good to their image in the long term.

    As George Benson proved in 1976, 'This Msquerade' could be made into a hit, and although I very much like his version, I think the Carpenters' version is the definitive take on the song. The fact that it's become I think the album track that has made the most appearances on their greatest hits albums says it all.
    CraigGA likes this.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    100% agree with you about it being the definitive version. Carpenters recorded many versions of songs that I feel are the definitive version, none more so than A Song For You.

    This Masquerade sits on many hits compilations alongside the single cuts as if it were a successful single in its own right and most of the record buying public probably now think it was.
    CraigGA likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Superstar...A Song For You...This Masquerade,
    three great Leon Russell songs....
    Well, one might ask--of those three Carpenters' recordings--
    Why Superstar is the only one deemed, at the time, to be worthy of A-Side Single release !
    One also might consider the arrangements of each song--as viewed chronologically,
    Superstar is as different in arrangement as A Song For You is from This Masquerade.
    And, finally the arrangement for This Masquerade is (imho)
    squarely within the then-solidified format of a Carpenters' easier, softer, sound.....
    Whereas the previous two are much more creative and powerful (imho !).
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Been re-listening to the Anthology 4-LP Set (JP):
    And, if I have not yet proclaimed--get this LP Set !

    That being said, on with the music.....
    This Masquerade (as heard on Anthology LP),
    I really love Karen's vocals on this song, haunting--to say the least--
    be that as it may...

    I can not fully get behind the entire arrangement !

    So, listen to---in order (as if, chronologically)---
    Superstar... A Song For You...
    This Masquerade.....

    Compare and contrast.

  6. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I went with Masquerade and I barely thought about it. Postman is cute, insubstantial Pop. It’s total fluff and there’s nothing wrong with that. Masquerade is just gorgeous. Richard’s piano solo is VERY nice and I love the vocal arrangement behind the incredible flute solo. The arrangement isn’t all “oboe’d out” like so many of his are. He stays out of the way and lets Karen do her thing. Speaking of which, Karen’s voice is just sublime here. The flute solo at the end is just the right way to end the tune.

    This is what happened when Carpenters really got it right. Masquerade is easily in my top 5 Carpenters’ songs. No clue why this wasn’t a single. It certainly should have been, IMHO.

  7. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    after YESTERDAY ONCE MORE had run its course, I hounded stations here in dallas to play THIS MASQUERADE. my teenage self thought it to be the logical release. my favorite fm did briefly provide light rotation. I was stumped when the release didn't follow. not long afterward, the release of TOP OF THE WORLD and THE SINGLES, made it clear, there was not enough time for everything to gel for the holiday marketing of THE SINGLES.

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