It is true what Karen and Richard themselves said - that when they first broke with 'Close to You', hard rock was very popular. There was also quite a strong presence of blues-influenced music and soul at the time. You can see that it could be true that critics and factions of the public might have sort of resented them and groups like Bread for swinging things back around to a lighter sound. And with 'A Kind of Hush', their sound got lighter still, on the whole. It's a very light album, really.It is a song that mimicked what the critics echoed. There are so many better original songs.
The other day, I was listening to the American Top 40 from around the time 'Close to You' hit number one. There was a lot of heavier rock in the charts at the time.
I love a lot of the soul and harder-edged rock of the sixties and early 70s but I love the sound of The Carpenters, too. While I don't feel that 'A Kind of Hush' is anywhere near their finest hour, it does have a couple of stellar recordings on it, ('I Need to Be In Love' and 'One More Time'), and it's an album that I was very fond of when I was young.