• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review [Album]: "CLOSE TO YOU" (SP-4271)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 41 50.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 32 39.5%
  • ***

    Votes: 7 8.6%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    81

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Their music is so involving and unique that the feel-good sunshine groove can hold hands with the undercurrent of darkness in perfect harmony. I think everyone hears different things. That’s a sign of exemplary art to me.
The "feel-good sunshine groove" I hear and get - but "the undercurrent of darkness"? I can detect a slight trace of something like that in "Superstar", but where is that in CTY? The obsession for the guy with moon dust in his hair and starlight in his eyes? The stalking by all the girls in town?

I guess one can find dysfunction and pathos anywhere if one tries hard enough, even in the most innocent of adolescent-like lyrics - maybe even with the little lamb following Mary everywhere...
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
This is easily one of the best descriptions I’ve read of their singular artistry, how such contradictory, paradoxical elements can be as irresistible, complex and evolving as they are in the hands of two scarily symbiotic siblings.
Thanks, Jarred! We think alike. : )
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
The "feel-good sunshine groove" I hear and get - but "the undercurrent of darkness"? I can detect a slight trace of something like that in "Superstar", but where is that in CTY? The obsession for the guy with moon dust in his hair and starlight in his eyes? The stalking by all the girls in town?

I guess one can find dysfunction and pathos anywhere if one tries hard enough, even in the most innocent of adolescent-like lyrics - maybe even with the little lamb following Mary everywhere...
I was speaking in terms of their overall output. But, that being said, there are several examples where 'Close To You' was used to great effect in various documentaries. One that comes to mind is an ABC series from 1986 called "Our World". They created a scene showing bombs being released from bomber planes in Vietnam as the background played Karen's line, "Why do stars fall down from the sky?" It was pretty effective, but I know I'm getting a little off-topic here.
 
Last edited:

Jarred

Your resident analyst right around the corner.
The "feel-good sunshine groove" I hear and get - but "the undercurrent of darkness"? I can detect a slight trace of something like that in "Superstar", but where is that in CTY? The obsession for the guy with moon dust in his hair and starlight in his eyes? The stalking by all the girls in town?

I guess one can find dysfunction and pathos anywhere if one tries hard enough, even in the most innocent of adolescent-like lyrics - maybe even with the little lamb following Mary everywhere...

Only a slight trace in Superstar? My goodness! Darkness consumes that song! I think Retro and I are responding to the dark tones in Karen’s voice and how Richard (consciously or not) crafted arrangements that grooved with an undercurrent of foreboding that complimented what naturally came from her mouth. Sometimes it’s more her vocal performance alone and sometimes it’s the arrangement intertwined with her that gives their songs a heavier air.

Sing is an example that sounds cheerful, but the naïveté of the choir and the wistful flute with her vocal gives the would-be featherweight song a dimension no other musical act could accomplish. Such is the case I feel with a cream puff like CTY - they raise it above easy listening and, for me, turn it into something more emotionally complicated, all while being pleasant and musically sophisticated.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
This is a weird little experiment, but I never liked hearing the electric piano note segue into the acoustic piano between the 1987 remix of "Love Is Surrender" and the 1990 remix of "Maybe It's You."

Although I don't have the "Treasures" compilation (yet), I have the 1987 remixes of both "Love Is Surrender" and "Maybe It's You." As expected, they segue perfectly.


(Personally, I'm still trying to figure what versions I like best. I would maybe do the 1970 mix of "Love Is Surrender" and the 1990 "From The Top" remix of "Maybe It's You.")
 
Last edited:

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
The options of Maybe It’s You helps us focus on different parts of the vocal stack but I like the original best. All of the Close To You album is best in the original mix, according to my own taste. The only thing I like about the remixes is that Karen’s voice sounds crisper and clearer in the lead vocal.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Screen-Shot-2021-06-26-at-10-43-25-PM.png

Screen-Shot-2021-06-26-at-10-42-59-PM-copy.png

Top: Remastered Classics CD
Bottom: AM+ Series CD (CD 3184, pressed December 1988)

Verdict: Tie
Caveat: If you prefer a stronger tape hiss sound and higher-end frequencies, the Remastered Classics CD is the one for you. Some frequencies appear to go above 22 kHz, whereas the AM+ Series CD has a solid 22 kHz ceiling. If you prefer more dynamic range, the AM+ CD seems to be generally quieter, and the peaks don't push 1.0 (0 dB) as much. I would recommend looking for an AM+ CD without an IFPI number in the matrix if possible.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Others have mentioned it but one of the highlights of the arrangement is the 2 full stops at the end of the choruses after the buildup to the word "...blue." Silence is golden.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Others have mentioned it but one of the highlights of the arrangement is the 2 full stops at the end of the choruses after the buildup to the word "...blue." Silence is golden.

Well not silence, per se. There are the two quick four-note piano runs, which were Herb Alpert's idea; they are present in his jazzed up arrangement of the song, and he suggested to Richard that keep them in his arrangement. I think that little touch really makes the song.

I do agree that there is a slight undercurrent of darkness in "Close to You." After all, it's a song of longing: "They LONG to be close to you." This is about a love that is not happening, it's only a fantasy and who knows, it may never actually happen; so it could easily be seen as a sad song, despite the major-key melody.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Well not silence, per se. There are the two quick four-note piano runs, which were Herb Alpert's idea; they are present in his jazzed up arrangement of the song, and he suggested to Richard that keep them in his arrangement. I think that little touch really makes the song.

I do agree that there is a slight undercurrent of darkness in "Close to You." After all, it's a song of longing: "They LONG to be close to you." This is about a love that is not happening, it's only a fantasy and who knows, it may never actually happen; so it could easily be seen as a sad song, despite the major-key melody.
Yes, but even on that first full stop where the famous piano runs, or trills, occur there is a very brief moment of silence both before and after the runs - these strategically placed moments of silence, which are most often found at dramatic points in a composition, have long been referred to as "pregnant pauses".

And yes, it is a "song of longing" but by the third verse it's getting a little out of hand and starting to turn into a "stalker's song" (or so modern political correctness buffs would have us believe) with the lyrics:

That is why all the girls in town
Follow you all around
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

:rolleyes:
 
Top Bottom