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

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Feb 4, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    35 vote(s)
  2. ****

    19 vote(s)
  3. ***

    5 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    I think at least at the time they would have gotten wider respect from people who did actually roll their eyes at them. Who knows what a rock direction coulda done for them. I only think it would have helped, but we may not have gotten many of those early Carpenters gems (album cuts and singles) had they gone mainly rock.

    And yes! a "Help" remix would and would still be amazing to hear alongside the original!
    byline likes this.
  2. byline

    byline Active Member

    While not my favorite song from Close to You (that would be "Another Song"), and also not my favorite Beatles cover of theirs (for me, that's the redo of "Ticket to Ride"), I do love their version of "Help." Richard's organ part is spectacular, and the song has so much energy. I agree with those who wonder if this would have been a game-changer had it been released as a single. It certainly wasn't the usual romantic ballad that most associated them with.
  3. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    Richard and A&M should (for fun) release the album again with an altered cover. I mean Rich hates it. I don't hate it and the actual picture set up is nice, but the actual photograph could have been better. A&M can touch it up and put the official CarpenterS logo on top. I really like the two smiling on the rock; I know it's kinda corny. But it just shows their fresh faces and youthful image of their early career. I mean it wasn't until Horizon that we next saw their faces on a cover (N&T somewhat hides them, and I love that cover too) and there was a contrast with their smiles gone and a new found maturity set in.
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I think the non-inclusion of their photo on the covers was down to A&M failing almost every time they tried it to get it right and Richard's insistence that they didn't feature on them for that very reason. I'm not sure who shot the cover for Horizon but they did a superb job, it's a beautiful photo, taken with a soft focus and perfectly captures the mood of the album.

    The other photo I really like that could have made an album cover is the inside shot on the 'Singles 1969-1973" collection.
  5. Song4uman

    Song4uman Well-Known Member

    I like the photos from ATGB and also the rerelease of Anthology...both of those would have made good album covers back in the day....of course they did make good album covers much later.
  6. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    I love the Anthology cover, even more than the one used on Horizon. Karen looks beautiful.
  7. byline

    byline Active Member

    I'd never seen the Anthology cover before, so I had to look it up. Wow, that is an amazing photo! I always liked them looking serious and reflective ... maybe because we overdosed on all the smiley photos (many of which looked forced, at least to me). They look more natural in shots like this and the Horizon cover.

    You know what always bugged me about the Close to You cover? Mind you, I was in sixth grade at the time, and this was looong before it was fashionable to wear underwear as outwear. They put Karen in these thin-strapped, open-toed sandals (which must've been great fun to wear, clambering down a rocky shoreline) ... but they had her wearing reinforced hosiery, so you could see the darker reinforced toe through the sandals. It was clear to me, even then, that someone other than Karen had dressed her (and not done a very good job of looking after the details). After all, her feet are what's closest to the camera!
  8. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    What ever impression or impact the Carpenters couldn't make w/ their debut, definitely set the record here!

    A Beatles song, a couple Bacharach/David numbers, some nostalgic nostalgia & even fleshing out a couple Paul Williams/Roger Nichols tunes, and even exercising some of Richard's own skillful song-writing ability, could put these two across more firmly, albeit a few moments sounding a bit flimsy & causing the fast moments to be too rushed (though Tim Hardin's 'Reason To Believe' goes enough at the right pace that it should have been more of a hit, if not available as a B-Side (was it?)...)

    Given that the public couldn't get used to Karen & Rich photographed together as a brother-sister act, what if this or any of the successors just had two separate photos of them on the front cover; just my minor side-note there on an often-discussed angle on photo shoots/marketing dilemmas this duo would encounter...

    "Too soft", thought RCA, but Alpert & Moss at least understood them perfectly, if not given them the break they deserved, though at the same time, too parlayed for the Easy Listening market, and a sign that MOR was destined to try to be cool, amid the competition in the up-coming decade, then for 'the right stuff to listen to', hence the 'made-for ready-made sphere of AM//FM radio play', that this pair was easily fair game for, generous to a fault in their purvey of AOR ennui...

    -- Dave
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  9. Song4uman

    Song4uman Well-Known Member

    It is probably my favorite picture of Karen.
  10. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    It should have been used as Horizon's cover. She was at the peak of her beauty here.
  11. Yamaguchi

    Yamaguchi Member

    Although "A Song for You" may be the Carpenters' best album artistically and as an integrated "work," there is just something about the pristine sound of Karen's earliest work that simply knocks me out. And of course CTY and WOJB are both among the greatest pop songs ever, while "Crescent Noon" is one of the best examples of what could be called "pop expressionism."
    A&M Retro likes this.
  12. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Well said, Yamaguchi. I've also heard "Crescent Noon" and "Another Song" described as 'art songs' by critic Bruce Eder at All Music Guide, which is an excellent description of each of those tunes. They are both so different from anything Carpenters recorded during their career, and still give me chills when I listen.

    Anyone who needs a prime example of Karen and Richard's talents need look no further. Then there's the rest of this great album....the whole thing is amazingly diverse and holds up very well to this day (even if "I Kept On Loving You" sounds a bit like the theme from "Love American Style").

  13. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    Cresent Noon sounds so surreal and almost eerie. Think about hearing it walking alone at night. I love it. It doesn't sound like something that would be on CTY at all. Her deep voice and the music go together seamlessly and had they recorded it say around 1976, it wouldn't be the same. It sounds like a track that would be on HORIZON; mature, dark, and deep.
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I've always loved it, too.
  15. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    No- really?!?!
  16. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Just shows how much better a "real" design company with the proper resources can do.
  17. BGW

    BGW Member

    I gave CTY 5 stars. It's really a slam dunk album, one of their strongest. I appreciate the variety, this was produced at the pinnacle of their creativity and while they weren't afraid to experiment. Thankfully Carpenters was pretty varied as well.

    It's funny though, I am not a fan of the song CTY. From a musical and production standpoint, it's great, but on the whole, the track is the embodiment of all the lame things the Carpenters were dismissed as being. It's ridiculously saccharine and the lyrics are painfully bad (as are most of Hal Blaine's IMO).

    An additional thing about CTY (the album, not the song): I much prefer the track order on tape to that of the LPs and CDs. It flows much better to my ears. I've quoted the order of tracks below. Carpenters and A Song For You also had different track orders, which can be seen and compared in the album sequencing thread here.

    Close To You (Reel & Cassette Tape)
    1. We've Only Just Begun
    2. Mr. Guder
    3. I Kept on Loving You
    4. Reason to Believe
    5. Help
    6. Close to You
    --Side Two-- 7. Baby it's You
    8. Love is Surrender
    9. Maybe it's You
    10. I'll Never Fall in Love Again
    11. Crescent Noon
    12. Another Song
  18. I listened to this album the other day and was blown away. Crescent Noon is just so mysterious and beautiful, and I really enjoyed the Bacharach melodies. In addition, MIY is one of my favorites. Great all the way round..
    BGW likes this.
  19. Hal Blaine was the drummer, Hal David, the lyricist :)
  20. Tapdancer

    Tapdancer Active Member

    But that's the whole point! The singer is in a state of unreal romantic idealism - so the lyrics need to take on a similar aesthetic...birds suddenly appearing, stars falling down, angels getting together, moondust in hair of gold, starlight in eyes of blue...

    Pure poetry. But imagine if the lyrics had been written to be sung by today's pretend divas: i.e. adopting the lowest common denominator Sex/ Drugs/ Rock'n'Roll standbys:


    [Sung to the Beat of the Street (DOOF DOOF DOOF DOOF)
    AND sending the wrong message to our kids]

    "Why do I get so horny hot,
    Every time I check out yo' butt,
    That's just me,
    That's how I wanna be,
    Into youuuuu....

    Why do rock stars wanna come round,
    Every time yo' in town,
    Just like me,
    They wanna be,
    Into youuuuu....

    On the day that you popped out,
    "The Angels" got together,
    And decided to make a mule out of yo',
    So they gave you "Moondust" you could share
    (For gold) and "Starlight" in your veins so bluuuuue

    [Metal riff: *&^%$#@!, *&^%$#@!]

    That is why all the hoes in town,
    Follow yo' all aroun',
    Just like me, they wanna be
    Into youuuu....

    [Shout in faux agony]
    Aaarggghhh, arggh arggh arrgh, into youuuu
    Aaarggghhh, arggh arggh arrgh, into youuuu
    [Enter drum smash]
    HAARGGGHHH, arggh arggh arrgh , into youuuu...."

    So let's thank God the music world was given the "lame" Bacharach, David, Alpert, and Carpenters.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  21. To me the lyrics to Close to you are sweet and innocent, the kind of thing you'd expect to see scribbled at a preteen girl's workbook... that's the only way I can take its "poetry", lol.
  22. Tapdancer

    Tapdancer Active Member

    Well, those fantasy lyrics must have struck a strong chord with someone if it rose all the way to Number One! Was it the pre-teens doing all the buying? I doubt it. The lyrics, music, arrangement, performance and recording in combination offered the perfect antidote to what was being played on the airwaves at that time. That's not lame - that's genius.
  23. BGW

    BGW Member

    Calvin, yes, of course, you're exactly right. It was pretty late when I posted that. I must have spaced out and typed the wrong Hal's name. Not a big fan of Hal David, although he had some good ones like Do You Know the Way to San Jose. Always wish the Carpenters had recorded a full version of that instead of I'll Never Fall In Love Again. Haha it's ironic that I'm whining about the lyrics of CTY when those of I'll Never Fall In Love Again are far worse. Downright painful for me, instant skip. I don't have an issue with Bacharach other than that he chose to work with David so often. He composed some very nice songs/melodies.

    Tapdancer, either I worded something vaguely or you took it the wrong way. In no way do I think the Carpenters are lame. Unfortunately I've never met anyone in person that actively likes the Carpenters. Most people say something along the lines of "Oh, Karen had such a lovely voice, but their music was kind of sappy" and then they invariably point to CTY as an example of that. I really can't blame them, and I can't help but think that if that song hadn't been so popular, not as many people would have written them off. I mean it's not like there's anything wrong with the track, I just don't think it should be the first song that pops into people's heads when they think of the Carpenters. It doesn't do them justice- besides the lyrics, it's not a particularly impressive example of Karen's amazing voice. I know I'm longwinded and not that articulate, but do you sort of see what I'm getting at? The song didn't and doesn't do their image any favors, and I think it may hinder potential fans.

    As far as youthful innocence, I can understand that. For a song that brings to mind what you describe, though, I think of things more like One Love or Baby It's You since they're more substantial songs that still have that feeling.

    This is just my opinion, after all. I don't mean to offend anyone. I know I'm in the minority here by far, but at least I have the comfort of knowing there's one other person in my camp. Don't forget Richard never liked it all that much in the first place. :twisted:
    Tapdancer likes this.
  24. I was speaking about the lyrics only, I didn't even say I don't like them, I actually do, and besides you can't really analyze a work of art just for its popularity, you can clearly notice that what was being played on the airwaves at that time was also very popular, so much that it supposedly needed a "antidote", so that means very little artistically speaking.

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