• The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available. Use this link to order, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

Official Review [Album]: "HORIZON" (SP-4530)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 42 49.4%
  • ****

    Votes: 30 35.3%
  • ***

    Votes: 9 10.6%
  • **

    Votes: 2 2.4%
  • *

    Votes: 2 2.4%

  • Total voters
    85

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Solitaire.....
"... became the Carpenters’ least successful single since their pre-stardom
A&M debut ‘Ticket to Ride’ in 1969. "

I've listened to this song hundreds--if not, thousands--of times.
The more I hear it, the more I love it. (Same with LP Horizon).
It's been debated previously, but, the more I contemplate this,
the more baffled I remain:
In the USA, single Solitaire and album Horizon were "relatively" unsuccessful.
("relative" to sales of earlier singles and albums, that is).
Had Karen and Richard been able to do Solitaire in concert (did they ever do it in concert ?),
Had the Sedaka-incident not been given bad press....
Would any difference have been made in their sales and chart standing ?
(Keep in mind, Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain and Tennille) was #1 for 1975 !)
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Solitaire.....
"... became the Carpenters’ least successful single since their pre-stardom
A&M debut ‘Ticket to Ride’ in 1969. "

I've listened to this song hundreds--if not, thousands--of times.
The more I hear it, the more I love it. (Same with LP Horizon).
It's been debated previously, but, the more I contemplate this,
the more baffled I remain:
In the USA, single Solitaire and album Horizon were "relatively" unsuccessful.
("relative" to sales of earlier singles and albums, that is).
Had Karen and Richard been able to do Solitaire in concert (did they ever do it in concert ?),
Had the Sedaka-incident not been given bad press....
Would any difference have been made in their sales and chart standing ?
(Keep in mind, Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain and Tennille) was #1 for 1975 !)
I doubt it. The song is pure elevator fare for me. It's a total drudgery. The pace is glacial too. I'm amazed it got to #17. It's "Easy Listening" to its core. That Karen disliked it makes perfect sense to me too.

Ed
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I will always say that Love Me For What I Am would have been the more social choice. Janis Ian's At Seveenteen was doing well and this song would have yielded to better sales. Solitaire was not a summer song and would have done better in the fall. Solitaire is a great song, but it drags a bit. That being said, it would never have been remembered if Karen had not sang it. In my area, Horizon was not promoted! Despite that, it still sold well. In 1974, they took time off to move into a new home. In looking back, I'm sure the wish was to take time off in 1975 before Karen got sick and they had to with the weight of responsibility thrust upon them. It was time for some relief.
In 1975, Vietnam war was ending and soft pop was shifting into more Rock on the charts. It was a cycle here in the US and not an issue of product. Popularity was even increasing abroad. Had singles been evaluated in 1995 as they were in 1975, no one would have had hits. I think as radio stations were shifting from AM all for ones to a FM Rock emphasis, Carpenters were beginning to be left behind. I rarely saw singles in record stores in 1995, and today everything today is streamed. So, I feel evaluations for hit play was beginning to shift even in 1975.
Love Will Keep Us Together is a feel good song with a new group, so it was received without prejudice. The Carpenters were beginning to fall from grace being victorious as All American in a time when politics were not strong after the Watergate fiasco. I think little knew of the Sedaka issue relating to single sales and that issue was a management missing in charge mess up. I just think everyone was tired and decisions were missed as was the synergy in opportunities. After 1974, they were not even on TV until their own special in 1976. And, if Horizon was not soft enough, A Kind of Hush was all easy and soft and a hit killer in the US. It's only success were from fans. Well, even those who liked the Carpenters were not running to the record stores for A Kind of Hush.
 
Last edited:

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I doubt it. The song is pure elevator fare for me. It's a total drudgery. The pace is glacial too. I'm amazed it got to #17. It's "Easy Listening" to its core. That Karen disliked it makes perfect sense to me too.

Ed
Just playing around in Audacity, I sped up "Solitaire" by a factor of 50% - and it's still a ballad! (Albeit with a faster-moving chorus.)
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I'm not really certain about terminology,
but, never would I classify Solitaire (Carpenters' version) as "elevator music."
Slow ballad, most certainly. If that is the criteria, then guilty. But, elevator music
implies something (imho) to be forgotten, downplayed. That is not this Single to my ears.
Had Karen and Richard not recorded it, I would never give it another thought.
I hate to be the dissenter, but musically speaking:
arrangement, lead vocals, lyrically....that Carpenters' Single is incredibly moving to me !
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
I'm always amazed at the diversity of opinions among fans regarding certain albums and certain songs in the Carpenters' repertoire. It goes without saying that each of us is entitled to his/her opinion...

I am strongly in the camp of @GaryAlan in my appreciation for "Solitaire," and I have defended that song time and time again here. I remember thinking, at the time of the release of "We've Only Just Begun," that would always be my favorite Carpenters' song. Then along came "Rainy Days and Mondays." Then along came "Superstar." Then later "Only Yesterday" came along. Then along came "Solitaire," a moment of enlightenment for me... Some call it "plodding" and "elevator music." Clearly, it's a ballad, but the instrumentation, particularly in the single version, enhances the presentation. Many consider it one of Karen's best vocals ever, if not the best! That treatise encompasses technical execution as well as emotion --- consider nothing more than the final line ("He's playing solitaire"). I think it is Karen's best performance. Throughout my life, it is the song that gets the most "spins," soaring past some early favorites...
 
Last edited:

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
It is amusing, speaking --or, writing--of varying opinions on Singles....
Close To You, great as it is,
does not affect me the way Solitaire affects me !
But, again, when covered by any other artist,
Close To You does not get another spin from me....
it is only the Carpenters' "take" on those songs that elevates them
above and beyond mere pop music.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Just playing around in Audacity, I sped up "Solitaire" by a factor of 50% - and it's still a ballad! (Albeit with a faster-moving chorus.)
Oh, that's funny...LOL!!!

Yeah, it's just produced like a funeral dirge. It kills the momentum of the record and then it jerks into "Happy" which is a bit jarring.

Ed
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
I don't love the track but if I had to choose a song for best vocal ever from Karen, it would be between this and You're The One. The range, phrasing and vocal control on both are better than anything she ever sang.
Concur. Solitaire was my solid pick of favorite Karen performance. Just a beautiful demonstration of her incredible range and ability to pack so much emotional punch into a song. Then, not too long ago, I downloaded "The Karen Carpenter Story" from YouTube having never seen it before, and heard You're The One for the first time in the soundtrack. I was utterly blown-away at the sheer beauty of her performance. I am now torn, as it is a "dead heat" for my top spot. And I might add, One More Time is starting to crowd my top two lately :confused:!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Sequencing ?
Postman is sandwiched between Desperado and I Can Dream Can't I,
I must say, the sequencing of the Horizon songs never bothered me.
I must say, how is Solitaire any more (or, less) plodding than I Can Dream Can't I ?
No one has called the latter song (ICDCI) "elevator music" (whatever that definition implies).
So, it can't merely be a question of the song (Solitaire) being too slow (plodding).
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
"I Can Dream, Can't I" is a throwback to 40s big band style, with Karen the out-front vocalist. It's supposed to be that tempo. The fact that it exists on HORIZON should have told someone that both "Solitaire" and "Desperado" shouldn't be on the same album with it.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Yet, I felt that many folks have expressed that the tempo of Postman was the one song
that destroyed the "flow", the tempo, of the Horizon album.
I suppose we can agree to disagree, but,
the tempo of Solitaire has every right to be the same tempo as I Can Dream Can't I.
My point is that by inferring that the tempo dictates calling Solitaire "elevator" music
is simply not relevant--no more so than if I referred to ICDCI as elevator music,
if based upon tempo.
Of course, I am biased.
I love the Horizon album as a whole, sequencing and all.
But, that is purely my subjective opinion.
Nothing (vocals,arrangement,lyric) about
Solitaire is inferior to I Can Dream Can't I (vocals,arrangement,lyric).
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I Can Dream, Can't I was not a single. It is stylistic perfect sung with perfection. No one can touch it or come close to this interpretation of this beautiful song. The same with Solitaire. Was its selection as a single the wisest choice? It was a song I listened to often when playing the album but I chalked it up to one of my favorite album cuts. I am grateful for the single arrangement, as I am the Quad arrangement. It is truly a worthy song and a difficult song sung with clarity and ease in a graceful representation of angst and loneliness with peace. Very few singers can sing with such essence. I have heard some say that it is their best recording. It is definitely up there with the best. But in 1975 the adult topic in Love Me For What I Am led the way for woman independence seeking love and self worth and would have hit better as a topic song.

Horizon showcased Karen's voice unlike any other before it. And in 1974-1975, it was at its peak! And this album said that they were here to stay and showcased their talent as great musicians. It was the topping or the icing on the cake that had been supplied with their previous albums. It just needed 2 more songs supplying a little more energy. But, it is still my favorite.

As I grow older, I am pulled to the harmony on Bless the Beasts and the Children, but it was not a single even though it had radio play that helped it chart. I'll Never Fall In Love Again is another. But they are superb album cuts. That's how I feel about A Kind Of Hush. Nothing on it was Single worthy, but as far as album cuts go, it is superb. Passa ge had one that was overlooked and arranged with a rock opera influence instead of a simple pop song which kept it an album cut: I Just Fall In Love Again. I can see why Only Yesterday was the last Top 10 Single, but I love all of them. I am a devoted fan, but without Karen they are just sweet songs. Karen's voice makes them matter! Her voice made them worthy and elevated each song to a level of worthiness and meaning: that tone, clarity, and deep emotion of angst riding the train of hurt and depression into a peaceful understanding, as the feeling of hand running up and down velvet material giving 2 different features of a beautiful material. I have never celebrated a voice that could touch it. Kelly Clarkston comes nearby, but Karen has better song interpretation.and phrasing. Melissa Manchester, Linda Rondstandt and others like them have great voices but they sing everything in the same manner. Madonna stretches her style and Mariah Carey has power and acrobatic ability that is natural for her type of voice, as Donna Summer or Pink, but Karen had The Voice as Whitney Houston had The Voice. But for my taste, Karen is tops! For all those singers I mentioned, it is hard to imagine that anyone could hear better talent in a lifetime. I have definitely been blessed!
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
"I Can Dream, Can't I" is a throwback to 40s big band style, with Karen the out-front vocalist. It's supposed to be that tempo. The fact that it exists on HORIZON should have told someone that both "Solitaire" and "Desperado" shouldn't be on the same album with it.
Agree completely. "I Can Dream, Can't I" is a gorgeous tune that was perfectly arranged and sung. I have little use for "Solitaire" and, IMHO, it probably should have been cut from the record because so much of it was slow and the other slow songs were just better for me.

Ed
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
My point is that by inferring that the tempo dictates calling Solitaire "elevator" music
is simply not relevant--no more so than if I referred to ICDCI as elevator music,
Fair point. We're kinda comparing apples to oranges with these two tunes. Just because they're both slow doesn't mean they should be judged against each other. One is a Pop tune that could have been sped up and the other is a standard that lives in that tempo.

To your point, my issue with "Solitaire" is about tempo but it goes beyond that for me. It's also the way it's arranged. It's a Pop tune that's made to sound older than it is due to Richard's overproduction. He really flexed his production muscles here and he loaded the tune down with too much arranging-wise. Couple that with the slow tempo and, in my opinion, "Solitaire" is a tough listen. I will say that it does exploit Karen's lower range well.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I do like that characterization: "the way it's arranged...made to sound older than it is."
And, I do agree with that sentiment....which only adds to its charm (imho).
Now, couple that with Solitaire being sequenced behind (or, alongside) I Can Dream Can't I---
an older song, brought to the fore on a "pop" album. There is a bit of logic to that sequencing !
Now, to be sure, as we are all aware--the two songs are totally different--basically apples to oranges,
as one is a pop tune with an over-the-top production; the other a masterful standard, arranged as it
would have been in its own time, a "period-piece."
There again, that is where I see a certain brilliance in including both songs on Horizon.
One song is over the horizon, the other is behind the horizon (almost a Now & Then scenario).
Aurora and Eventide.
Ultimately, it is the emotional gravitas of Solitaire that overwhelms me on a personal level,
purely an emotional connection.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Solitaire never should have opened side 2 of Horizon. Terrible choice. Who made these decisions when it came to sequencing?
As I understand it, from looking at various records, a lot of times 33's were sequenced so that the singles were at the outer edge, so that people didn't have to jam the needle down in the middle of the side to hear the single. Plus the outer edge usually gave a better sound than the inner part (both in terms of speed and the amount of dust collected by the needle).
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I became quite curious about the song
I Can Dream Can't I,
listening to the many other versions as found on Y-Tube...

And, one thing for certain stands out,
the version which we find on the album
Horizon
is simply one of the best--if not, The Best--version
to be heard !
I mean, for 1975, indeed all the way to today's date,
this is simply a brilliant execution of a standard.
When folks think of Karen Carpenter, her voice for instance,
not only Solitaire, but, I Can Dream Can't I,
should rank with her absolute best vocal stylings.

A crime, really that it is so seldom anthologized.
It hardly ever appears on compilations.


 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
one thing for certain stands out, the version which we find on the album Horizon is simply one of the best--if not, The Best--version to be heard !
I think the same could be said for other songs they did (or covered). A couple that spring to mind are This Masquerade and A Song For You. Certainly in the case of the latter, I’ve never heard a performance that has bettered Karen’s and she isn’t given nearly enough credit for it.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
It is truly a crime that perhaps the signature song on HORIZON, as far as I'm concerned, is so overlooked, even by fans here. The song has garnered little discussion over the years, and yet it is a sublime look-back at the music stylings of the 40s. Richard himself is quoted as saying that he thinks he was born in the wrong decade.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
It is interesting to see that Karen wears the same outfit
(white shirt/blue jeans) in the Postman Video
as is seen on the back-cover photo of the Horizon LP.
I wonder if the photo sessions for the album were finished
before, or after the video was shot.
There is a big change (in clothing and appearance)
for the Only Yesterday Video.
 

John Tkacik

Active Member
I became quite curious about the song
I Can Dream Can't I,
listening to the many other versions as found on Y-Tube...

And, one thing for certain stands out,
the version which we find on the album
Horizon
is simply one of the best--if not, The Best--version
to be heard !
I mean, for 1975, indeed all the way to today's date,
this is simply a brilliant execution of a standard.
When folks think of Karen Carpenter, her voice for instance,
not only Solitaire, but, I Can Dream Can't I,
should rank with her absolute best vocal stylings.

A crime, really that it is so seldom anthologized.
It hardly ever appears on compilations.

I agree 100%. These two songs are at the top of my favorite Carpenters songs list. Karen was at her zenith with the vocals on them.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I think the same could be said for other songs they did (or covered). A couple that spring to mind are This Masquerade and A Song For You. Certainly in the case of the latter, I’ve never heard a performance that has bettered Karen’s and she isn’t given nearly enough credit for it.
I'm with you on "I Can Dream, Can't I" and "This Masquerade". There are lots of great versions of "A Song For You" and, as great as Carpenters' is, the best of those is Donny Hathaway's. His arrangement is the most copied (the cascading piano line in the intro and elsewhere and his vocal arrangement) and his vocal performance, IMHO, can't be beat by anyone...not even Karen.

Ed
 
Top Bottom