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Official Review [Album]: "NOW & THEN" (SP-3519)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 18.2%
  • ****

    Votes: 44 57.1%
  • ***

    Votes: 18 23.4%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    77

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
"The show was too much of a pot-pourri to be rated unforgettable"

This type of criticism must have been frustrating for them - if they'd sung their catalogue of love songs for two hours, critics would have accused them of being bland and boring. I'm not sure what else they could have tried when updating their show, but I know one thing for sure: the Spike Jones and City Slickers routine would have been completely lost on British audiences.
It was probably lost in most American audiences, too. Guess they had to replace Cinderella RockAFella with something similar?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
While contemplating the issue of Album Covers (and marketing of the albums):
Richard Carpenter writes of his dislike of the Close To You
Album Cover. I cringe at the Now & Then cover
(I will not touch the 'inside' artwork/illustration).
So, I can forgive the apparent rush-job for
getting the Close To You cover photographs.
But, as for Now & Then, 1973, and their-now-worldwide following ,
this album cover is terrible (imho).

Read more:
The Carpenter’s Now & Then
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I was re-reading my first posting (#17,from 2014) in this thread.
Interesting that I referred to the album as "superb."
Well, here we are--2018--has my opinion of this album changed ?
Well, I do note that, in general, Medleys have worn thin with me.
But--I agree with Jeff (in his earlier post, #3)--the production of this
N & T Medley seems better than the earlier Bacharach-David Medley.

What else ?
I am still a fan of Sing (the children's choir is a delight).
As nice as Heather is, I feel still a waste putting it into a Carpenters' album (imho),
especially in 1973, with Karen's voice so incredibly rich.

As a trifold LP, none of the artwork appeals to me---
I don't recall ever caring for the album's artwork.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
It is a nice medley. The best version is this one, either on this CD or the Remstered Classics version. The remixes don’t mix well with me as some of the backing vocals sound as if they don’t exist and others are too soft in the mix.
I was wondering, however, if any of the Live versions of the 50-60 tunes that are not on Now and Then were ever studio recorded?
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Record Mirror (UK music magazine)
By all accounts of this article, this UK music critic really disliked the Carpenters and pretty harsh to Karen on her looks, I guess this is what they endured back then.

Close To The Carpenters
March 02, 1974


"Karen's got rather big hips you know or perhaps it was just the style of her clothing..."

Snarky. I wonder if this is the article that pushed her over the edge? You just know they read everything. An insensitive comment like this would cut Karen to the quick.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Here is a somewhat good review but how can this reviewer say that Yesterday Once More was the stupidest song of the year? huh, No way!!
It also seems like the reviewer did not like that they fired Jack Daugherty.

Now And Then
High Fidelity Review Oct 1973

 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^It certainly is strange--that for a fellow who supposedly did so little in the manner of "production,"
that the differences between this 'first-credited-produced' Richard Carpenter LP is worlds
away from A Song For You, or Close To You, or Offering LP's....
And, those differences get amplified with each successive album.

Back to the review above,
how can I take that reviewer seriously when he writes
"Karen is most convincing on....Jambalaya..." Are you kidding me ?
Her performance of I Can't Make music is the most convincing, heart-wrenching.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
^^
Back to the review above,
how can I take that reviewer seriously when he writes
"Karen is most convincing on....Jambalaya..." Are you kidding me ?
Her performance of I Can't Make music is the most convincing, heart-wrenching.
Exactly my feelings. It’s almost like these reviewers didn’t really listen to the songs but rather clips of these songs and they want to put a dig into their music. The only place I know that got great reviews of Jambalaya was Japan.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
^^It certainly is strange--that for a fellow who supposedly did so little in the manner of "production,"
that the differences between this 'first-credited-produced' Richard Carpenter LP is worlds
away from A Song For You, or Close To You, or Offering LP's....
And, those differences get amplified with each successive album.

Back to the review above,
how can I take that reviewer seriously when he writes
"Karen is most convincing on....Jambalaya..." Are you kidding me ?
Her performance of I Can't Make music is the most convincing, heart-wrenching.
It's strange that the reviewer homes in on some of the problems with the album as he sees it being down to Richard assuming full control over the production on Now and Then. It's hard to say if the reviewer knew more about what was going on with the production than we do now or whether it was just pure supposition.

I agree with the reviewer about the album sleeve though. The tri-gatefold was a nice idea, but why on earth are Karen and Richard barely visible in the car (and why is Karen's face is cut in half by the window frame)? Don't even get started on those awful paintings of them on the flip of the sleeve...

Strangely, I also agree with this reviewer about 'Yesterday Once More' - I've never liked this song and I think it's down to the dissonance between the rather silly lyrics in the chorus and the overly mournful arrangement/Karen's vocals, which treat it as if it's another 'Superstar' or 'Rainy Days and Mondays'. Granted, nostalgia can be a heavy subject matter in some respects ('The Way We Were' captures that element perfectly), but the elements in 'Yesterday Once More' just don't gel for me. It's like someone getting all teary and emotional nowadays listening listening to 'Muskrat Love' or 'Kung-Fu Fighting'.

That said, 'This Masquerade' and 'I Can't Make Music' are both jewels of recordings, and those background vocals on 'Johnny Angel'...
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I also agree with this reviewer about 'Yesterday Once More' - I've never liked this song and I think it's down to the dissonance between the rather silly lyrics in the chorus and the overly mournful arrangement/Karen's vocals
Karen’s doleful, mournful interpretation is the best thing about the song. Her voice is full of yearning for times gone by and evokes a feeling of nostalgia which perfectly sums up the theme of the song.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Yesterday Once More is the song that caused me to fall in love with the Carpenters. I’ll never forget how it captivated my entire being. It’s one of the reasons I like the Complete Singles collection, for I can feel the first time I played the 45rpm single when I listen to it.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I fail to understand how a big Carpenters fan doesn't like YOM. It's one of their brightest gems and a glorious piece of pop that breathes with such a golden-brown, shaded human yearning. Karen's innate melancholy was made to bring it to life.
 

Kaisu

Member
The first couple of times when I heard Yesterday Once More I just sobbed. It (or should I say, how Karen is singing the lyrics) really moved something in me.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I fail to understand how a big Carpenters fan doesn't like YOM. It's one of their brightest gems and a glorious piece of pop that breathes with such a golden-brown, shaded human yearning. Karen's innate melancholy was made to bring it to life.
What can I say? I realise it's not an opinion shared by many others, but there it is. Funnily enough, years ago I was never that struck by 'Goodbye to Love' either - now I absolutely love it, but for whatever reason, I still don't care at all for 'Yesteday Once More'. To me, the lyrics, the melody and the delivery just don't gel.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Funnily enough, years ago I was never that struck by 'Goodbye to Love' either
I felt the same about this song the first time I heard it and my opinion hasn’t changed over the years. It’s one of their hits that I never listen to and never include on compilations.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I find it utterly fascinating to read of other fans' viewpoints of Carpenters' songs !
The first time I ever heard Goodbye To Love, I was quite fascinated with the song.
As I grew older, I loved it even more....and, still believe it to be an utterly incredible
song !
But, to each his/her own....still interesting to read other reactions to these songs.....
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I felt the same about this song the first time I heard it and my opinion hasn’t changed over the years. It’s one of their hits that I never listen to and never include on compilations.
I like the part from the bridge to the end...what lies in the future is a mystery to us all....And, I enjoy the live version best. But, it’s my least favorite hit single. So, I understand that we have varied taste, but I still listen occasionally.

I enjoy all of Now and Then, but always skip over Heather for it reminds me of the Geritol commercial, even though I’m on the other side of life now, probably needing some.
 

Kaisu

Member
Well, if it's good for your health... Should you take it? Probably not! When I was in Torun (Poland) last year I found out there was a water fountain show called Cosmopolis Fountain. The music plays along as the water rises and slides down and changes color. It might sound kitchy, but was actually fun to look at. At the time I was listening Now and Then alot and thought Heather would fit well with that kind of show.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
For my part, I should hate “Sing”. I don’t though. It’s like Richard and Karen decided to take a tune we should all hate and add in so much ear candy that we wouldn’t hate it. The vocal arrangement is spot on. After the kids do half of the second verse, Richard continues to use them as the top part of the harmony with Karen and him. Deft work. Karen’s lead is so good that we’re forced to at least like it. Richard was no stranger to doing this and I hate him for it...LOL! He did it in “Yesterday Once More” too. The lyrics in the chorus are completely cloying but Richard gets us there in style (as they melt the years away).

This Masquerade is Carpenters fusion. Love it and Karen’s vocal. Best of all is Richard’s piano solo, the flute solo, and the backgrounds we get during it. Gorgeous work.

The rest of the record? Don’t really need it, honestly. I, like others, wish the album was fleshed our with more full songs but I get why I couldn’t be.

Ed
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
really need it, honestly. I, like others, wish the album was fleshed our with more full songs but I get why I couldn’t be.
I disagree that the rest of the album is a wash (ICMM is one of Karen's best and there's other small gems) and while I like the medley I would have deff preferred full songs there. Sing is brought to life in a way that for anyone else would have been muck. Karen's lead is so chilling and so plaintive (her likely conscious choice to not make her vocal more sprightly, instead of a contrast to the words, makes the track beautifully unsentimental) that it's like she's quietly communicating that under the surface of supposed joy is something shaded and troublesome and that simply singing won't always do the trick.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I’ve never been a big fan of the album to be honest. It’s got a couple of gems but the rest I never listen to. The oldies medley wore thin with me really quickly.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I'm squarely situated between Newvillefan and The FunkyFakeTation !
I'm hardly a Medley fan, wishing for complete songs, instead.
I Can't Make Music is great, imho.
Sing....simply brilliant, for such an 'easy' piece of ear-candy.
Although This Masquerade has me sold via Karen's lead,
the flute rally wears thin with me; Piano and drums, perfect (imho).

So, still a mixed bag of an album for my tastes.
For 1973, this point in time ,they really should have done better for an album.
 
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