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Official Review Carpenters Royal Philharmonic Review and Comments Thread

How would you rate Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕⁕ (Best)

    Votes: 25 34.7%
  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕

    Votes: 33 45.8%
  • ⁕⁕⁕ (Average)

    Votes: 11 15.3%
  • ⁕⁕

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • ⁕ (Worst)

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • Did not listen to this album yet

    Votes: 1 1.4%

  • Total voters
    72

Tony

Active Member
An interesting observation: The version of "Ticket to Ride" that was pre-released on YouTube is not the same as the one that appears on the album. After hearing the sneak preview version, someone earlier complained that the piano on "Ticket" hadn't been redone and it sounded dated. But it IS redone on the version that I received today and it sounds very fresh and wonderful.
 
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ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
An interesting observation: The version of "Ticket to Ride" that was pre-released on YouTube is not the same as the one that appears on the album. After hearing the sneak preview version, someone earlier complained that the piano on "Ticket" hadn't been redone and it sounded dated. But it IS redone on the version that I received today and it sounds very fresh and wonderful.
Wow! You're right! The version on the album itself sounds so much fuller. I just assumed that when I got the album, I didn't need to bother listening to things I'd already heard so I passed it by. Glad you mentioned it or I wouldn't have gone back to listen to it with the others.

Ed
 

motownboy

Active Member
An interesting observation: The version of "Ticket to Ride" that was pre-released on YouTube is not the same as the one that appears on the album. After hearing the sneak preview version, someone earlier complained that the piano on "Ticket" hadn't been redone and it sounded dated. But it IS redone on the version that I received today and it sounds very fresh and wonderful.
I made that comment on TTR. YES!!..The version on the album has a newly recorded piano and it is WONDERFUL!! I wonder why that advanced version used the old piano?
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Yes, I agree. And "Baby It's You" is a close second for me. I love what he did with that song. But I have to say I'm not at all a fan of the overture. I had really high expectations for it, and the choir just ruined it for me. Otherwise, I'm very happy and will be playing the heck out of this album for a long time to come.
As soon as I heard that chorale I got a feeling of dread, wondering if they were going to pop up all over the place. Thankfully they don't. I don't think they're needed, not even on the overture.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
There are so many nice touches, that they are all hard to illuminate with text. To critique any of it would have to be a critique on the musical style itself, since this is just about as good as this style gets offering the ultimate creation special. Even the orchestral interludes that Richard wrote showcase the craft of creating beautiful melodies. I also appreciate the reviews that focus on their accomplishments that then center in the effort and "labor of love" of this product. Is I Just Fall in Love Again a different vocal take? This arrangement is an example of the Carpenteresque success formula, and actually, they all are as delicate chocolates to the senses. Each song had unique treatment from the one next to it, but yet they all blend and open as a bouquet of flowers that win at an award winning contest. From each newly heard nuisance from Karen to the orchestral treatment led by Richard, I hope everyone feels these award winning songs as personal soulful treasures given to us from people who are at the top of their crafts.
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
I just got done listening this morning. I was going to listen last night to an early release I had been sent, but I suddenly got so tired I had to sleep and be fresh when I finally was ready to hit play. It just felt right to wake up and put this on first thing in the morning. Please be kind in response to what I am about to write, and if you don't get it, it's OK. Just scroll on to the next one.

I was prepared to join the crowd and provide my "expert" analytical and critical analysis of these offerings but I just can't do it. Not only was I prepared to do it, but I was prepared to clamor to be "first." The way this made me feel eclipses any technical or musical "glitches" anyone has perceived. And pointing out the differences in orchestration in these new offerings compared to the originals will not score me any points where it truly matters. I hesitate to express a lot of my feelings as they pertain to Carpenters music because most people just don't understand and treat me like I am crazy. I am confident that here, however, I am among kindred spirits who would appreciate me saying what a few might be feeling along with me at this time. At least I hope.

How do I begin to describe what I have not only heard but seen? Something happened here. Richard was given one more peek, one more glimpse into that higher level that he was so blessed to have attained at such a young age, with the destiny to share a divine vision that is worthy to accompany such a divine voice. The best voice deserves the best accompaniment and the best accompaniment deserves the best voice. They were made for each other and put here to say something, not just to show something. All inspired work eventually has a conclusion, a final revelation designed to tie up the loose ends, sum up the great truths that we have been blessed to see, and finally let us know that everything is going to be OK. It's saying goodbye.

I guess that's the most difficult thing to acknowledge as I sit here, seeing the sky parted and the heavens opened one last time, feeling her here one last time for a little under 70 minutes. I get what Richard meant. I understand so much now. I feel not only his burden, but hers too. I've always felt hers, which has drawn me to her voice my entire life, but I see it clearly now and I am left shattered. Not necessarily in a bad way, I don't think. I honestly don't know in what way at this time, as that will take quite a bit of exploring to determine. A big part of that, no doubt, is a kneejerk reaction to being punched in the gut.

The universal truth, which many realize but few understand, is that great understanding comes through great pain. As much as it kills us to know what she (and he) went through to convey the message with which they were both burdened, to exercise those God-given gifts, it was necessary, otherwise it wouldn't be real. It would be superficial. All great artists suffer to create beautiful, divinely inspired things. It's the price one must pay to touch that higher plane of creativity, and one that many of us have. Richard said in that recent interview (to paraphrase) that the casual listener won't get this, but the fans will see what is happening. This was very much for fellow travelers, and most painfully of all, it is what I and a lot of other people here may not want to accept. Final.

There is one thing that I would urge everyone to do, who feel connected with this offering and are as moved by it as I am. Spread the word. The final thing truly inspired work leaves us with as the message floats back into the ether is the desire to not hide our light under a bushel. I won't be hiding mine anymore and I am hearing new music in my head for the first time in years. For those who don't have their own light, but have art like this as their light, I urge you to not hide this under a bushel either. Don't be ashamed of what you love, of how this makes you feel. I spent many years doing that, years that I lost being miserable and denying who I am.

Or maybe this is all just an emotional overreaction to this long anticipated release. I'll let you decide. :agree:
 

Kyle Thomas

Member
OK, just listened through the entire album for the first time and here are initial thoughts.

Overall: GRATEFUL -- amazing to think that we get such a stellar Carpenters release, especially for those of us who weren't even born yet when they were at the height of their fame. If some of my reactions seem polarizing, it's because of the mix of anticipation, gratitude, and love for the originals.

Overture: I had chill bumps, until the chorale showed up. Yuck. How in the world could it have been seen as a good choice to have any voice other than Karen's open the album?

Hurting Each Other: The interlude that starts it off (with the hints of "Someday") is just gorgeous. The first half of the album, where the songs link together so beautifully, makes this a true listening experience. I love the hard stop.

I Need to Be In Love: I wasn't looking at the track list when I listened on my headphones. I had chills when the song finally kicked off after the beautiful interlude. Karen's voice sounds up front and terrific on this one, and the chorale from the original is actually more in the background. So, very happy with this one!

For All We Know: Another favorite on the album. Beautifully reimagined without moving too far from the original.

Touch Me When We're Dancing and I Believe You were neither changed too much from the originals, but they sound fuller and richer.

I Just Fall in Love Again: The album's second biggest standout IMO, I knew this one would be well done due to the symphonies swelling in the original. I was not disappointed.

Baby It's You: The standout on the album. I had hoped that more songs would get this kind of treatment -- a different kind of take on the original, but with Karen's voice intact and represented in all its beauty. This one was never one of my favorite Carpenters songs, but it may be from now on due to this version.

Close to You, Superstar, and Rainy Days and This Masquerade: all well done, close to the originals but with nice flourishes and fuller orchestration. I enjoyed these new versions.

Goodbye to Love: This is my favorite song in the Carpenters canon, and so it's natural that I'd feel strongly about it. I can't express how much I DESPISE the trumpet showing up oddly before the final guitar solo. It robs that moment of the song of all its drama and gives it a circus-like feel. I enjoyed most of the album, but I don't know that I'll be replaying this one again for fear that I'll hear that trumpet in my mind when I'm listening to the original from now on! :)

Top of the World was very close to the original. We've Only Just Begun would have been stronger without the chorale showing up again to set it up, but once you get past the chorale, it's a beautiful arrangement.

Overall: I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Some beautiful arrangements that make me enjoy the Carpenters more and are a testament to the talents of Richard and the unmistakable and irreplaceable VOICE of Karen.
 

Feadster

New Member
I would not call it an emotional overreaction, I would call it your true feelings for the music. This is an incredible piece of work and like everyone else "I Just Fall in Love Again" and "Baby It's You" are what I would call masterpieces. These two songs showcase Karen's voice so incredibly that it almost left me speechless. The entire volume gets 4.75 stars (out of 5) from me, the only downside would be the chorale on the Overture but I can over look that too.
 

John Tkacik

Active Member
I would not call it an emotional overreaction, I would call it your true feelings for the music. This is an incredible piece of work and like everyone else "I Just Fall in Love Again" and "Baby It's You" are what I would call masterpieces. These two songs showcase Karen's voice so incredibly that it almost left me speechless. The entire volume gets 4.75 stars (out of 5) from me, the only downside would be the chorale on the Overture but I can over look that too.
Yes. Those 2 are in my opinion the standout songs of this collection. Other "Carpenters Chill" numbers are "Hurting Each Other" (love the ending), "Rainy Days & Mondays", "This Masquerade", "Ticket To Ride" (agree with above comments that cd version is better than one released a few weeks ago), and an improvement to "Please Mr. Postman"
 

Must Hear This Album

Well-Known Member
I just said to “Alexa,” this morning, “Alexa, play the new Carpenters album.” Damn, that felt nice to say.

Bravo, Richard!

Things I love about the new album:
  • Karen’s vocals so up-front in the mix. And the surprising times when the famous (and beloved...) stacked background vocals are removed, here and there, and we just hear Karen. Bam!
  • The Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the album for us super fans (e.g., the “Someday” orchestral part on “Hurting Each Other,” alternate vocals, the inclusion of beloved “deep cuts,” etc.).
Thing I do not love about the album: the chorale parts that bookend. When the cheesy vocals first hit during the overture within the first minute of the album, my hand immediately went up to my mouth accompanied by an audible gasp! Richard, we’ve had this conversation before, and I just don’t think we’re getting through... Thankfully, this error in judgement only happens a few times on this otherwise brilliant album. Four and-a-half out of five stars! (Docked half a star for the “OK Chorale”)
 

Tony

Active Member
Thing I do not love about the album: the chorale parts that bookend. When the cheesy vocals first hit during the overture within the first minute of the album, my hand immediately went up to my mouth accompanied by an audible gasp! Richard, we’ve had this conversation before, and I just don’t think we’re getting through... Thankfully, this error in judgement only happens a few times on this otherwise brilliant album. Four and-a-half out of five stars! (Docked half a star for the “OK Chorale”)
I was thinking exactly the same thing: 4.5 stars, the only fault being the chorale.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
When we first heard this new album was coming out, I immediately resigned not to listen to any Carpenters until the new one album came along, so I could get as fresh a perspective as possible. (As if I could forget the original songs....it was a futile effort of course.)

I listened to the new RPO album one time and these are my first impressions.

Does it sound great? Absolutely, probably the best-sounding Carpenters recordings ever. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Karen did new vocals for this set. Her voice sounds THAT good. The fact that these vocals are from recordings made up to 48 years ago is astounding. Herb Alpert said when he played their demo tape, her voice sounded "like she was sitting right next to me." Well, finally, we the average fans can feel what he felt, from listening to the vocals here.

There is a lot to like about the new album -- a lot of what was expected and anticipated by earlier posts here, but there are still a few surprises - some delightful, some less so. As for the new orchestrations.... they were pretty much as I expected. The orchestra sounds magnificent, but doesn't add a ton to what we're familiar with. A lot of nice little touches here and there. I liked what I was hearing, but I wasn't blown out of my seat with wonderment.

There are a LOT of subtle changes in the way the original recordings sound. Things are louder here and softer there. There is more percussion in "Top of the World" (in the verses) than originally. The drums in "Close to You" and "Goodbye to Love" seem to be softer, and in "Yesterday Once More" they seem to be louder. And the reverb on some songs that have been remixed over the years has been dialed WAY back, which is a great change. Some of these observations might be more or less obvious depending on sound system anomalies, so your own mileage may vary. I'm sure a very long list of the changes will be deciphered and analyzed here over the weeks to come.

When this album was coming out, there was some worry that the orchestrations might drown-out Karen's vocals, or shove them into the background too much. Happily, that isn't the case; but I have a feeling that if there are "gripes" among Carpenter-philes, they might concern the fact that the orchestrations sometimes tend to overshadow the backing vocals. Considering that the backgrounds are among my favorite parts of Carpenters songs, that bugged me just a little.

The interludes between the songs were somewhat different from what I was anticipating. I was really expecting seamless transitions, kind of like the ones in the Superstar-Rainy Days-Goodbye to Love trilogy on The Singles 1969-1973. Instead, what's here are mostly preludes or postludes to the songs. This is good from the standpoint of placing these songs into "playlists."

There were just two things I didn't like: The vocal choirs (in the Overture and in the intro to "We've Only Just Begun") left me very cold. I expect anybody who didn't like the "OK Chorale" is really going to dislike those singers. They sound like they were programmed in a computer and they sound out of place. And, I really disliked the piccolo trumpet addition to "Goodbye to Love." The trumpet can be a mournful sounding instrument, but in this particular place it sounds triumphant and joyful, and it just alters the overall mood. It's a nice performance on the instrument for sure, but it's not a good addition to this amazing song. I'd be curious what the original session guys would think of it.

I feel like if I was a person hearing this music for the first time, I'd be marveling at how good this was and really praising the arranger. And it IS really good, and clearly a labor of love. As a long time Carpenters fan, though, I think I will probably always prefer the originals. I wish there was some way to take Karen's now-pristine vocals off of these recordings and graft them onto the originals, and then they'd be closer to perfect in my book.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Are the songs released on YouTube a few weeks back the same mixes as the tracks on iTunes? Is anything different from the iTunes tracks to the physical CD?
 

Graeme

Well-Known Member
And, another review:
Album reviews: The Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
"The Carpenters join forces with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the storied American duo’s 15th album– the first since Richard Carpenter's 2001 project As Time Goes By –using the original vocals of his late sister, Karen, from some of their most iconic songs."
"A version of their 1970 breakthrough hit “They Long to Be (Close to You)” feels wonderfully familiar,
with an added depth thanks to the addition of more violins for the second and third verses.
Goodbye to Love” – the song that helped shift the perception of The Carpenters as squeaky clean American kids
to a band critics felt were worth paying attention to – adds gentle flourishes of orchestration to heighten the emotion of Carpenter’s performance. It would have been nice if they’d scrapped that first electric guitar solo, which reduces the poignancy of the opening, and instead let it build to the much better solo that closes the track."
---
"There have been plenty of “reimagined” albums in 2018, which haven’t always worked.
Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys and Roy Orbison have all had the RPO treatment, to varying effect.
If I Can Dream captured the sweeping, cinematic romance of Presley’s best work then enhanced it; A Brand New Me dumped a load of schmaltz on Franklin classics that were perfect as they were."
---
Fortunately, having Carpenter on board conducting his own arrangements ensures the moments that shone because of their simplicity remain just so, while other sections benefit from a bigger strings section, or the wealth of legendary session musicians (Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums and Earle Dumler on oboe) contributing to the instrumentation. Meanwhile, Karen Carpenter’s voice is as iconic as ever: lush and rich with a wonderful brightness about it. This new album is a wonderful tribute to her – and the band's – legacy."

Source:
www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/6ix9ine-dummy-boy-album-review-stream-jail-sentence-charts-the-carpenters-a8670456.html
This review appeared in today's iPaper. It was the album of the week!
 

Sue

Active Member
If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Karen did new vocals for this set. Her voice sounds THAT good. The fact that these vocals are from recordings made nearly up to 48 years ago is astounding
That’s exactly what I thought when I first listened to the album. She is as much a part of the “newness” of the album as Richard. He must sometimes feel she is there in the studio!
 
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