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"If I Were A Carpenter"

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Funny !
That might have been my words at the time I purchased that cd--If I Were A Carpenter--
But, considering how much marketing went before the public that year, with
MTV actually showing Sonic Youth's Superstar in rotation (an excellent video, IMHO)
magazines and newspapers providing reasonable coverage of the event,
I'll take it !

At least it is an attempt.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
From MTVNews & Westwood One Radio Network from 1994: "Hi i'm Kurt Loder with MTVNews The Cranberries do The Carpenters, will tell you about it in just a moment"! At the end, "I'm Kurt Loder for the Westwood One Radio Network, you can hear all of this & much more every Friday night on The Week In Rock here on MTV, you're # 1 news source for information". Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Forgot to write every Friday night (at 7:30) on The Week In Rock!! (Well it was back in 1994 of course)!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Thread Starter
Transcript from NPR Interview 2009:

Q: So, do you know the Sonic Youth version (sic. Superstar) which was also referred to in the movie "Juno?"
A:Richard Carpenter "Yes I do."

Gross: What'd you think of it?
Mr. Carpenter:" I don't like it."

Gross: Why don't you like it?
Mr. Carpenter: " Why would I like it?'

Source:
Not Found
I think he was dead wrong. It's brilliant. I love what Sonic Youth did with it and think it's the most interesting thing on the album. Rather than being reverential, Sonic Youth didn't care and truly did it their way. They really brought out "stalker"-ish elements in the lyric that I didn't even hear. It couldn't have been any darker and I love that Sonic Youth took it there.

Ed
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
I think he was dead wrong. It's brilliant. I love what Sonic Youth did with it and think it's the most interesting thing on the album. Rather than being reverential, Sonic Youth didn't care and truly did it their way. They really brought out "stalker"-ish elements in the lyric that I didn't even hear. It couldn't have been any darker and I love that Sonic Youth took it there.

Ed
Stalker-ish! I hadn't considered that. But now that you've mentioned it, I can see that it's true.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
For me, the fact that Dishwalla's
It's Going To Take Some Time
impressed me,and still does! as Carpenters' version never could--
was evidence that some of these songs were done seriously.
Hurting Each Other...I like that one, Johnette Napolitano follows Carpenters' version (in its own way).

Still, a few still do not work for me:
Cranberries' Close To You,
Sheryl Crow's Solitaire and Cracker's Rainy Days And Mondays.

Still, it was an honest effort to present Carpenters in a fresh light--in 1994.
And, as a later press release stated, it gave birth to Interpretations (1995),
and Karen's solo LP being released (1996).

So, no matter how this tribute album pans out--it precipitated later Carpenters' releases !
That's good enough for me.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
Still, it was an honest effort to present Carpenters in a fresh light. And it gave birth to Interpretations (1995), and Karen's solo LP being released (1996). So, no matter how this tribute album pans out--it precipitated later Carpenters' releases ! That's good enough for me.
I haven't listened to 'If I Were a Carpenter' for many years, and actually can't call to mind most of the performances on it. The only ones that I can 'hear' in my head are Sonic Youth's 'Superstar', Redd Kross' 'Yesterday Once More' and Shonen Knife's 'Top of the World'. So, for me, although some of the reinterpretations have merit, most are forgettable, whereas the originals aren't.

I think fans have a lot to be grateful towards Richard for, as he clearly acted in their interest and against his better judgement when he released 'Karen Carpenter'.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
The solo album presents Karen Carpenter in a new light. Funny how easy it is to be a critic. I'd love to hear what some could do with their resources. I applaud Karen for making the effort. Richard was out of commission. In 79 and 80 at least Karen was attempting to stay relevant. Keeping her voice in the mix. Kudos to Karen Carpenter for a leap of faith and her gift to the world.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Don't neglect the historiography aspects of
If I Were A Carpenter,
This was the early 1990's...except for the highly-rated CBS-movie, and From The Top,
where was Carpenters' music getting exposure (not 'life of' but 'music of') ?

Lovelines
did not burn up the Charts--even given the TV-Movie ratings ! Hardly any promotion !
And, when it was scarcely mentioned--the highlights were Karen's solo songs......

If I Were A Carpenter
received a lot of press at the time.....I have the clippings to prove it...
The 'rockers' on that album were fairly representative of the- then-current crop of artists
(and, also the one's who weren't on it and wanted to be : Smashing Pumpkins)
and, the project was as much of a departure for them as it was for Carpenters fans !

Until recently I had not given the cd a spin--
at the very least it is interesting,
at points it is inspired (Dishwalla/Sonic Youth)
falls flat at a few junctures....
gee,
I could be describing critics' views of Carpenters' albums throughout the years.....
so, do not dismiss it so easily....
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Nice tribute album; and I'll take it at that. The best cut of the album (IMHO) was Matthew Sweet's rendition of Let Me Be The One. Shonen Knife's Top Of The World was catchy, and The Cranberries did a nice job with Close To You. Sonic Youth on Superstar is not my cup of tea, but you've got to admire the dramatic spin they put on it. It was good enough to make the soundtrack of the movie Juno. I do not remember this album back in 1994, I only recently listened to it via YouTube. I believe this recording was a big positive for the legacy of the duo. I see no disrespect at all from the participating artists. I believe the whole project was a labor of love. And if it brought a new generation to the timeless beauty of The Carpenters music, all the better...
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The album wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for the Carpenters and given that most of it is absolute drivel, I've never given it more than a second listen. And that was more than 20 years ago.

The cutesie-pie cartoon cover of them sitting together was a nice touch though. Better than the cover for Made In America :laugh:
 
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Brian

Well-Known Member
Funny how easy it is to be a critic. I'd love to hear what some could do with their resources.
It's only natural for any individual to like some things and not others; in this case, some areas of Carpenters' output and not others. The site would probably get a bit boring if we were all gushing over every aspect of Karen and Richard's music. I, personally, like some elements of Karen's album - the production, many of the arrangements, the musicianship of the band, Karen's background vocals, SECTIONS of her lead vocals - and don't particularly like other elements - the overall sound of her lead vocals, what I see as a mis-match between material and what Karen could successfully pull off at the time and the apparent pitch at the 'sex-will-sell-this' goal.
By the way, I'm never likely to produce a critically-acclaimed album, so don't hold your breath. :).
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
There are the obsessive completists and the casual listener. Die hards from 69 and 70 buying 1st releases along the way will understand.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^In 1994, I grabbed it, I listened.
I did not like.
As time went by, my views changed quite a bit.
Yes, there are some bombs here. I still say Dishwalla's interpretation is incredible.
Can you imagine if the Tribute album had been of a more-Carpenter-esque ilk ?
It would be compared--and, bashed, with the incomparable voice of Karen Carpenter.
At least, that's a comparison I do not have to make on If I Were A Carpenter !
Note, too, the arrangements on the album fall in line--in so many ways--
with Richard Carpenter's arrangements.
Listen, and see if you can spot his influences on these artists.
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
I humbly present my revised lyrics to "If I Were a Carpenter."

If I were a Carpenter
And I could sing beautifully
Would you hear me every day?
Would you cheer me dutifully?

If I compose and arrange by trade
Would you still cherish me?
Mesmerized by medleys I’ve made
Listening so closely

Hear my songs of loneliness
Hear my songs of sorrow
I've given you my expressiveness
Hear them all tomorrow

If I make you cry
And make you smile with glee
While performing my repertoire
Would you applaud for me?

If I were a superstar
And you bought my catalogue?
Would you come to the Corner?
And continue this dialogue?

If I were a Carpenter
And I could sing beautifully
Would you hear me every day?
Would you cheer me dutifully?

Would you hear me every day?
Would you cheer me dutifully?
 
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Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
If I Were a Carpenter did receive good reviews in many quarters, particularly for the tribute-album genre. Here are just a few examples:

The Houston Press included it on their "20 Best Tribute Albums of All Time" (The 20 Best Tribute Albums Of All Time ).

Flavorwire included it on their list of "10 Tribute Albums That Are Actually Worth Your Time" (10 Tribute Albums That Are Actually Worth Your Time ).

Stereogum produced a list of "Various Artists: A Tribute to '90s Tribute Albums" (Various Artists: A Tribute To ’90s Tribute Albums ).
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Everyone has their opinion...in the article below the Dishwalla track is trashed,
while the Redd Kross track is elevated in status !
(Completely opposite to my opinion)

Excerpts:
"They (Carpenters) made songs and records of a far more lasting quality.
That, in part, is what 'If I Were a Carpenter' set out to prove.
(Well, that and a certain bit of "it's so uncool, it's cool" hipster aesthetic mixed in.)"
---
"A promotional campaign at the time proclaimed "The Carpenters Are Cool!"
And while there are certainly many forgettable moments on the album (Dishwalla?),
there are many stellar moments too, including Redd Kross' transformation of 'Yesterday Once More'....."

More:
Under Cover: Sonic Youth Pay Loving Tribute to the Carpenters
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
John Bettis:
"... who teamed with Richard Carpenter to write such hits as "Goodbye to Love" and "Yesterday Once More,"
said that what Moore and others hear in the music was real."
" The dark side, the melancholia, was as real as they feel it was.
They're responding to the emotional truth, not the image, which is what I always wanted."

More:
Trust Us, This Is Real : Fourteen alternative-rock groups have recorded versions of their favorite Carpenters songs. : Is this a joke? Not to them. The dark side of the Carpenters' American Dream isn't joke material.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
September 11,1994......
The LA Times has some interesting things to say--or, rather, Paul Grein:
Trust Us, This Is Real : Fourteen alternative-rock groups have recorded versions of their favorite Carpenters songs. : Is this a joke? Not to them. The dark side of the Carpenters' American Dream isn't joke material.

Excerpts:
(1) "When Karen Carpenter died on Feb. 4, 1983, many pop fans
hadn't given the Carpenters much thought in years.
The duo's last album, in 1981, and last TV special, in 1980, had both bombed."

(2) "Karen's death drew heavy coverage, in part because it was so unexpected and she was so young.
But an album of previously unreleased material released later that year met with only modest success.
When producer Dick Clark included a brief tribute to Karen on his American Music Awards program in January, 1984, it was like remembering someone from another era."

(3) "An important step in the reappraisal of the Carpenters came in 1987,
when Todd Haynes, an avant-garde New York filmmaker, made the dark and unsettling "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story." The critically lauded film showed sympathy for Karen as a person and respect for her as an artist."
 
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