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Karen in the Lounge

Kyle Thomas

Thread Starter
One of the striking elements often mentioned regarding Karen Carpenter's voice is the clarity and intimacy -- her "presence." It's something that is showcased in a number of their top hits and album cuts. The 'closeness' of her vocal performance, with reverb stripped away and her voice front and center, is what made the RPO project stand out to me.

For a long time now, I've had a playlist on my phone full of Carpenters songs that I call "Karen in the Lounge." It's my imagination of what a concept album would look like if Karen's vocals were taken from a number of well-suited songs and reimagined as if she were in a lounge, with a microphone, singing with just a jazz band backing her up.

No background vocals. No strings. Just a jazz band. Her voice front and center, with a band behind her, and everything else stripped away.

I know it's unlikely we'd ever see a release like that, but here's the playlist of songs that I think would fit that atmosphere well.

1. A Song for You
2. This Masquerade
3. Make Believe It's Your First Time (solo version)
4. From This Moment On
5. Ordinary Fool
6. Our Day Will Come
7. Yesterday Once More (TV version of Karen, with Richard on the piano) / segue into the "Make Your Own Kind of Music" medley of songs with Karen and piano only
8. I Can Dream, Can't I?
9. Something's Missing
10. One More Time
11. Last One Singin' the Blues
12. Sometimes


Well-Known Member
Wonderful concept and selection of songs, Kyle. So many favorites. These are the performances where her great gift was at its best. I'd love to see a release like this happen. I think it would do so well if marketed and presented correctly.
As you said, it would fit nicely to have a simple jazz band accompany her vocal tracks. The public would eat it up.
We can dream, can't we?

Kyle Thomas

Thread Starter
Don't get me wrong -- so many of my favorite Carpenters songs are the ones where the vocals are stacked and where the harmonies are present ("Only Yesterday," "Goodbye to Love," etc.), but this has been a playlist that I've enjoyed for a long time now when I just want to sit back and enjoy Karen's voice, imagining that she'd be in a lounge somewhere like Norah Jones, just exercising her gift.


Great concept Kyle. Youve got a wonderful fantasy playlist! It would truly be a special gift for KAREN fans and lovers of the purist of vocal music. Its unlikely to happen as a CARPENTERS release though. The heavy emphasis on lead vocals stripping away the contributions of orchestrations and lush arrangements would really only feature the talents of the singer. That certainly is not what the CARPENTERS were ever about. The vocalist was just another part of the big picture in the musical painting. It was never suppoesed to be about the stunningly beautiful painted rose. It was expected the rose would blend into the musical masterpiece in the guilded frame. The world would applaud and celebrate the work of the master, not be mesmerized by the rose. This project would do well as a second KAREN solo album, in the hands of a skilled producer with an accomplished piano accompanist. Sadly, either way, its unlikely that album will never be heard.
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