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Karen's Overwhelming Vocal Versatility and Almost Intimidating Emotional Intelligence

The OED Loves Me Not

Member
Thread Starter
Sorry about my lengthy thread title. I just wanted to put enough information in it to give you the idea at a glance. Although I'm almost an absolute beginner when it comes to appreciating (and celebrating) Karen's music, personality, and life, I think I already know how vocally versatile she is and how amazingly she can empathize with the feelings embedded in just about any song she happens to sing.

Randy L. Schmidt's outstanding biography Little Girl Blue describes how Karen managed to do anything at all, imitating anybody and anything at all, with her voice. As a college student, she would often imitate a hare-lipped singer to amuse her classmates, thereby greatly impressing her professor Frank Pooler. (Here, I know that by today's standards it is probably politically incorrect to do any such thing. But in those days most people must have been ignorant of how cruel it might have been for such people with disabilities.)

I distinctly remember Karen say "Why not?!" in a very loud but unbearably adorable voice in a TV performance in response to Richard's mention of "why can't girls play drums?" or something along those lines. I've seen or heard the footage 100 times or so already, and each time I hear her, I can't help but laugh, sometimes with tears in my eyes. With just two words uttered, she could do just about anything.

As for her song performances, I feel totally amazed at her vocal versatility (which probably comes from her outstandingly high emotional intelligence) particularly when listening to the following songs:

(a) I Can Dream, Can't I? (which magically evokes a dream world)
(b) Boat to Sail (which eloquently makes you actually feel the gentle waves and ripples rolling your yacht in the quiet night)
(c) Please Mr. Postman (which, of course, makes you cry for joy with her outstandingly delightful youthful voice)
(d) Now (which, accompanied with a minimalist melody, tells everything and makes you just weep and weep)
(e) Ave Maria (which totally shuts you up, mesmerizing you).

And what else? Many others. Yes, anything and everything she says or sings stuns you with her genius, doesn't it? Her talent is so fascinating it feels almost terrifying and intimidating.
 

cam89

Active Member
For me, I Can't Make Music was a gem....out of the great songs she recorded then, Yesterday Once More, Johnny Angel, This Masquerade....I Can't Make Music is sooo powerful, elegant, understated and beautiful...

Don't Cry For Me Argentina is another underrated gem...

Maybe It's You (always reminds me of the cover of the CLOSE TO YOU album where Karen and Richard look youthful and elegant in their outfits with the beach and waves behind them....rising on the shore, they ocean came...)

There were so many....and albums nowadays for collections could be GEMS, DIAMONDS, COUNTRY etc....
 

The OED Loves Me Not

Member
Thread Starter
Among the songs cam89 listed, I love "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "This Masquerade" most.

When listening to "Argentina," every time she comes to the point around the middle of the song where she sings the phrase identical with the song title, I can't help but well up. She's not belting there. She doesn't even seem to be expressing her feeling dramatically as most other singers seem to do in such cases. Karen just seems to be singing the phrase as if casually and matter-of-factly. But still, very effortlessly she makes me weep.

As for "Masquerade," wow, I personally think the song is very rich in content. The lyricist expresses what the protagonist would be feeling about their relationship after decades of intense love, heartbreak, and resignation. And Karen, despite her tender age, seems as if she already knew what the poet in the song must be thinking and feeling. I also savor her subtle, emotive drumming for the song.
 

cam89

Active Member
Country Album...
1) Top of the World
2) Jambalaya
3) Sweet Sweet Smile
4) Goofus
5) Those Good Old Dreams
6) When It's Gone
7) Reason to Believe
8) Two Lives
9) Two Sides

I am sure there might be a few more that could manage to fit into the Country Album....
 

The OED Loves Me Not

Member
Thread Starter
Hmm, a "country album." Yes, the Carpenter siblings have once considered making one themselves, haven't they? Then Jerry Moss suggested that they should concentrate on making a hit pop album (Randy L. Schmidt, Little Girl Blue, p. 174). I wish Jerry would have reconsidered it a little bit, allowing them to have a good time making an album dedicated to country music.

On a separate note, I said in my original post that one of Karen's songs that proves her outstanding vocal versatility is Boat to Sail. Every time I listen to it, I simply get flabbergasted at how she can manage to sing the notes in exactly the way that evokes the subtle gentle movement of the ripples and waves. I mean, she trembles her voice subtly and agreeably in such a manner that makes you almost physically "feel" the ripples and waves -- and in the quiet night at that. I mean, she actually "becomes" and "lives" the ripples, doesn't she?
 

cam89

Active Member
I always wonder if Karen ever meet the Legendary Country Queen Dottie West....or even the other Country Queen Loretta Lynn...I always wonder if someone like Juice Newton who wrote Sweet Sweet Smile...when an album say, sold 300,000 copies....how much would she get for royalties as opposed to an album selling 500,000 or 1,000,000 copies....I've always wondered about that...
 

I_Have_You

New Member
I remember when I first bought YOM as a 17-year-old in 1989. I listened to Johnny Angel and Our Day Will Come over and over and would try to sing it just like her. Her vocals were definitely overwhelming, almost too perfect to listen to. Listening to the music made me want to learn more about her as an entertainer. I searched for everything I could find. Not the collectables so much but videos, footage, books. I remember hearing her speaking voice for the first time. I agree she was an all-around fascinating and mesmerizing entertainer.
 

cam89

Active Member
I became a fan in about May 1988, I was 15....and in Grade 9....and discovered her thru a photo of her recording her solo album, the "AE" shirt and she cradled two men's chins in her hands...producer Phil Ramone and a blonde guy.....she was not smiling and she looked old and skeletal....and it said Singer Karen Carpenter died of a Heart Attack in 1983 due to a battle with Anorexia Nervosa....I brought the book home to mom to show her and she gasped and told me to take it away....I asked who she was....Mom said, we have her 8-Track....so I flipped thru but could not find it so Mom found it and it was a brown album with The Singles written on it with Carpenters logo...and on the back was a tiny photo of two guys in black and white wearing bell bottoms....so I put it in our stereo and was BLOWN away by the music...gorgeous voice, harmonies....everything magical...and I remembered these songs Yesterday Once More, Sing, Close To You.....then I tried to find anything I could on them...getting the new twin tape The Singles 69-73 with The Singles 74-78 on cassette and hearing it crisply and fresh sounding....and then listening at the library to Made In America (and thinking she was Latino and the wife of Richard....go figure!!) as there was not a lot of info on them....also Voice of the Heart and A Kind of Hush and then buying my first LP in Sept 1988, CLOSE TO YOU....and buying on cassette for $3.99 the NOW AND THEN cassette.....during the fall of 1988 the REMINSICING (greatest hits) album was on TV commercials and I actually got to see what they looked like and some mini video clips....
 
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