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Karen's Theme

Proudofyou

Active Member
Thread Starter
Have we/you ever discussed this gem? It's one of the few instrumentals I can actually write my own lyrics to (but too shy to share). Anyway, gorgeous, moving piece.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Back when Richard Carpenter second solo CD came out, Elder - Beerman where I work when I was folding towels used to play that song on the speakers!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I never really found “Karen’s Theme” to be all that great. It’s rather dark and depressing. Really the opposite of what I think of Karen Carpenter. I even recall wondering why it was included on the “Carpenters Perform Carpenter” compilation when better tributes by Richard, like “When Time Was All We Had” or “Calling Your Name Again”, or even “Time” could’ve been included.
 

Dano

New Member
I believe that Richard went and completed Karen’s Theme for his second solo album. It was a shorter piece used in the TV movie. My personal thoughts of why it was included in the compilation are:

Richard’s solo album sadly didn’t sell as well as it should. (Really wish it had)

The track had never been included in a compilation release.

The compilation tracks were either written by or performed by one of the Carpenter duo.

It was a bookend to finish the album. Something they did with many of their releases.

I am with you that the tracks you listed are all equally tribute based from Richard to Karen. Richard sadly felt for some reason his lead vocal/or solo tracks are not in favour. I respectfully disagree as I love his voice and singing style. I wish he had sung more. I think Time was a solid effort and wished he had done further albums with lead vocals.

I especially love his lead vocals on the second Carpenters Christmas album. I feel due to poor sales of his solo efforts, we were robbed so much of Richard’s talents throughout the years. (Except for the Carpenter albums/compilations he oversaw)

I hope in future releases he may put some of his solo leads into a compilation. He was recently on TV and titled as singer Richard Carpenter...yep they got it right!
 
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Jarred

Well-Known Member
I never really found “Karen’s Theme” to be all that great. It’s rather dark and depressing. Really the opposite of what I think of Karen Carpenter. I even recall wondering why it was included on the “Carpenters Perform Carpenter” compilation when better tributes by Richard, like “When Time Was All We Had” or “Calling Your Name Again”, or even “Time” could’ve been included.
I don't think it's supposed to encapsulate her so much as mourn the loss of her life, her vibrancy. It's such a beautiful piece and always makes me tear up, especially once I put joyful clips of Karen with the song in a video. It's gorgeous, warm, wistful, reflective, and at the end there's a swell of optimism - I would say all describe Karen perfectly.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I don't think it's supposed to encapsulate her so much as mourn the loss of her life, her vibrancy. It's such a beautiful piece and always makes me tear up, especially once I put joyful clips of Karen with the song in a video. It's gorgeous, warm, wistful, reflective, and at the end there's a swell of optimism - I would say all describe Karen perfectly.
I think “Calling Your Name Again” or “When Time Was All We Had” Do that a lot better than “Karen’s Theme”. “Karen’s Theme” reminds me of the organ music they play at funeral homes.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I think “Calling Your Name Again” or “When Time Was All We Had” Do that a lot better than “Karen’s Theme”. “Karen’s Theme” reminds me of the organ music they play at funeral homes.
WTWAWH is a beautiful little piece too (the only worthwhile song at all on Time), but somehow the absence of a voice on Karen's Theme is more powerful. A voice is no longer here and all we have is music and memories to try and fill the painful void of her being missing.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
WTWAWH is a beautiful little piece too (the only worthwhile song at all on Time), but somehow the absence of a voice on Karen's Theme is more powerful. A voice is no longer here and all we have is music and memories to try and fill the painful void of her being missing.
Sorry, but Karen’s Theme really should’ve just been left as background music. I think it did an injustice to her memory.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I am listening to the Richard Carpenter: Pianist, Arranger, Composer, Conductor.
Not only is Karen's Theme a fine conclusion to this album, the song
certainly "fits" the description of pianist, arranger, composer and conductor.....
as all of those things were accomplished with the instrumental "Karen's Theme."
Again, view the song as a "piece" of an entire ALBUM,
and, it FITS. (and, yes, the song was specifically finished for this album,
an album which had been requested by A&M Japan, upon success of The 22-Hits cd).
By the way, I enjoy this album.
It is soothing.
 

Proudofyou

Active Member
Thread Starter
I think it's a stunning work. Sometimes I try and write lyrics to it. But then I just stop and listen.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
That was a promo-disc only made in and for Japan.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
Sorry, but Karen’s Theme really should’ve just been left as background music. I think it did an injustice to her memory.
I'm not sure it was necessarily meant to convey a picture of who Karen was. In all honesty, I can't think of too many songs sans lyrics that convey a more poignant heartache and heartbreak over the loss of someone as monumental and significant as Karen.

Richard doesn't always communicate well with words I've learned over the years. But he's one HELLUVA marvelous communicator with music. This song and arrangement I believe was meant to communicate the extent and depth of his loss and the loss the whole world experienced when Karen passed away.

I doubt I would have ever been able to communicate it better myself. Just stunning.
 
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Geographer

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure it was necessarily meant to convey a picture of who Karen was. In all honesty, I can't think of too many songs sans lyrics that convey a more poignant heartache and heartbreak over the loss of someone as monumental and significant as Karen.

Richard doesn't always communicate well with words I've learned over the years. But he's one HELLUVA marvelous communicator with music. This song and arrangement I believe was meant to communicate the extent and depth of his loss and the loss the whole world experienced when Karen passed away.

I doubt I would have ever been able to say it better myself. Just stunning.
I completely agree with this assessment.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure it was necessarily meant to convey a picture of who Karen was. In all honesty, I can't think of too many songs sans lyrics that convey a more poignant heartache and heartbreak over the loss of someone as monumental and significant as Karen.

Richard doesn't always communicate well with words I've learned over the years. But he's one HELLUVA marvelous communicator with music. This song and arrangement I believe was meant to communicate the extent and depth of his loss and the loss the whole world experienced when Karen passed away.

I doubt I would have ever been able to say it better myself. Just stunning.
Sorry, I disagree. I don’t know what Richard was trying to say with this song, but whatever it was, he was way out in the parking lot when he was trying to hit the baseball that the pitcher threw. I always skip this gloomy, broody song, and I think he did a better memorial with “When Time Was All We Had”.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
Sorry, I disagree. I don’t know what Richard was trying to say with this song, but whatever it was, he was way out in the parking lot when he was trying to hit the baseball that the pitcher threw. I always skip this gloomy, broody song, and I think he did a better memorial with “When Time Was All We Had”.
All good my friend and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. This one reduces me to tears every time I hear it (I intentionally avoid it for that very reason) and I'm not an easy nut to crack usually. :)
 

Greg

Member
I love 'Karen's Theme' - to me its a beauitful and heartfelt piece of music full of deep pain and regret.

Like Karen, my own best friend died last year also at 32 years old - and there is just something inherently tragic in the loss of someone so young, regardless of what other huge and brilliant qualities they may have possessed, and I suppose that tragedy and it's pains often does colour some of the perceptions you carry of them and their life.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
All good my friend and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. This one reduces me to tears every time I hear it (I intentionally avoid it for that very reason) and I'm not an easy nut to crack usually. :)
It has the exact same effect on me. It’s heartbreaking and it makes Karen’s loss so vivid in just a few wordless minutes; the voice is gone but the music carries on. I made a montage a while back or video footage of her with this track and it was tough to make and watch.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I personally like 'Karen's Theme' very much. It flows from one 'mood' to another and musically expresses Karen's many complexities. At least, that's how I hear it.

That being said, the one segment of music that REALLY hits me is the piano coda from 'Look To Your Dreams'. Hearing it is still like a musical dagger through the heart. Such a sad conclusion to the album, but it was probably the only way to end it properly.
 
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