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Kristopher

Active Member
I'm excited to hear this. I appreciate any effort to bring Karen greater recognition. I know she has millions of adoring fans all over the world, but somehow I still feel Karen hasn't gotten the recognition she deserves. I'm not sure these feelings are justified, and I don't know what level of recognition would satisfy me, but I just can't shake this feeling.

I feel that’s more true with Richard if you think about it.. but still agree with you
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Most definitely! I think he has more recognition among his individual peers than he does industry-wide.

Part of the issue here though is that Richard never went on to use his talents after Karen's passing to any great degree. As a result, his legacy is inextricably tied to that of the Carpenters as a group, so in that sense, his 'creative' output largely stopped in the early 1980s. And even though critics have increasingly come round to recognise his talents, even then, when they do that, they're generally, focusing on the 1970-1975 era.

As that was a long time ago now, it's perhaps not surprising that he isn't given more recognition, particularly in the US, where the Carpenters' legacy seems to remain rather overlooked outside of the Christmas season. If they were played more on the radio like they are in the UK, perhaps things might be different, but I suspect out of sight (or earshot in this case) largely results in being out of mind.
 

Malu Makana

The Fidler Angel
Part of the issue here though is that Richard never went on to use his talents after Karen's passing to any great degree. As a result, his legacy is inextricably tied to that of the Carpenters as a group, so in that sense, his 'creative' output largely stopped in the early 1980s. And even though critics have increasingly come round to recognise his talents, even then, when they do that, they're generally, focusing on the 1970-1975 era.
I've ruminated about this for some time. Perhaps he just didn't find it fun anymore. For someone who was so driven as he was not to continue, to look for a niche to sell records, just makes believe his heart just wasn't in it. So we lost not only Karen, but, Richards considerable talents. He probably just wants to lead a "normal" life.

On recognition for his work. Its like Herb said: "just waiting for the public to catch up to the Carpenters sound". The public will catching up for a long time. IMHO if you look at the Carpenters work top to bottom it is a most perfect catalogue. There just aren't any bad tunes. I was amazed by this when I bought my first album in 2017 and it continues thru today.
 

Sabar

Well-Known Member
I don't disagree with anything that's been said here, but I do think its important to add something. I emphasized Karen and not Richard in my post for a reason. Although Karen and Richard both had very special talents, the nature of their different talents would always place a limit on how much recognition Richard would receive compared to Karen. Whether or not its fair, great musical producers and arrangers never achieve the level of recognition among the general public as singers/performers do. (Sherwin Bash made this point in one of the documentaries). Sure, people who are serious music listeners revere the likes of Phil Spector, George Martin, Brian Wilson, Phil Ramone, Quincy Jones, etc. But how many in the general public know those names compared to people who know Sinatra, Nat Cole, Ella, Streisand, Celine, etc. I guess what I would like to see is the following: when great singers are being discussed among the general public in the United States, Karen's name comes up as readily as Bing, Frank, Billie, Ella, Barbara, Celine, Whitney, and Mariah. That is not the case now. It should be.
 

crescentnoon

Active Member
Karen's talent was one in a billion. She had a perfect voice and the musical acumen to go with it. I think Richard does get credit - obviously not as much as the entirety of the group itself deserves - Karen or Richard, but let's face it, Karen's talent probably will never be duplicated and the public perspective of her just doesn't do her immense talent justice. Most people who have heard the hits don't even know she was a skilled drummer.
And this may not be a popular opinion around here, but Richard really let the group down in the later years of their output. I have huge respect for him and his talents, don't misunderstand me here.
 

Malu Makana

The Fidler Angel
If by "let down" you mean they didn't sell as many records, that's true. Later on the quality of the music was still great. Some of their best. I believe that Karen and Richard were inextricable beyond just being brother and sister. Very rare.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Karen's talent was one in a billion. She had a perfect voice and the musical acumen to go with it. I think Richard does get credit - obviously not as much as the entirety of the group itself deserves - Karen or Richard, but let's face it, Karen's talent probably will never be duplicated and the public perspective of her just doesn't do her immense talent justice. Most people who have heard the hits don't even know she was a skilled drummer.
And this may not be a popular opinion around here, but Richard really let the group down in the later years of their output. I have huge respect for him and his talents, don't misunderstand me here.
By being let down, do you mean you didn't like his arrangements, production or choice of material as much as in the earlier years? Love to hear more about why you feel like this.
 

crescentnoon

Active Member
Mark-T thanks for asking me to elaborate. It is really a combination of all you mentioned that was happening for a while up and through the release of Made in America. And why did Richard mix the vocals like he did on MIA? It's almost as if he was sabotaging it. Sorry this isn't a more in depth response- I keep getting interrupted. I will say that I do prefer listening even to the later output by the duo than to most other stuff out there, so yes, the music is indeed still good.
 

crescentnoon

Active Member
I have only been a fan since the early 2000s when I first really started listening. I had heard a few of the well known songs over the years but one day I heard A Place to Hideaway and I was hooked. Since then Carpenters music has been a refuge for me and it is something deeply personal to me. I love it very much and have some difficulty finding any fault with any of it. Since I haven't been a fan since the beginning my perspective might be a little off. Things I have read over the years just gives a feeling that certain decisions should have been done differently. Considering everything that was going on in regards to health issues and such, maybe everyone really did do the best they could at the time and it is remarkable we got what we got considering.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
It's not always popular to share a negative feeling here, but it challenges us as listeners to listen differently than usual.

Really? Sometimes, it seems, it's mostly "negative" here. Especially when discussing Richard (and his decisions), MIA, and an abundance of other subjects. Also, the "what if's" and "decisions [that] should have been done differently" as crescentnoon wrote all seem to be in the "negative." I think the critical considerably out-weighs the praise here.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Really? Sometimes, it seems, it's mostly "negative" here. Especially when discussing Richard (and his decisions), MIA, and an abundance of other subjects. Also, the "what if's" and "decisions [that] should have been done differently" as crescentnoon wrote all seem to be in the "negative." I think the critical considerably out-weighs the praise here.
You may be right now that I think more about it!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I can only add this: Is criticism inherently negative ?
That is, is it a logical conclusion that criticism= negativity, regards Carpenters' recorded output ?
In my instance, I deny that implication.
A critical appreciation of Carpenters' music (and career) has only reinforced my conclusion that....
the duo did as well as they could do--at the time--considering all that was happening.
Yet, that conclusion comes as a result of critical re-evaluation, not from ignoring criticism.
 

Malu Makana

The Fidler Angel
IMHO criticism of something that cant be changed can only be negative. That being said, it is necessary human function that helps an individual truly appreciate the sublime. Different for everyone.

Where is this thread going?:D
 

Shalom Bresticker

Well-Known Member
One of the definitions of criticism is, "the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work".
Just as a movie critic or a book critic can publish a positive review of a book or movie.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
IMHO criticism of something that cant be changed can only be negative. That being said, it is necessary human function that helps an individual truly appreciate the sublime. Different for everyone.

Where is this thread going?:D

Of course. Hindsight is 20/20. Easy to pile on Richard for past decisions he can not change now. But in reality...and history shows...he made way more good decisions than bad. If that weren't the case, they wouldn't have been as successful as they were. And Richard deserves far more credit than criticism.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Consider these statistics, if they are at all meaningful.

We have Official Review threads for every album. A SONG FOR YOU is arguably among their very best and has 240 some replies.

MADE IN AMERICA, perceived as a negative album by many, has over 1000 replies.

Just an observation.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Surely an invalid (?) comparison: A Song For You v. Made in America.
There were issues with the vinyl pressing and computer problems, coupled with Karen's health and marriage (in making Made In America).
There were virtually no issues with the duo in the making of A Song For You.
Again, for whatever his worth was--or was not--Jack Daugherty is credited as producer on A Song For You.
Richard Carpenter is credited as sole producer on Made in America.
Nearly all agree that A Song For You is the duo's best album, but with Made in America,
hard-core fans are divided on the album--even now, I can't make up my mind about it !
I perceive Made In America as a rather different type of Carpenters' album, not necessarily negative album.
For me, it is part of the duo's entire picture--and, pictures are a snapshot of a moment in time.
Interestingly enough, I love Those Good Old Dreams far more than I like Piano Picker/Flat Baroque.
I have grown to love Because We Are in Love---I guarantee I differ from many fans on the merits of that song !
So, I take the good with the (perceived) bad.
"Bad" for me might translate into "good" for someone else.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
MADE IN AMERICA, perceived as a negative album by many, has over 1000 replies.

My interpretation of this statistic is that it doesn’t mean it’s a bad album - it’s merely one which divides opinion, which in turn generates a lot more debate. Also there is a plethora of outtakes from these sessions which have featured in the album thread; there are none in the case of A Song For You, which most people already love and cite as the duo’s best. Most of us are therefore already on the same page regarding that album and this produces less debate.
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
My point was not a value judgment on either album. It was meant to point out that an album that divides the fandom, like MADE IN AMERICA, attracts far more negative comments about it, than a generally superb album like A SONG FOR YOU. I could have picked CLOSE TO YOU as well as that's also highly regarded, but has perceptibly fewer comments.

That's also a general trend on the Internet. If you look at reviews of a product on say Amazon, you'll find an over-proportional amount of negative reviews, as when people are irritated by something they buy, they tend to express that negativity far more often than when they are happy with a purchase.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
This point has come up time and again on this board. This is what I had to say about this a few years ago:

"This isn't the first time on this board I've seen the implication made that one cannot be a true Carpenters fan if one is in any way critical of any output or decisions made during their career. It's certainly one perspective. It's definitely not mine. A lot of discussion is subjective and opinion by its very nature. As long as people 'show their working' when giving their thoughts, that strikes me as absolutely fine. It would make for a very strange forum indeed if there were nothing but the same opinions being posted on any topic and if everything Richard and Karen recorded were treated uncritically - the logical conclusion of this potentially being us all agreeing that 'Goofus' or 'Beechwood' were just as valid recordings and surefire great choices of singles as, say, 'Rainy Days and Mondays' or 'We've Only Just Begun', which is mind-boggling to put it mildly."

I don't see a conflict between being a fan and not thinking everything they did was great. Did they record a few duff tracks? Yes. Did they make some bad decisions in their career? Undoubtedly. But there isn't an artist out there who is any different in this respect. Does that make me less of a fan for saying so?

I really don't think people are posting 'critical' comments on here out of malice, even though it seems some think this is happening. I'm sorry they feel that way, but I don't feel that labelling healthy debate and alternative viewpoints 'negativity' and implying that it's spoiling the board is a nice thing to do either.
 
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