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Poll: Your Favorite Least Favorite Carpenters Track

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by John Adam, Mar 4, 2019.

Which Is Your Favorite Of These (3) Carpenters Tracks?

Poll closed Apr 3, 2019.
  1. Goofus 1976

    17 vote(s)
  2. Man Smart, Woman Smarter 1977

    11 vote(s)
  3. I Believe You 1978

    22 vote(s)
  1. Actorman

    Actorman Active Member

    My favorite of these three choices is "Goofus," by far. I've always liked that track a lot. Karen gives a very fun and spirited performance. It's a nice, upbeat track with a cute story. If I were to rank all their songs in order, "Goofus" would probably fall somewhere close to the middle.

    I know it gets a lot of flack for missing the Top 40 of the Hot 100, but people seem to forget that it actually peaked at #4 on the AC chart. That matches the performance on that chart of "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song" and was higher than most of the singles that followed. So, it wasn't the complete and total flop that it gets painted as.

    The above description of "I Believe You" as "elevator music" is dead on. It's just a snooze fest. I don't hate it, but it's definitely in the bottom quarter of their catalog for me. It was the one selection on the RPO album that surprised me. There are at least a dozen other tracks that I would have predicted Richard to choose before that one.

    "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" is my second-least favorite song in their catalog. I'll (usually) listen to it if it pops up, but I can't say that I would miss it if I never heard it again.

    My least favorite song (by several miles) didn't even make the list: "B'wana She No Home." I absolutely hate that song and consider it the worst thing they ever recorded.
  2. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    It’s so funny that while we are all fans how we like and dislike the same and yet some so differently. I actually love B’wana.
    CraigGA, LondonRobert, Kaisu and 5 others like this.
  3. AnnaSock

    AnnaSock Active Member

    It’s interested, isn’t it? I love reading people’s very different reactions to the same tracks.

    I also like B’wana. It’s so different to any other Carpenters song. I like playing it non-fans ans seeing if they can guess who it is ha ha.
  4. AnnaSock

    AnnaSock Active Member

    Excuse the typos! I meant ‘interesting’ and ‘and’ lol.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  5. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Just to let you know, AnnaSock, you can go in and edit a typo if you want to. The "Edit" link appears right under your post. (There is, however, a fairly short time limit after which you can't edit anymore.)
    AnnaSock and John Adam like this.
  6. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Yes, read first then hit "post reply," and if you don't, hit "edit" quickly! lol. Thanks Mike. :)
    AnnaSock likes this.
  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Top of my list would be A Song For You.
    John Adam likes this.
  8. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Nevertheless, every single before 'Goofus' except 'Ticket to Ride' had made either #1 or #2 on the AC chart (apart from 'Bless the Beasts and Children' and that was only a B side), so 'Goofus' stopping at #4 was their worst performance in a long time on that chart.

    You could also argue that part of the reason 'All You Get From Love is a Love Song' struggled on the charts was because of the bad impression 'Goofus' (the last single release before it) had made on radio programmers, who were already cooling on the Carpenters by that stage. However you cut it, it was a flop - and possibly quite a damaging one at that.
    John Adam likes this.
  9. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    "My least favorite song (by several miles) didn't even make the list: "B'wana She No Home." I absolutely hate that song and consider it the worst thing they ever recorded."

    Actorman; I'm curious. What is it specifically about the song that you "absolutely hate"? I'm not trying to counter your opinion, I'm just curious.
    John Adam likes this.
  10. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Also like B'wana! :) B'Wana was also on my list, but being the B-side of "I Believe You" and a song in this poll, I scratched that idea. Plus I didn't wan't to include 2 songs from "Passage." And I didn't want this to become the Carpenters worst song or album poll. That's so negative. As Rick and many others have noted we all hear things differently, even on different days. Our favorites change, our views on a recording changes over time. Many of you here have been posting for over a decade, and I'm sure if we go back to your 10 or 15 year old posts, some opinions have "mellowed" a bit.

    The Carpenters had a nearly perfect record of good albums and a string of really big hit singles up to 1975. The later 70's music of the Carpenters, the albums Passage and A Kind Of Hush get quite a bit of criticism. That's why this period intrigues me so much. It wasn't for the lack of them trying. They did a fair amount of recording in 1976, 1977 and 1978. IMO, it got interesting, even if it wasn't as commercial. Plus Karen's voice truly became of age. She had a gift, and was trying to find more ways to use it. Christmas Portrait and the solo album showed another side as the 1970's came to an end. (Even though we didn't get to hear much of pop 1978 and solo 1979 until much later!)
    Jamesj75 and GDB2LV like this.
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Interesting because it’s in my top 5 of all the non single tracks. It’s one of the most interesting, innovative, daring tracks they ever recorded and has the distinct advantage of featuring the highest note Karen ever committed to tape (in the background vocals, which are just sublime).
    CraigGA, Mark-T, Carpe diem and 2 others like this.
  12. AnnaSock

    AnnaSock Active Member

    Thanks, Mike. I didn’t realise :)
  13. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Well "Goofus" and "I Believe You" are neck and neck for the race to be the "Favorite Least Favorite Carpenters Tracks" in this poll as of 3/6. I also see these two songs have singles threads. The results of these polls are interesting too and tie into this thread.

    *The B-side of Goofus, "Boat to Sail" has 27 votes as favorite VS 15 votes for "Goofus" as favorite side.
    *The B-side of Believe, "B'wana She No Home" has 33 votes as favorite VS 14 votes for "Believe" as favorite side.
    *Results from Chris May's Official Singles Thread on the Carpenters Forum.
  14. And to me, I believe you has lyrics that make me uncomfortable for some reason. I am no prude trust me, but the entire, "Fill my body with your soul and love will turn into a freckled little girl who looks like we do???" Ewwww. Something about it just grosses me out.....and this is coming from a Howard Stern fan. Lol.
    John Adam and Carpe diem like this.
  15. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I suspect that the writers were coming more from a religious view of love and sex, in that procreation is one of the most precious things in life and one of the greatest expressions of love, than from a smutty porno sort of perspective, (as you know. I realise you weren’t making this type of connection). Not that I’m the least bit religious myself. I like the story of their deep love creating new life. True, you could say the lyrics are a bit super-sentimental and overly romantic.
    John Adam and Jarred like this.
  16. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I’m actually surprised at how many votes Smart and Smarter is getting. Ok who voted for that? :laugh:
    John Adam likes this.
  17. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    You don't need that chair, Rick! Thanks for the nod. Your memory is quite good! We all have our favorites and our least favorites...I realize and respect that!

    I thoroughly enjoy all the songs on A Kind of Hush, particularly the title song as well as "Breaking Up..." (which, like the title song, is upbeat and fun). As music fans, we tend to have a link to music released at significant times in our lives. (I apologize for any repetitiveness in my commentary....) Sometimes it's simply a matter of what was on the radio during the time we were coming of age. Early Carpenters' releases took place largely while I was in high school --- Okay, I'm dating myself! But who else will?!?! :) --- For me, Carpenters' music was a soother, even an escape if you will, from difficult times.

    So A Kind of Hush was released during that more upbeat (and rebounding), formative period of my life. I played that damn album so many times that the skips became second nature and seemed almost missed upon hearing the same music on pristine CD decades later... Hearing the single "There's a Kind of Hush" at that exciting time in my life was doubly exciting as it was always a thrill to hear a new Carpenters' song on the radio, somewhat akin to flashforwarding to 2018 and learning about the RPO project! Something new (so to speak, or at least a new spin)...

    Oh, and regarding this poll, it is clearly difficult for me to name my least favorite Carpenters' song, but @John Adam put a creative spin on that premise by allowing us to give an up vote for 1 of 3 often mentioned as least favorites. For me, there is no contest: "I Believe You" is a terrific song. And upon hearing it on the radio, there was this same excitement in hearing something new from the Carpenters after a bit of a drought. Even with some perhaps odd lyrics, to me it has the feel of a "lush" production. And "lush" can be a good thing... At least, I'll drink to that!
  18. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    I think it's Karen's vocal mixed with the majestic arrangement that makes it so stirring for the people that do like it. Like I said the other day, she makes the silly lyrics sound damn near profound. That's a rare gift even in the most talented singer.
  19. Actorman

    Actorman Active Member

    I agree. I love hearing the diverse opinions on this board. It's cool that we can all be huge fans yet still look at their work with personal subjectivity and be respectful of each other's opinions. It's the difference between being "intelligent fans" and "blind admirers." I used to belong to another message board (not Carpenters) where if anyone even made the slightest suggestion that something that artist did was anything less than perfect, brilliant, amazing, etc., they would be viciously attacked and accused of not being a "real fan." It was crazy.

    Pretty much everything about it: the melody, the lyrics, the annoyingly repetitive chorus, the arrangement, the weird "sort of Calypso, sort of Reggae, but missing the mark on both" kind of vibe it has. Even Karen's magnificent voice can't save it, in my opinion. I accept that I am in the minority on it. LOL!!

    Totally agree. Same here. LOL!
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^When I heard Barbara Mandrell's lyric changes, I was on board with Barbara's interpretation of
    I Believe You. Also, Barbara countrified hers with a slide/steel-guitar, which I quite enjoyed.
    The utilization of Conga on Carpenters' I Believe You should have been enhanced,
    that is one part of their arrangement I enjoy. Harps could be more prominent, too.
    Well, regardless of any other artist's interpretation of this song,
    I simply feel it is a weak song.
    There is a reason the song is rarely covered by other artists,
    it is simply an unexceptional song (imho).
    1978 also saw a recording of Where Do I Go From Here,
    now, that is an exceptional song !
    I Believe You is anthologized twenty times (excluding LP Made In America)
    Where Do I Go From Here is anthologized eight times (excluding LP Lovelines).
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    Jamesj75 and John Adam like this.
  21. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    As a pre-teen, I also played the ‘A Kind of Hush’ album non-stop when it was released. I loved every song, as well as the cover art. (Richard would be surprised to hear that). I loved the red sunset on the label, too. Earlier, I had tuned into American Top 40 every week to see how high the song would rise on the chart. I used to ride my bike around and around a bike track that I had made, singing the song. I would say I’ve finally gone off the album quite a bit in recent years. I haven’t listened to it in a long while but my memory is that the title song and ‘Breaking Up’ are a bit colourless, characterless and soulless. ‘Goofus’ I am still a little fond of.

    I was also captivated by ‘Passage’ when it was released. It was an exciting time to be a Carpenters fan, with ‘Calling Occupants’ in the Top 5 and the album nudging the Top 10. ‘Calling Occupants’ was played on the radio constantly over the summer and if you wandered around with your trannie under the starry night sky and station-surfed, you seemed to pick it up every second station. It was on the national Top 100 for over seven months and the album remained there for four and a half.

    Although ‘Man Smart, Woman Smarter’ was part of that exciting album in those heady times, it was one of a couple of songs that didn’t spark any interest in me. The other was ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’, (which I came to like later). When my class was asked to suggest which records to buy for the school disco, I even put ‘Sweet, Sweet Smile’ forward! The only two songs from ‘Passage’ I still like a whole lot are ‘Calling Occupants’ - the single version - and ‘Two Sides’.

    ‘I Believe You’ broke the long drought without new Carpenters songs, during a long, hot drought. I had ridden my bike a million miles, passing the time waiting for a new song. ‘I Believe You’ was played two or three times a day on the radio and I was in heaven. I’ve never really gone off the song.

    About this poll, I like ‘Goofus’ and ‘I Believe You’, but ‘I Believe You’ wins because of the pure majesty of the recording.

    It’s partly nostalgia that still brings out the feelings of affection towards some of these songs.
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    What’s also interesting is the time slot regarding radio play...I Believe You at almost 4 mins and Goofus about 3 mins. Do you think that played any part in radio promotion. I feel IBY goes on a bit too long making it too sappy for radio attention. I can’t say Goofus is any better but if Muscrat Love can do it why not Goofus. I actually like Muscrat Love it is kinda a cute song.
    Jamesj75 and Brian like this.
  23. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    When I was a kid, I didn’t get the connotation of
    ‘Little boy sat down and cried.
    Old man passing asked him why.
    He said, “I can’t do what the big boys do!”
    Old man sat down and he cried, too’.
    Now I take it to mean that the old man is too old to have fun, (ahem), with the girls while the little boy is too young. Am I stating the obvious? I really didn’t get that as a teen and wondered why that verse was even included, because I thought it said nothing. Once you get the connotation, then it makes sense, and you can see why it was included, especially when you consider the origins of the song, along with the Robert Palmer version, etc. Robert Palmer is playing the stud, the lover boy, as usual. Not sure how the lyric suits Karen - maybe she and Richard missed the connotation. I think they just heard the “That’s right - the women are smarter” line.

    I did get the ‘fill my body with your soul’ connotation as a kid but, even then, thought it was a classy and non-sexual line.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  24. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Hey Brian! Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate reading your recollections! Of course, I know that we are not (were not) alone in our appreciation for, and satisfying reminiscences of, A Kind of Hush. I, too, thoroughly like the album's artwork: innovative, beautiful, wistful. Speaking of pictures, I like the picture you painted about singing while riding your bike and that you "wandered around with your trannie under the starry night sky." I will show some self-restraint and NOT make a "trannie" joke, although I will tell you that on some Sundays, I would go to the beach, lie down on a blanket with my "trannie," and joyfully listen to Casey Kasem's American Top 40 (appointment radio)!

    I believe it was on The Singles: 1969-1973 wherein the liner notes, Digby Diehl suggested: "...difficult to remember a sunny afternoon at the beach without them [Carpenters]?"
    John Adam and Brian like this.
  25. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    Lol - lol. Yes, I spent many a long hour with my trannie back then, James. Thanks for your words. It’s nice to know you enjoyed my recollections.
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