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Official Review [Single]: 11. "SING"/"DRUSCILLA PENNY" (1413-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jul 9, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Sing"

    32 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "Druscilla Penny"

    5 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Honestly, that very well could have come from Karen. She loved syncopation, but then again Hal was a master at his craft.
    Joeyesterday likes this.
  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I chose "Sing". If I never heard the flipped again, its ok with me. Worst Carpenters song ever- and probably did so much damage to any credibility in the rock world they might have had. Feels as if the Carps were looking for a fight.
    CraigGA and GaryAlan like this.
  3. It's interesting that you mention Karen's lead on Sing, because few people do. I completely hear what you mean when you describe her performance as chilling - I was talking to a friend about her vocal the other day and couldn't think of the right word. There's always a darkness to her voice but with Sing she really bares it openly for a such a would-be optimistic tune. The arrangement doesn't allow her to do much acrobatic, technical standout stuff with her vocal (expect the amazing "whole life looonnngg.." bit) but she innately invests a melancholy lingering below the sunshine. She didn't phone this performance in. It's like she knows the song is a happy thing to think about and believe, but she knows it won't change anything.

    I can't think of many singers who can do something naturally like that with a song.
    CraigGA likes this.
  4. And I oddly kinda like Druscilla Penny as more of a kitschy, artifact from the early 70s. Richard's lead is pretty bad but the song has their baroque, experimental, slightly dark edged sound of the early albums, which I really enjoy. Someone said on here once that it sounded like something on H.R. Pufinstuff and that description nails it - bland, but still oddly fascinating as an old relic of an era long past.
  5. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Paul Grein in his liner notes for "Singles '69-'81" said Sing has, "a faintly bittersweet quality, similar to Charles Chaplin's theme song "Smile"."

    I'd have to agree. I like it. . .nothing more or less. But the BG vocals, like all on Now and Then, sound FANTASTIC.

    "Penny" I like. . .it's got a kind of "Eleanore Rigby" feel. It's no "Rigby", but you know what I mean.

    Still Sing wins on Karen's vocal and those backing sounds.


    GaryAlan likes this.
  6. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Karen's the singer that never really had to use vocal acrobatics or technical stuff. Her voice draws you in on its own. Granted, she's certainly got prowess, but she never considered herself a singer first. It never felt like she was trying to be impressive with her voice by shooting into the stratosphere or holding very long notes (like perhaps a singer would do). She's my favorite because of this -- it's straightforward, no-frills, honest singing. It's Karen.
    K.C. Jr likes this.
  7. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I can only imagine 'Druscilla Penny' is getting so many votes because 'Sing' is a particularly divisive A-side.

    Certainly this is the weakest A and B-side combination of any of the singles up to now. I think 'Sing' has a certain charm and features a lovely vocal from Karen (although I don't hear the 'bittersweet' element in it that some people have commented on - unlike, say, 'For All We Know', there doesn't seem to be any obvious subtext in Karen's reading here).

    However, whatever its commercial potential, it was a highly unwise choice of single. Maybe Richard got spooked by the underperformance of some of the singles from A Song For You and felt it better to go with a catchy if lightweight safer bet. Yet all this would do was reinforce whatever negative stereotypes were circulating around their image at the time. Looking at the details of what was in the Top 10 alongside 'Sing', I'd say that 'This Masquerade' could have gone head to head with tracks like 'Neither One of Us' and 'Killing Me Softly', but 'Sing' alas had much more in common with 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon'. It may have got them back to gold status, but I think this is more than counteracted by the further damage it did to their image.

    That said, it's still way better than 'Druscilla Penny', which is probably the worst Carpenter/Bettis track released. It was a blot on the Tan Album and has been an instant skip for me for years. The lyrics, the vocal, the arrangement - just bad in every way. I don't know if it's worse than 'Goofus' but it would have to be in my Top 3 least favourite Carpenters' songs.
    Nick Sphnix and GaryAlan like this.
  8. That's not what I meant exactly. I do agree that she never had to use such acrobatics, what I meant was that it's not a song like Superstar or Hurting Each Other that requires tricker (yet subtle) vocal power/work. Sing could have been a throwaway vocal performance for another singer because it's not a tune that particularly requires tons of emotional texture or daring vocal turns, it's very simple. But she's doesn't waste the opportunity and invests that chilling feeling into the lyrics in a way you can't shake. Even though it's not a big ballad she still puts in the emotional foundation and if quietly adds so much to an already memorable song.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  9. It's kind of different what I feel in For All We Know, which itself is a dynamite vocal. Because "Sing" is so simple there's not tons one can do with varied subtext in their performance, yet there's something there that I hear and it scrapes the sugar off the top of the song.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another, apparently ripped from the SACD,
    not to everyone's liking---but, it does accentuate some of the vocals in
    Nick Sphnix likes this.
  11. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    My singing, to put it nicely, should never be subjected to any living creature. :D

    It's in my top 60,000, I'll admit (although I could say I have 59,999 tracks on my music server at the moment :D ). That is what is interesting about this song--we did not have UHF capabilities on our TV at the time, so I did not see Sesame Street until later in my younger years, within a year or so of having outgrown it. Someone who hadn't known or watched Sesame Street probably would not get that same negative stigma I had towards it at the time.

    Besides that, The Electric Company was a lot more "hip" as a kids show. :D
  12. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I was more partial to a show called "Zoom" on PBS remember that one? Come on and zoom ba zoom ba zoom, I still hear that opening song lol
  13. Oh I remember Zoom, especially being on the east coast! I should look it up on YouTube, haven't seen it in years. A friend of mine auditioned for it once but didn't make the cut.
  14. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Have you moved to London then?
  15. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member


    Yeah, a vague memory... :)
  16. No, I just like sounding exotic.
  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Innocent question. You said you remember an American TV series from the "east coast", yet your "location" setting is London. Since you are a new member, we like to get a hold on where people are from and your two pieces of information were somewhat conflicting. So are you, or are you not based in London as your location setting says?
  18. I am not. I often flat out fib when it comes to online registerion forms. One of the places where "identity" can truly be malleable.
  19. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Ah, OK. Most of us around here are more open about things like that, but if you need to protect your identity, I can understand that. Still, putting your correct country seems vague enough.
  20. Oh no it's nothing about protecting my identity, I just put that in randomly, honestly no reason why. I am from New England and forgot I put London so that's why I was confused when you mentioned it. Yes, I am weird haha
  21. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I don't remember hearing Sing on Sesame Street, but I may've forgotten about.

    But with This Masquerade, while all these years later it seems to be considered a Carpenters Classic, the song is nearly 5 minutes in length (4:51). As I recall with I Just Fall In Love Again, Richard Carpenter has mentioned that the Carpenters would've released that song as a single in the 70's, and probably had a high charting hit with it, when you look at Anne Murray's version, but the main reason that the Carpenters version wasn't put on a 45 until a decade later was due to the fact that the recording was over 4 minutes long (4:02), while the majority of hit singles at the time were well under 4 minutes. And as we've seen with Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft, and even other singles that have had trims (such as I Need To Be In Love), would This Masquerade have been editable, and yet still playable? I was asking myself this very question recently when I was listening to This Masquerade, and I wasn't able to find any place where the Carpenters could do a clean cut of at least 1 minute.

    But whether it was a single or not, it seems that This Masquerade must've made a number of local charts just from its "B" side appearance alone, since it even appears on probably one of the earliest known compilation albums, the 2-Canadian-LP The Carpenters Collection from 1978.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  22. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    The song "Sing" is on "Sesame Street 2" on Warner Bros. Records in 1971 & long out of print. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  23. I'm a sucker for harpsichords and the offbeat kick drum is pure genius. But "Sing" was the reason I bought the single as a child and the wonderful flip was a pleasant surprise. According to my analysis of my original singles' worn grooves on side A and B, it appears "Sing" gets the nod as it is worn the most. So it must be my favorite. :)
  24. natureaker

    natureaker Active Member

    I voted that "Sing" was the better single of the two.
    Now, I'm gonna admit something: I enjoy "Druscilla Penny" :hide: Something about the song fascinates me, but I honestly think that it might not have been the smartest idea to release as a single.

    Oh, and speaking of "Sing", this maybe a lil off topic, but one time I was listening to my playlist while FaceTiming one of my best friends. Suddenly, "Sing" started playing, and my friend was like "I feel like I know this song from somewhere..." and I replied with "Yea, it was on Sesame Street" and then, she said "Oh right, yes it was, wasn't it?". I was pretty pleased about that :b-boogie:
  25. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    ^ I've been known to occasionally express discontent that the Carpenters neither appeared on "Sesame Street" nor performed the song on the program. At least not to my knowledge. :hmmm:

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