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⭐ Official Review [Single]: 15. "PLEASE MR. POSTMAN"/"THIS MASQUERADE" (1646-S)

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "Please Mr. Postman"

    Votes: 29 46.8%
  • Side B: "This Masquerade"

    Votes: 33 53.2%

  • Total voters
    62

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Here is one view of the song (in which, I strongly disagree):
The Carpenters – “Please Mr. Postman”
HIT #1
: January 25, 1975
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
"...background music was what the Carpenters did. The Carpenters had recorded plenty of covers before “Please Mr. Postman.
They’d even devoted an entire side of their 1973 album Now & Then to new versions of oldies, strung together by a fake old-timey radio DJ.
But they’d never done less with their source material than they did on “Please Mr. Postman.”
Karen Carpenter, a singer capable of great nuance and empathy and sadness, gets absolutely no space to show what she can do on
Please Mr. Postman.” She simply agreeably chirps the song, over a rigid polka-fart backbeat that sounds a lot like the slick late-’50s malt-shop music that Motown helped render obsolete. Tony Peluso plays rockabilly-ish guitar, and Bob Messenger plays a honking sax solo, even though the original “Please Mr. Postman” had been too efficient a song for guitars or sax solos. And so the Carpenters’ 14-years-later version of
Please Mr. Postman” somehow sounds less advanced than the original."
More:
ttps://www.stereogum.com/2048561/the-number-ones-the-carpenters-please-mr-postman/franchises/the-number-ones/

I’ll never get the beef so many have with this. Sure it’s featherweight and doesn’t show the emotional depth of Karen’s voice, but that’s what the other myriad of ballads are for. It’s an oldie but it’s done with great energy and zest, unlike some other throwbacks they did. You can tell why it shot to #1, but it seems the people the tuned in to hear it or bought the 45, are now ashamed that they did.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Please Mr Postman is a great remake that encompasses musical design from three decades that often accompany remakes done by others in a different generation. Tony Peluso’s guitar is great. Karen’s enthusiasm and style is perfect for this song, and it applies to all of Richard’s oldies arrangements in my opinion. One stellar rendition is Our Day Will Come that shows a complimentary side of the musical gem.
I can think of 10 remakes by others from Linda Ronstandt to Billy Joel to Diana Ross to Barry Manilow that contain elements not necessarily in their originals but open interpretation for the new time period.
Just because someone can slam a musician does not make their critiques credible or gospel. These artists and their version were not a group period copy like Sha Na Na,
Don’t forget, Please Mr Postman broke records and charted higher than most remakes. Part of this magic is from the songs creators from their pen that carries through!
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
"Please Mr Postman" debuted on the UK Official Charts on this day in 1975. It peaked at #2 on the 15th of February 1975 and was held from the #1 spot by "January" by the Scottish group Pilot.


"Postman" did reach #1 on the NME chart and was certified silver in March 1975 for 250,000 copies sold.
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
THIS MASQUERADE is a great piece of music, one of their best ever. The arrangement is outstandingly creative, especially with the back to back piano/flute solos in the middle, and the repeat of the flute at the end. The piano solo is one of Richard's best - if not the actual very best - on any of their songs. These extended solos are a real delight to hear just as they were with the flute solo on IT'S GOING TO TAKE SOME TIME and the sax solo on A SONG FOR YOU. Other songs could have benefited from similar lengthy instrumental interludes, such as RAINY DAYS...and MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING - at least on the album versions.

Karen's vocal on MASQUERADE is natural and soft and easy and sexy and highly nuanced and a pure joy to listen to - just as it is on IT'S GOING TO TAKE...

They should have toured a lot less and spent most of their time in the studio crafting other masterpieces like MASQUERADE - and stopped their concentration on cranking out singles - it boggles the mind to try to imagine what they could have achieved by working full time at being a great studio band...

PLEASE MR. POSTMAN is a piece of pre-teenybopper nonsense that really is a throwaway fluffball with no redeeming features except its catchy beat - and who the hell is singing the lead on his? I'm told it's Karen Carpenter, but it's virtually impossible to tell - the singer oversings her own voice all the damn way thru the song sounding like some computer- generated Android - so I'll have to take someone's word that it's Karen...

It's actually an insult to THIS MASQUERADE to be included on the same record with the third-rate POSTMAN...POSTMAN should have been backed by GOOFUS and then you would have those two meritless peas in a pod...
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
They should have toured a lot less and spent most of their time in the studio crafting other masterpieces like MASQUERADE - and stopped their concentration on cranking out singles - it boggles the mind to try to imagine what they could have achieved by working full time at being a great studio band...

PLEASE MR. POSTMAN is a piece of pre-teenybopper nonsense that really is a throwaway fluffball with no redeeming features except its catchy beat - and who the hell is singing the lead on his? I'm told it's Karen Carpenter, but it's virtually impossible to tell - the singer oversings her own voice all the damn way thru the song sounding like some computer- generated Android - so I'll have to take someone's word that it's Karen...

It's actually an insult to THIS MASQUERADE to be included on the same record with the third-rate POSTMAN...POSTMAN should have been backed by GOOFUS and then you would have those two meritless peas in a pod...

We all have our opinions here and it's great that you share them. It makes for discussion rather than silence.
Although I don't agree with this analogy, I respect it. If we all heard things exactly the same it would be a boring forum, wouldn't it?
 

CloseToYou10

Well-Known Member
I'm embarrassed to say this was the only single I did not immediately recognize as the Carpenters when it first came out. Hearing it all over AM radio I thought at first it was Donny and Marie! LOL It was only when I went to the record store and saw the single sleeve that I found out it was Karen and Richard, much to my chagrin. :rolleyes:
 

David A

Well-Known Member
*Sarcasm alert*

"Yes", the music critic snickers, "the Carpenters' 'Please Mr. Postman' is clearly sophomoric drivel, utterly lacking of any musical philosophical aesthetics. Indeed, this profoundly insipid Pablum grates on sophisticated ears as though each note were it's own special torment to the very concept of musical enlightenment."

*end sarcasm*

LOL

I love the song. I would know Karen's voice on this song instantly, had I never heard it before. Yes, it's lightweight. But it's fun, catchy, and Karen sounds like she's having fun singing it. Also, I enjoy the video; Karen seems to be genuinely laughing and smiling in Disneyland, and it is a pleasure to watch (not sure Richard was enjoying it though, he doesn't seem to smile much hah!).

It IS an odd pairing though, in my view, with This Masquerade. That song is a tour de force of the depths of Karen's vocal ability and Richard's classic Carpenters touches, and certainly not "lightweight".
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It IS an odd pairing though, in my view, with This Masquerade. That song is a tour de force of the depths of Karen's vocal ability and Richard's classic Carpenters touches, and certainly not "lightweight".

I’m actually surprised there weren’t calls from people with musical taste back in 1974 to call for the single A-side to be flipped.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
I’m actually surprised there weren’t calls from people with musical taste back in 1974 to call for the single A-side to be flipped.

I assume that's because there was an awareness of the popularity of Postman, thus it was the A side. While it's obvious to many that This Masquerade was the superior song "artistically" (heavy quotes), the label - and I would definitely assume Richard and Karen, as well - preferred sales. Totally understandable.
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
*Sarcasm alert*

"Yes", the music critic snickers, "the Carpenters' 'Please Mr. Postman' is clearly sophomoric drivel, utterly lacking of any musical philosophical aesthetics. Indeed, this profoundly insipid Pablum grates on sophisticated ears as though each note were it's own special torment to the very concept of musical enlightenment."

*end sarcasm*
Actually, you could drop the sarcasm alert and you would have a fairly well-written, honest and accurate assessment of the merits (or lack thereof) of POSTMAN...

My own review above was rather cold and harsh - and I apologize if I offended anyone- I need to use a lighter touch and I should have couched it's negativity in your softer and more sophisticated terms...

What surprises (and disappoints) me most here is the voting, where MASQUERADE only has a slight lead - I would have guessed that it would have been much larger, a "no contest" outcome.

And so after listening again to POSTMAN to make sure my critique was correct I had to listen to A SONG FOR YOU, DESPERADO and YOU'RE THE ONE back-to-back to clear or purge the old gray cells and reassure myself about Karen's incomparable natural voice and truly amazing vocal abilities...

But I'm glad some of you like and enjoy POSTMAN - I just can't (as the saying goes) wrap by brain around it...
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Actually, you could drop the sarcasm alert and you would have a fairly well-written, honest and accurate assessment of the merits (or lack thereof) of POSTMAN...

My own review above was rather cold and harsh - and I apologize if I offended anyone- I need to use a lighter touch and I should have couched it's negativity in your softer and more sophisticated terms...

What surprises (and disappoints) me most here is the voting, where MASQUERADE only has a slight lead - I would have guessed that it would have been much larger, a "no contest" outcome.

And so after listening again to POSTMAN to make sure my critique was correct I had to listen to A SONG FOR YOU, DESPERADO and YOU'RE THE ONE back-to-back to clear or purge the old gray cells and reassure myself about Karen's incomparable natural voice and truly amazing vocal abilities...

But I'm glad some of you like and enjoy POSTMAN - I just can't (as the saying goes) wrap by brain around it...

Actually, my ode to "music critics" was exactly as intended; an only slightly over-the-top rendition of how many (most) of them seem to take delight in being unnecessarily condescending, vicious, and most gratingly, state their pedantic opinion as though it were somehow fact.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
It was songs like 'Please Mr. Postman' that brought Carpenters to the attention of the masses. 45 years later, to some, this song might seem a bit disposable but if K&R hadn't released 'Postman' plus 'Sing', etc., they would not be as well known.

Most record buyers back then were probably pre-teens and teens, and maybe early 20s. As we know from the current songs that are popular, they go for the more immediately catchy and shallow offerings and are often not interested in more deep, ornate releases.

I remember that there were three songs that my friends at school took a slight bit of notice of during the 1970s - 'Top of the World', 'Please Mr. Postman' and 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'. These were all the biggies in my area, ('Occupants was Top 5), and also, probably, at that time, the most pre-teen / teen orientated, (apart from 'Sing'). (We were too young when 'Close to You' was big to know about it).

Generally, Carpenters were greatly ridiculed, so it's good that they had those songs that the public really took to.

So I think that Richard knew exactly what he was doing when he chose those more whimsy songs. These days, I still like 'Please Mr. Postman', 'Calling Occupants', (short version only!) and 'Sing' very much but 'Top of the World' has fallen in my estimation a bit.

And I do love the piano and flute solos in 'This Masquerade' and 'It's Going to Take Some Time', and always have. Richard always demonstrated talent, taste, individuality, originality and a high level of musicianship in his arrangements. Where would we ever be without his vision and genius?
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I remember the first time I heard it listening to my transistor radio while still in bed early one morning before the Thanksgiving holiday. I was mesmerized by the the song and knew immediately who it was. Playing into the success of TV’s Happy Days I knew it was going to be an instant smash. It has high energy, Karen sounds great, vibrant and strong while utilizing the dexterity of her vocals in the background. The song is pure fun and catchy to the point of repetition. It felt long overdue since we had not heard anything new since Yesterday Once More, since Top of the World and I Won’t Last A Day Without You we’re both on A Song For You (although single improvements made them purchase worthy again). And there was a break on the radio all summer and fall from a Carpenters hit. They were at the height of popularity and booked a year in advance with a slew of people waiting to hear them live. (It is still heartbreaking that Karen suffered so during their most popular run of concerts even leading to cancellation of the Fall/Winter tour of 1975. Even though the 1976 European Tour broke all records in 1976, it was the last lap of pure victory. And, I feel Please Mr. Postman helped carry that excitement through this period. Even now, I can’t just play it once without wanting to hear it again, even after all these years. In 1975 I played that 45 until it was worn. I was disappointed that The Horizon version did not carry the single enthusiasm, but the one remixed in the early 90’s does. I love Horizon for it showcases Karen like no other. 1970-1975 was pure magic for the Carpenters who had made and broken more records than anyone thought possible, with this song included! Even though it did not help their goodie image, it did excite fans like no other and helped pump that last year of record chart success with pure gold. When you dissect the song, it has multilayer elements of pure musical genius, and it was all from Karen and Richard, with once again, the guitar genius of Tony Peluso. I guess it can be said I love the song. And, it still makes me feel 13 again, listening to my transistor radio, nearly coming out of my skin with excitement.
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
...

And I do love the piano and flute solos in 'This Masquerade' and 'It's Going to Take Some Time', and always have. Richard always demonstrated talent, taste, individuality, originality and a high level of musicianship in his arrangements. Where would we ever be without his vision and genius?
As a big fan of so-called Fusion, or Smooth, Jazz for decades (including all of the talented vocalists who worked in that genre) I will say without reservation that the musicianship of the soloists on the Carpenter's records where it was allowed to shine thru extended interludes was on par with almost anything found at the top of the SJ world. The sax solo in A SONG FOR YOU is, of course, another really great example. And I always thought that the album versions of RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS and MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING could have greatly benefited from more lengthy instrumental solos - I JUST FALL IN LOVE AGAIN would have been a perfect candidate for a far less bombastic arrangement that could have had piano and say acoustic guitar solos incorporated with beautiful results. I understand the need for shorter recording due to air-play consideration, but there was no real need for time restrictions (within limits) on the albums.

As far as Richard's "demonstrated talent, taste, individuality and originality" as concerned I fully agree - except in one critical, all-important area, and you all must know what that is by now, so I'll just leave that hang...if the wonderful music of the 30s and 40s and 50s had evolved without the interference of the worst elements of Rock then the music that he created through his compositions and arrangements is what it would have become - because of his deep knowledge and appreciation of the best music of several generations - and because of his genius - he was able to bring it all together in spectacular fashion - the incredible, incomparable voice of his little sister singing his songs and arrangements was a true godsend that made it all work so beautifully.

The worst tragedy in the history of modern popular music is that they still could be gracing our existence with their wonderful music even to this day, if only reason and wisdom and common sense - including on the part of Richard and Karen also - had prevailed.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Thankfully, we have songs like Sing and Please Mr. Postman !
Had it not been for Postman hitting #1 in 1975, The Carpenters would have fallen off the USA charts,
and out of public consciousness, earlier than they did !
Karen lends her drumming skills to both songs, which is always bonus.
While those two particular songs may seem 'trite' compared to the likes of This Masquerade or A Song For You,
nothing could be further from the truth. That point is worth reiterating.
Both Sing and Please Mr.Postman are brilliantly arranged and Karen sings them flawlessly.
Tony Peluso, by the way, was quite proud of his guitar-work on Please Mr.Postman (Melody Maker interview).
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion,
I hold both songs in high regard.
"Make it simple to last your whole life long."

 

TimeWarp

Member
I voted for "Please Mr. Postman", especially since we're talking about the single. So far for me, the best sounding "Please Mr. Postman" I have listened to is on the single I own (Canadian pressing).

I am a bit ambivalent about "This Masquerade". However, I can say I really like the lyrics.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I voted for "Please Mr. Postman", especially since we're talking about the single. So far for me, the best sounding "Please Mr. Postman" I have listened to is on the single I own (Canadian pressing).

I am a bit ambivalent about "This Masquerade". However, I can say I really like the lyrics.

What about Masquerade keeps you at a distance?
 
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