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Small parts of Carpenters songs that hook you

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I've noticed over the years that there are short segments of Carpenters songs that I play over and over just because I like something about it. Maybe it’s the way Karen sings a word, forms a phrase, or shapes a note; maybe something about the arrangement grabs me and won’t let go. Whatever it is, I find myself listening to that portion of the song again and again, without playing the rest of it.

Let me give you a couple of examples. One of my favorites comes around the 2.45 mark of “Close to You" when Karen echoes herself and sings “just like me” in the background. There’s something about the timbre of that phrase that simply captivates me. I can play that part by itself ten times in a row and never tire of it. (The funny things is that I didn’t really notice it until I heard the official karaoke version of the song many years later. After that I was hooked.)

Another short section that I’ve played lots of times can be found near the end of “When it’s Gone (It’s Just Gone)”. Around the 4.26 mark, just before the song fades to a close, there are a series of six bell-like notes. I don’t know what instrument is playing them, but they always give me a sense of closure and resolution when I hear them. I don’t have the musical vocabulary to tell you why; I just know I feel that way. And whenever I play that song I typically play that part of it four or five times.

I could offer lots more examples, but I'm wondering if any of you have favorite snippets of Carpenters songs that you return to and play repeatedly. Or am I the only weird one?
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member
I have that feeling all the time. It's usually parts of the instrumentation that hook me - like on that Close to You karaoke version you mentioned, I love the way the bass and drums work together; especially before the start of the second "waaahh close to you". I also love the overdubbed harmonies in their songs, where they sing in several different notes. Some of them are buried in there, and when I finally hear them after a ton of listens ( :D ), it intrigues me. The Karen vocal I think hooks me the most is Top of the World, when she sings the word "happiness".

There are so many small parts that make their music all the more interesting.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Much to sift through, here's a start,
The beginning of Only Yesterday: drumbeats, and then, 'After long enough..."
The very end of Little Altar Boy: "....pray..."
Two Sides...the very end, "...Goodbye..."
Very End of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, those background vocals..." he's coming to town".
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Great thread!

I have lots of examples of songs where a small part really grabs me...

1. 'The Uninvited Guest' - the line "just like the old song/torn between two lovers". Karen's phrasing on the 's' on the word 'song' and 't' on 'torn' is exquisite.
2. 'Because We Are In Love' - the first time Karen sings those words on the chorus is just sublime...so low, rich and intimate. One of the very best examples of the 'sexiness' in Karen's voice.
3. 'Remember When Lovin' Took All Night' - in the first chorus, I love the way Karen sings the line 'it's been so wrong/you've been gone too long', she really sings it with abandon, it sounds so great. She doesn't quite match it the second time she sings it.
4. Any examples of Karen's vocal fry (which we've been talking about in another thread)!
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
For me it's very specifically the vocal harmony sound they created. There's certain moments when it really hits.
Breathtaking.

I bet you I'm probably weirder...

At one point I named these moments "Carpenter-gasms". O__o

At first during "Close to you" it would be past 2 min mark "so they sprinkled moon dust in your hair..."
It's the words "golden starlight". As the vocals come together on "gold". I would play that over and over.
I have no idea why. Just such a full sound I guess.

And "Maybe it's you". During the chorus I always loved "his only thought is love for me" particularly the moment they come together on the word "thought".

I used to repeat "keep them safe and warm" on "Bless the beasts" because it did sound so warm.

"Corn fed chords appeal to me"... believe me "Goofus" got it's repeats too during the beginning part with their close harmonies and especially that great "oooo" at the end.

The ending of "One love" and "Crystal lullaby". The harmonies are so good!

I used to play the sax solo of "Touch me when we're dancing" over and over because of the vocal overdubs in there. I liked the drums too. For sure this one I'd do over and over. One of my fav parts. When I heard the isolated vocals from the SACD album and I got to hear the "aaahs" louder I was amazed once more. It's so spot on. Or are they more "heeehs" rather than "aaaahs". Still I love it.

"Those good old dreams" chorus makes me nuts. Get the headphones on and I'm completely lost in there.
Good luck trying to find me. XD

"(Want you) Back in my life again" used to be one I'd play over and over too. When they jump in there with their sound during the chorus I'm amazed. After all these years. Super tight harmonies. It's studio perfection.

"Without a song" from "Interpretations" rocks my world too. The acapella breakdown in "Somebody's been lyin" is similar. I like that part too.

Parts of "Slow dance" like "Dance with meeeee" or the ending "Someone like you hooowhoaaaa". I'm melting.

Sometimes I like some of those vocals mixed in there so it's almost ambient and takes on a 'smokey' kind of quality. I can't really explain it obviously.

Oh, and the 1980 medley drives me nutty too. "Knowing when to leave" gets a repeat! The "day after days an each night after night". Then, when Karen sings "We've only just begun" ten years after it's initial release and she goes "and we'll smile" one more time... It makes me cry. "Smile" sounds particularly magical.

So, yea I will re-live these moments from time to time. You think it would wear off eventually, but nope.
I've been a solid listener for ten years. I'm still hooked.
 

Actorman

Well-Known Member
Musically, one little snippet that I absolutely love and which pops into my head at random moments is the very beginning of "Love Is Surrender." The opening drum beat and that keyboard line that is repeated twice right before Karen comes in with "talk about love..." I also love the trumpet line that plays under the line "you must surrender if you care."
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Ok...The STOP!!! Beginning Postman is my fave demanding listens. Tickets don't care air. The opening notes and vocals at Only Yesterday. The xtended Close 2 U's fade in of wah at end. I get Goofus and corn fed chords. Bwana's ohwah. The closing of Occupants and ahhhh ah ah ah. Those Good ol Dreams lovin u and Karen's voice at child's eyes on Christmas night and...the harmonies in Kiss Me the Way. I could go on and will after work.
 

70sFan

Member
Ok...The STOP!!! Beginning Postman is my fave demanding listens. Tickets don't care air. The opening notes and vocals at Only Yesterday. The xtended Close 2 U's fade in of wah at end. I get Goofus and corn fed chords. Bwana's ohwah. The closing of Occupants and ahhhh ah ah ah. Those Good ol Dreams lovin u and Karen's voice at child's eyes on Christmas night and...the harmonies in Kiss Me the Way. I could go on and will after work.
I agree with the "Stop!" Especially when the Marvelettes and the Beatles said "Wait!". That alone makes me want to listen to it over and over.
 

70sFan

Member
Although there are countless examples and many of you are right on the mark, my all-time favorite is when in "Sometimes" Karen sings "...and I count the times I have forgotten to say Thank You, and just how much I love them". The phrasing is perfect. The vocals are rich, beautiful and heartfelt. I can keep repeating it over and over.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
The beginning of the second verse in "Hurting Each Other", when it's just Karen and a little percussion...."Closer than the leaves on a weeping willow, baby, we are..."
The final "pray" on "Little Altar Boy", mentioned earlier...my eyes actually teared up a bit the first time I heard that. Stunning.
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member
The vocal "bah"s and "bada bada"s with Karen and Richard towards the end of "Mr. Guder". The whole song is kooky in lyric and arrangement, but that's the coolest part.

I think somebody else mentioned the extended ending of Close to You as well. OH MAN was I super-excited when I discovered that! :uhhuh:
 
I've noticed over the years that there are short segments of Carpenters songs that I play over and over just because I like something about it. Maybe it’s the way Karen sings a word, forms a phrase, or shapes a note; maybe something about the arrangement grabs me and won’t let go. Whatever it is, I find myself listening to that portion of the song again and again, without playing the rest of it.

Let me give you a couple of examples. One of my favorites comes around the 2.45 mark of “Close to You" when Karen echoes herself and sings “just like me” in the background. There’s something about the timbre of that phrase that simply captivates me. I can play that part by itself ten times in a row and never tire of it. (The funny things is that I didn’t really notice it until I heard the official karaoke version of the song many years later. After that I was hooked.)

Another short section that I’ve played lots of times can be found near the end of “When it’s Gone (It’s Just Gone)”. Around the 4.26 mark, just before the song fades to a close, there are a series of six bell-like notes. I don’t know what instrument is playing them, but they always give me a sense of closure and resolution when I hear them. I don’t have the musical vocabulary to tell you why; I just know I feel that way. And whenever I play that song I typically play that part of it four or five times.

I could offer lots more examples, but I'm wondering if any of you have favorite snippets of Carpenters songs that you return to and play repeatedly. Or am I the only weird one?
I just wanted to say that I thought I was the only one that did this! It is nice to know that I am not alone in repeating a part of a Carpenters song over just to hear it again and again! It's usually the way Karen pronounces a word or the harmonies. I Love it!

Here's my latest example:
In the live version (Japan)... Mr. Guder.... I love the way she pronounces "moment" in "may I have a Moment with you" I play it over and over!
 

70sFan

Member
What about the way Richard punched up the intro of Jambalaya on GOLD? It is easy to restart it when playing a CD. I don't think I would keep repeating it id it were an l.p.
 

70sFan

Member
I've noticed over the years that there are short segments of Carpenters songs that I play over and over just because I like something about it. Maybe it’s the way Karen sings a word, forms a phrase, or shapes a note; maybe something about the arrangement grabs me and won’t let go. Whatever it is, I find myself listening to that portion of the song again and again, without playing the rest of it.

Let me give you a couple of examples. One of my favorites comes around the 2.45 mark of “Close to You" when Karen echoes herself and sings “just like me” in the background. There’s something about the timbre of that phrase that simply captivates me. I can play that part by itself ten times in a row and never tire of it. (The funny things is that I didn’t really notice it until I heard the official karaoke version of the song many years later. After that I was hooked.)

Another short section that I’ve played lots of times can be found near the end of “When it’s Gone (It’s Just Gone)”. Around the 4.26 mark, just before the song fades to a close, there are a series of six bell-like notes. I don’t know what instrument is playing them, but they always give me a sense of closure and resolution when I hear them. I don’t have the musical vocabulary to tell you why; I just know I feel that way. And whenever I play that song I typically play that part of it four or five times.

I could offer lots more examples, but I'm wondering if any of you have favorite snippets of Carpenters songs that you return to and play repeatedly. Or am I the only weird one?
I think this discussion is a lot of fun, thanks!
 

Timmerman

Member
Recently I've been really into the backing vocals in "Goodbye To Love". The electrifying guitar solo by Tony Peluso grabs much of the attention, but listen to the backing vocals leading into it. I had heard it before, but the SACD of "The Singles 1969-1973" reminded me just how much I loved that vocal sound.
 

70sFan

Member
Recently I've been really into the backing vocals in "Goodbye To Love". The electrifying guitar solo by Tony Peluso grabs much of the attention, but listen to the backing vocals leading into it. I had heard it before, but the SACD of "The Singles 1969-1973" reminded me just how much I loved that vocal sound.
I just did, and you are correct! Thanks
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member
Recently I've been really into the backing vocals in "Goodbye To Love". The electrifying guitar solo by Tony Peluso grabs much of the attention, but listen to the backing vocals leading into it. I had heard it before, but the SACD of "The Singles 1969-1973" reminded me just how much I loved that vocal sound.
For me, the small hook in that recording is the drum/cymbal beat at about 3:40. You can hear it especially well on this SACD audio channel.
 

Don Malcolm

Well-Known Member
Great, great thread, with so many terrific examples of why we are all here and still enthralled by the greatness of the music.

My moment: the out-of-nowhere "They don't know!" that bridges the verse to the chorus in "Road Ode." I wait for it every time I hear the song, and it never, ever disappoints. Totally kick-ass!!
 

Must Hear This Album

Well-Known Member
Great thread. I share so many of the above-listed “goosebumps” moments with fellow “super-fans" and won’t repeat them, but I’ve always felt one of Karen’s very best vocal moments ever recorded starts at the 3:20 mark of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” especially when her vocals soar on the phrase, “...Hang your shining star above the highest boooooough...” Amazing. And after she blows listeners away with her vocals on the word, “bough,” she beautifully contrasts that powerhouse musical moment with a whispered, “...and have yourself (tender pause) a mer-ry lit-tle Chris... (hold it!) tmas... (hold it!) noooooow...” Sigh. Simply exquisite. If there’s a better performance of this song, I’ve not heard it (sorry, Judy Garland fans!).
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
For me, the small hook in that recording is the drum/cymbal beat at about 3:40. You can hear it especially well on this SACD audio channel.
I'd never listened to that SACD track all the way through until now - what strikes me about the last minute and a half is how boring it sounds without the guitar solo and all the choral overdubs. It proves what a genius Richard was to lay down the track like this at the initial stage of bass, piano and drums only, while having a complete picture in his head of the finished product all along.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Thanks for all the replies. They prompted me to listen to songs I haven't in a while, to hear what little hooks others find captivating. As GaryAlan mentioned, the endings of "Two Sides" and "Little Altar Boy" are two outstanding examples, both of which I have played a bazillion times. The three wistful wordless phrases that Karen sings at the end of "Two Sides" are among my favorite sounds that ever came from her mouth. The harmonies on "You", as Harry mentioned, get repeated repeats when I play that song. But another snippet of "You" that I just love is the almost imperceptible harpsichord around the 2.45 mark. I don't know why but it grabs me. Similarly, the chorus of "Sandy" and those gorgeous harmonies transport me to another place. I usually find myself paying particular attention to the phrase "you know how rainy weather", especially Karen's lower harmony part on the word "weather". In fact, just now, as I sit here in a little coffeeshop in Nashville before heading to work I've played that part of "Sandy" another five or six times! I'm glad to know I'm not all that weird for doing so.:)
 
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