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Small parts of Carpenters songs that hook you

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Tony, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    'Solitaire' used to hypnotise me when it was a single being played on the radio. I must have listened to it a million times over the years. If I did play a snippet of a song over and over again, it would be the very last 'Solitaire' in the song, just to enjoy Karen's warm, rich, deep tone and that long-held note.

    A snippet of a song that I actually have played over and over is the first section of 'California Dreaming' before the drums come in and the tempo speeds up. The melancholy of it is delicious. Of course, it's partly the melody and the background meaning to the lyrics that gives the opening verse such impact. But Richard has also created a wonderful piano arrangement to underpin the whole thing. Then add Karen's brilliant, emotive vocal and you have a perfect combination for such a song. An amazing vocal in that first section for a seventeen-year-old girl. Just piano and voice, and the effect is heavenly.
  2. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Agree with your comment concerning California Dreamin'. I always wondered if this song might had been included in the "demos" that Herb Alpert heard before he signed the duo. Love it when Karen comes out of the operatic intro and just belts out; "stopped into a CHURCH!" Her voice had an "edge" at that point that I wish she would've used more during her career. And at 17 yrs, she is playing drums that proficiently, when she took up the instrument at 15 yrs?! AMAZING!!
    Tony and Brian like this.
  3. David A

    David A Active Member

    I could just say "Superstar" because that entire song gives me the goose bumps. But in particular, when Karen sings "I lo-ove you...I really, do..." with a light vocal fry on "I"...just...damn.
  4. Speaking of "Superstar", I often wonder does Miss Karen ever take a breath during this lyric: "Loneliness is such a sad affair, and I can hardly wait to be with you again"? It doesn't sound like it and if not, that's just astounding breath control!
    Brian likes this.
  5. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    If she could ever improve on her vocal for 'Superstar', she does so in the 1971 televised BBC live performance. Speaking of breath control, on the BBC, she sings, "Baby, baby, baby, baby oh baby, I love you...." all in one breath, which she doesn't do on the record, and somehow, it gives the chorus even more impact.
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Although Karen's ability to sing lengthy phrases without a breath is well known, she doesn't in this particular case. I've indicated the breaths below (marked "/"):

    Loneliness (/) is such a sad affair (/), and I can hardly wait to be with you again.

    So the last half is done in one breath, but not the whole thing.
    Brian likes this.
  7. Even just the last half of that phrase is quite impressive. I wonder then, what is Karen's longest one-breath phrase? I'm sure it must have been documented by someone...
  8. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    At one point I seem to remember that the opening verse of Goodbye to Love was the longest phrase on a breath. But, it wouldn't surprise me if Karen singing "kiss" in From This Moment On didn't edge it out.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    This one must rank up there in the top two or three:

    "Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by and all I know of love is how to live without it"
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Her live performances on that BBC TV special solidified my conversion as a Karen Carpenter fanatic. The entire presentation was a giant "chill fest" for me. And her doing Superstar with that little dance/sway move in between stanzas, definitely an OMG moment for sure...:)
  11. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    The way Karen lingers as she sings "Front door" on Ordinary Fool. WOW.
  12. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    I haven't listened to Sailing On The Tide for a long time, but with all the discussion on Passage lately I thought I'd revisit the out takes, including You're The One. I'm not completely sold on some of the lyrics (the chorus is a bit Sesame Street somehow, though I really enjoy Sing these days so I'm not consistent in my logic). However, I love the instrumental section at the end and have been listening to it a lot lately. Joe Osborn's bass playing is particularly impressive. It reminds me of the ending of Happy in a way, which maybe isn't surprising given the Tony Peluso connection. They both even have that snippet of clapping that's reminiscent of that bit in the Friends theme tune).
  13. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Love that song! Another example of Karen digging deep down into her soul and "living" the lyrics.
    BarryT60 likes this.
  14. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    A bit off topic, but let's just call it a "palate cleanser". Why we love Karen (all Karens). One of the great baby boomer female names (my wife's name is Karen). The greatest "Karen" moment in cinematic history;
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, for those who haven't heard the song
    Something's Missing....
    there is a place near the end of the song when Karen holds the lyric
    Strong, clear as a bell, soaring to great heights....
    It grabs me every time......
    newvillefan and Jeff like this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I like that note too!
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    What Are You Doing New Year's Eve:
    Every instance where Karen sings the lyric,
    "...received..." her vocals soar......
    (especially, in the later half of the song)

    In any event, great song for Karen's vocal register and nuances.
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The point where she sings this towards the end of the song also signals the key change, a lovely touch. This has always been my favourite of all the Christmas tracks they recorded and definitely my favourite KC Christmas vocal (although there are many which technically are more difficult or impressive, like Ave Maria and Little Altar Boy).
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  19. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    The Carpenters recorded the rarely heard opening verse of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "The Christmas Song", and "White Christmas". "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" also has an opening verse, but the Carpenters recording omits it. I wonder why? There's a question I would like to ask Richard! (Chris May, are you listening?) :)
    newvillefan likes this.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I didn't even know that the song had an opening verse. That would be a great question to ask Richard!

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I love this thread! haha
    All of you sharing the moments we can hardly put into words.
    Awesome to see like minded people bring up those goose bump moments.

    Karen delivered many, and the fact that she didn't have to do many takes is incredible.

    I like the rare moments that don't seem planned too.
    I've listened to Ordinary Fool more lately. There's a little "mmm" at the end of Ordinary Fool that gives it a nice finish.
    Her little things like in "Last one singing the blues" saying "don't forget the break".
    What a great thing to leave in! haha
    Evertime I say it with her. XD
    Or the extended version of "Let me be the one" where she goes "figure out where the rest of the melody is..."
    I'd love to hear more studio chatter. Just a little more goofing. :wink:
    Gives it character for sure.

    My other favourite for a small part would have to go to "Without a song"... it hooks me every time. Headphones or Loud speakers. Just that beginning minute turns me into melted butter. :)
    Chris Mills likes this.
  22. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I watched biographies on YouTube this past weekend and took a break while watching the Bob Hope Special with the A Song For You performance by the Carpenters and it reminded me that the vocal overdubs after the phrase listen to the melody.... is the phrase.... the love is in there hiding....it is one of my favorite sections in a Carpenters song...perfect harmony!
  23. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I so love the concert footage/vocals (thinking Australia 1972) of Karen singing Make It Easy On Yourself, Any Day Now, and her impromptu live rendition of A House Is Not A Home on MYOKOM that I wish these songs could have been included on albums as "stand alone" tracks. Maybe on the non-existent 1974 studio album; should it have been allowed to happen...Pull them out of the medley like you did with I'll Never Fall In Love Again on the "Close To You" album. But having the medley included on the 1971 ST album assured that this would never come to pass. Just awesome Karen performances IMHO.
  24. David A

    David A Active Member

    I had not listened to 'Solitaire' in a long time. Just listened to it. My God. "Hypnotize" is right. I know it's subjective, but is there a song that better displays Karen's vocal acumen? Just amazing.
    Jamesj75, BarryT60 and Brian like this.
  25. I personally like Road Ode it's probably my favorite Carpenters number approx area I like is 1.44 - 2.10 , but I really love this song so much apart from Solitaire and A Song For You its my top Song by them.
    Brian likes this.

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