• The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available. Use this link to order, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

Small parts of Carpenters songs that hook you

Carpenters Apprentice

Active Member
For me as well. And don't forget her treatment of "melody" on that same Yesterday Once More tune...

I know it's subtle, but I've always enjoyed Karen's vocalization of the word "me". Instead of "meeee" it's more of a "muh-eee" with a bit more emphasis on the "m". Just another thing to appreciate about our beloved Karen!
 
Last edited:

Another Son

Well-Known Member
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.
I love 'Road Ode' as well. The melancholy but warm, engaging and conversational quality of Karen's vocal in the first two verses, especially, before the first chorus, is all at once attention-grabbing, endearing and captivating.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Absolutely !
Solitaire, as many have noted is a slow-boil ballad.
But, as I have pointed out,
This Masquerade and I Can't Make Music
fall under that same rubric (slow).

But, really, Solitaire has it all.

Interesting how the use of the Pipe Organ (Single Solitaire)
provided the gravitas for both
Solitaire and I Can't Make Music
to great effect in the arrangement.

Richard Carpenter (Solitaire, Gold Liner Notes):
"Why I felt that those two additions
(guitar and pipe organ)
were worth all the trouble and expense incurred is beyond me now."
(To this comment , I say.....wake up Richard !)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Richard Carpenter (Solitaire, Gold Liner Notes):
"Why I felt that those two additions
(guitar and pipe organ)
were worth all the trouble and expense incurred is beyond me now."
(To this comment , I say.....wake up Richard !)

Solitaire with the added pipe organ is infinitely better than the album version.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
The added pipe organ and guitar added to Karen’s voice just make Solitaire soar and with each and every listen chills climb up my spine to the top of my head. It is exactly what the song needed for radio play. I wish I had heard this single version on the radio each time, but often the album version was played. I do feel that had there been television promotion on for it the single would have reached the top ten. Karen looked great for TV that year. It was opposite a typical summer song, but it a strong ballad, and sometimes those strong opposites make a difference!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
When we hear the doubling of Karen's background vocals:
"...on my own way..."
in Somebody's Been Lying.....

I'd like to hear more of that type of "background" on Made In America....
 

BarryT60

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;
Ray Liotta used to be on the soap I watched growing up.... It was the Carpenters, Mary Tyler Moore, and Another World for me... A triple header in the 70's!
 

BarryT60

Well-Known 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.
I liked that reading of the word, Solitaire, for sure, but there's another one that was equally as mesmerizing to me - on the final chorus when the double Karen's and maybe Richard - sort of reverberates on the first syllable of SOLitaire... just before 'And keeping to himself he plays the game'... it's a very climactic portion of the song, and I love the vocal arrangement as well as the musical crescendo...
 

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
When we hear the doubling of Karen's background vocals:
"...on my own way..."
in Somebody's Been Lying.....

I'd like to hear more of that type of "background" on Made In America....
Agreed.... Similarly to that tune, I like the intimacy on An Uninvited Guest. The versus on that song are a vocal triumph for me... Those little cracks in her annunciation... it really is like she is sitting right there next to you as so many have said through the years...
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
I love 'Road Ode' as well. The melancholy but warm, engaging and conversational quality of Karen's vocal in the first two verses, especially, before the first chorus, is all at once attention-grabbing, endearing and captivating.

Like your comment on Road Ode. A nice little hidden gem on the great "A Song For You" album. Karen, once again, nailing the emotional aspects of the lyrics. The fact that the song was written by a couple of her "Spectrum" bandmates was a big plus. I'm sure Gary Sims and Danny Woodhams must have been blown away that the best female singer in the world at that time, was going to record their song and put it on the album.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
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.

It's a decent tune. I know what they were going for but, IMHO, the lyric is pretty rough. It's like they knew what they wanted to say but had trouble saying it. Unfortunately, with a fantastic singer like Karen, lyrical flaws are spotlighted and they are for me here. The song feels very much to me like "We've Only Just Begun" sideways - especially the chorus. I do like the chord changes though.

Ed
 

David A

Well-Known Member
It's a decent tune. I know what they were going for but, IMHO, the lyric is pretty rough. It's like they knew what they wanted to say but had trouble saying it. Unfortunately, with a fantastic singer like Karen, lyrical flaws are spotlighted and they are for me here. The song feels very much to me like "We've Only Just Begun" sideways - especially the chorus. I do like the chord changes though.

Ed

Agreed, on all counts - the lyrics on this make it tough to sing smoothly, but I like the "story" the lyrics attempt to portray. Your "It's like they knew what they wanted to say but had trouble saying it" sums my view as well.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
On the Bacharach/David Medley from 1971, you can hear "woah, woah, woah.....wahhhhhhhhh" & then the instrumental part comes in & someone is laughing!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
On the Bacharach/David Medley from 1971, you can hear "woah, woah, woah.....wahhhhhhhhh" & then the instrumental part comes in & someone is laughing!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI

That laughter was not spontaneous, it was contrived for the record, the same as it was on Jambalaya. Never liked it and it sounded awful whenever performed live. Same as Karen's "yee ha's!"
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I can’t remember if I said this but “Sing” has a few of these moments - most due to Richard’s vocal arrangement:

Karen’s first “to last your WHOLE LIFE LOOOONG”

Second verse - Richard and Karen’s backgrounds as the kids sing

Richard and Karen’s “to last your whole life loooong”.

The kids “la la la la la” behind Richard’s and Karen’s vocal line in the same spot. Masterfully arranged. The kids were made part of the “stack” and it’s genius.

The “Ooh ooh” Richard and Karen do behind the second to last “just sing...sing a song”

The kids on the last one.

Great stuff from Richard all around. His vocal arrangement saves what’s otherwise a pretty cheesy idea.

Ed
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I can’t remember if I said this but “Sing” has a few of these moments - most due to Richard’s vocal arrangement:

Karen’s first “to last your WHOLE LIFE LOOOONG”

Second verse - Richard and Karen’s backgrounds as the kids sing

Richard and Karen’s “to last your whole life loooong”.

The kids “la la la la la” behind Richard’s and Karen’s vocal line in the same spot. Masterfully arranged. The kids were made part of the “stack” and it’s genius.

The “Ooh ooh” Richard and Karen do behind the second to last “just sing...sing a song”

The kids on the last one.

Great stuff from Richard all around. His vocal arrangement saves what’s otherwise a pretty cheesy idea.

Ed
Yes! I agree about the impact of all these moments! Wonderful wafts of sound and melody! Snatches that demonstrate Richard's immense skill.

This recording has been recently canned a bit on one of the other threads but it certainly has a lot of expertly executed moments that hook you, and create echoes of more substantial works that utilise the same techniques, (counter-melody & harmony in choral works, for example).
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
Revisiting this thread as I have been playing "Rainy Days and Monday" recently. So many wonderful moments in this song! I love the final word of the chorus "down" (held for a few seconds) in "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down" (at ~2:06), preceding the saxophone solo.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I'm bringing this thread back to the fore. Just a bit of background: Unlike a lot of participants here, I don't listen to the Carpenters all that frequently. I will sometimes go weeks or even a month or more between listens. Consequently, I sometimes feel that I'm hearing things with new ears. I recently put The Singles: 1969-1973 in my car CD player and was immediately fixated on the way Karen sings the word "find" in the second verse of "Top of the World" ("When this day is through I hope that I will find.") It's so pure that I played it over and over again. I know she was quoted as saying "The money is in the basement," meaning that it was her lower register that made their records stand out, but I often find plenty to like in her head voice. This instance being a case in point.
 

TheOneBeatleManiac

Active Member
Lately, on ''Only Yesterday'' the small progression during on ''Tomorrow may be even brighter than today'' has caught me, specially when Richard sings the last ''today'' delaying the arrival of the C note by suspending it first with a D, and Karen buried in the background singing an F, also suspending a note (the E).
A C9sus4 chord that becomes a C7 when the suspended notes arrive and a seventh is added (which I think its played by the briefly appearance of descending strings), which leads to the F minor chord as C it is the dominant of F.
(P.S. Sorry if I babbled a little with the music theory, I am studying to be a composer).
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
Let's see what comes to mind immediately: 1. Caught Between Goodbye and I Love You. The way she delivers the line "falling both ways, nowhere to land" mesmerizes me. 2. Live at Budokan 1974. Yesterday Once More. The way she delivered the word "and" was different here than other live recordings for some unknown reason. She would slur the note down as low as she could get it, creating a growly sort of sound. 3. You're the One. The way her voice breaks on the very last note, conveying a beautiful level of vulnerability. 4. I Believe You, the 5.1 mix. The way she delivers the "ooh ooh" lines in the alternate vocal take. Those are the few that I can think of right now.
 

Rachel

Someone said that time would ease the pain...
It's not necessarily the way she sings it (albeit she sings everything perfectly), but the words "but not for me" at the end of the second verse of "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song". Hearing those four words. Sad words in and of itself. Sad she never had the chance to record a solo album of standards.
 
Top Bottom