• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

Small parts of Carpenters songs that hook you

MorningOpensQuietly

Well-Known Member
I agree with so many posted! A couple of my other favorites of Karen's vocals: The final rhyming phrases of each verse before the chorus in I Won't Last a Day Without You: "care...there; smile...worthwhile; rest...best", and of course, And When He Smiles with her phrasing of "the happiest boy that I ever knew" followed by that mesmerizing flute solo.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I'll Be Home.. .. . .. .You can count on MEEEEEEEE
When it's gone. .. .. her final recitation of the title as it drifts away
Little Alter Boy. . . ."Lift up your voice" (the second time the phrase is sung)
AYGFLIALS. .. the entire sax solo and everything going on with BG vocals etc.
AS4U. . . ."I love you in a place" etc.
I Have You. . .the final line of the chorus "Sometimes, feeling helpless. . . ."

That'll do for now

Neil
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Uninvited Guest. . . .the steel guitars in the instrumental break
Solitaire. . ."A little hope/Goes up in smoke" again with the lilting steel guitars after each line.
Crystal Lullaby. . .the final minute as the cymbals crash and fade away and the blended backgrounds flow toward you like crashing waves. . .the remix is great for the final moments of this song. . . would love to have this one on SACD.
Yesterday Once More (reprise). . .reverb and Karen are (usually)a match made in heaven.
Aurora/Eventide/Invocation/Benediction. . . .really showcase the poetry in Bettis' words.

I'll stop now. . .or I'll pretty much go through 1/3 of their entire catalogue.

Take care guys,

Neil
 

Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
It's the beginning of 'Johnny Angel' that does it for me. When the 'Now & Then' album was released on CD, I played that opening part of the song over and over again. It just demonstrates Karen's amazing vocal range and the expertise of Richard's arranging.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Oh wow! I had forgotten about the beginning of "Johnny Angel". That may be my single most-played portion of a Carpenters song. I used to play that part over and over again just to hear those incredible harmonies.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The soaring vocal harmonies in "The warmth of you had gone" (from "Another Song" on Close to You ... one of the reasons why I still rank that album No. 1 among the Carpenters' studio albums).

I've always thought Another Song sounds like a throwback from the Offering album (and in fact I think it was written during that period). It would have sat perfectly on there.
 
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Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
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.:)

Almost every Wurlitzer electric piano lick on every record.
 

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
I want to give fresh listen to a few things as well...

But some that immediately come to mind are:

1) After long enough of being alone..
2) The whole first two verses of Uninvited Guest. but most especially, 'just like the old song, 'Torn between two lovers'...
3) Original recording of Merry Christmas Darling, BUT every day's a holiday when I'm near to you.
4) ...a shadow vision over me... (Aurora)
5) Make It Easy On Yourself in 1980 Medley. Verses and particularly, the second verse, second line, as Richard breaks in with background echo of the word caress.
6) the crescendo, coming out of the second part of the musical interlude on I just Fall in Love Again....
7) When Karen begins her part on Do You Hear What I Hear
9) The words: 'Frosted Window Panes'
10) So constantly stranded, I can;t understand it - this double life you've handed me - is like the devil and the deep blue sea.... Plus the second verse on that one... If we go on much longer... etc...

That was a fast top ten / not necessarily in any order...
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
"Close to you" probably trumps their entire catalogue, and it is (according to rolling stone) one of the best albums of all time.
It's the "Thriller" of their career if you will... it's one of those achievements an artist spends the rest of their career to try and chase... but you can never capture it again... so it seems.

To add, I've found "Strength of a woman" to be underrated. From those buried "aaahs" in the beginning to Karen's surreal reading during the verses and those backing vocals subtle as they are, are still rather nice..."ooo I know your trying..." Karen actually does a fantastic job here.

When you try to sing these things yourself you realize even more... wait a minute this is incredible!
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I bet that if we had the chance to hear some of the isolated vocals from their vocally harmonized chords you'd hear notes in there you wouldn't recognize or think to be in there. It's my guess that they've done some complicated melody lines within their songs. Not just the lead, but also when those backing vocals come in.

I remember the time I watched a mini-doc "Inside the Rhapsody", Brian May was at the control board and he isolated overdubbed vocal from a chord Freddie Mercury did on "Bohemian Rhapsody". It sounded rather funny on it's own.

Wouldn't that be cool to hear from Carpenters? I only try to pick out the different notes within something like the intro to "Without a song", but my ears aren't that good. hahaha Obviously comes into full effect when it's all put together. Just out of interest it would be fascinating to hear the different isolated elements in the block harmonies.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I bet that if we had the chance to hear some of the isolated vocals from their vocally harmonized chords you'd hear notes in there you wouldn't recognize or think to be in there. It's my guess that they've done some complicated melody lines within their songs. Not just the lead, but also when those backing vocals come in.

I remember the time I watched a mini-doc "Inside the Rhapsody", Brian May was at the control board and he isolated overdubbed vocal from a chord Freddie Mercury did on "Bohemian Rhapsody". It sounded rather funny on it's own.

Wouldn't that be cool to hear from Carpenters? I only try to pick out the different notes within something like the intro to "Without a song", but my ears aren't that good. hahaha Obviously comes into full effect when it's all put together. Just out of interest it would be fascinating to hear the different isolated elements in the block harmonies.

I've ALWAYS wanted to hear/see a documentary like that with the Carpenters. I remember seeing the Rhapsody one and marvelling at how some of the harmonies on the line "thunderbolts and lightening very very frightening me" only varied by a semitone all the way through. They made no sense in isolation until Brian gradually turned up some of the other harmony tracks until the full harmony chord was revealed. Very, very complicated, sophisticated stuff and obviously there will be mountains of Carpenters tracks that would reveal similar things if you stripped them back. Tracks I'd love to hear like that:

  1. Only Yesterday
  2. You ("beyond your eyes")
  3. Without A Song
  4. Strength Of A Woman
  5. If I Had You
  6. Remember When Lovin Took All Night
  7. Bacharach/David Medley
  8. Road Ode
  9. Close To You
  10. Love Is Surrender
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I'm glad that when I mentioned something like that there was someone else who knew exactly what I was talking about. :) It was "thunderbolts and lighting..."

There are youtube videos that come to mind for "Remember when loving took all night" and "Only yesterday" that gives us a sense of the complexity of those harmonies.

From the isolated centre input from the SACD recording for "Only yesterday" you hear Richard's line during the chorus...


Try singing along with that. :razz:

And as for RWLTAN...

Listen at 2:07 to about 2:32. I'm not sure what the person did, but this is as close as I've heard to experiencing this song in any isolated kind of way.


That channel has some other manipulated Carpenters tracks that peer into their harmonies.
Just quickly taking a listen to "Yesterday once more" like that it has never sounded more complex. Interesting!
 
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Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Oh gosh for me, there are dozens of "chill factors". For time's sake, I've limited to the first five that come to mind.

1. "We've Only Begun", sung 4-part, (3) voices each part - 12 tracks; performed just following verse one, followed by Richard's "And Yes We've Just Begun. This followed by " So much of life ahead...we'll find a place where there's room to *grow*. It's thatheard on the '91 remix, especially the instrumental track - those harmonics were SO tight, that I wish they would have done a better job of mixing with that in mind over the years given the various remixing.

2. "(They Long To Be) Close to You" The the biggest grabber here is the v0col double that sets up the second bridge - "On the day that you were born"...into "So They Sprinkled moondust in you hair..."

3. "Superstar":: Pretty much everything about this one nails for me; but
"...it's just the radio..." note held out, with lowest "C" possible being played on he piano.

4. Joe's bass lines in general. Same feeling f0r "For All We We Know" (which by the way have an outstanding execution of the backing vocal arrangement as well - VERY well wr0=o

5. I'm also very fond of Richard's use of the Wurlitzer electric piano licks throughout many of the Carpenters tracks (i.e. "We've Only", "Supersar"Rainy Days" "Let Me Be The One", "For All We know", "Top Of The World","Ticket to Ride", "Yesterday Once More", "Only Yesterday."
 

kprather

Well-Known Member
Two that come to mind:

The End of the World: The final "goodbye" which dips lower and lower. For full effect, listen to the "Reader's Digest" version without Tony the Bone's voice jumping in at the end.

One More Time: The seemingly impossible breath behind the line "...of folks and friends who lie back home, where things are slow and easy going."
 

NowhereMan

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
There is something about the way Karen sings the second verse of "For All We Know" that always gives me goosebumps, especially when she goes into "Let's take a lifetime to say..." and does that cool little melisma on "for only time."
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
One More Time: The seemingly impossible breath behind the line "...of folks and friends who lie back home, where things are slow and easy going."

This one resonated with me the first time I ever heard it and every time since. Definitely a chill factor moment!
 

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
There is something about the way Karen sings the second verse of "For All We Know" that always gives me goosebumps, especially when she goes into "Let's take a lifetime to say..." and does that cool little melisma on "for only time."
that same line live can be lovely also... she takes a small melodic vocal liberty with the I Knew You Well line... that is always nifty to hear...
 
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