• 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

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Burt would be OK, but Hal David might be a bit upset...
 

Tapdancer

Well-Known Member
The most amazing part of that line is the fact that they 'punched' their way through the words "in your hair" at odds with the rhythm of the rest of the line. Genius.
Just listened to Dionne Warwick's original, and it makes one appreciate what a difference Richard made to that line!

Does anybody remember the video where Burt Bacharach heaped praise on Richard's slow-shuffle arrangement? He said with it's dotted eighth's and sixteenth notes, RC turned "Close to You" into the perfect song. Bacharach was kicking himself that he hadn't even thought about that rhythm when he wrote the song.
 

lucky24

New Member
I also love that part - & also on that song... the second time we hear You are my heart and my soul... my inspiration...

Also before the song ends on Karen's last time singing "you are one of the few things worth remembering" I like the 3 part background harmonies singing "you are one". Very effective and beautiful I think.
 

lucky24

New 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 love harmonies on
Bacharach David medley on tan album. Richards arrangements are amazing. Live versions of the medley in Australia I like at the end when after 'San jose' they add "go while the going is good, walk on by walk on by walk on by." Then finish. Well put together. Everything they did was amazing. I've loved them since I was 8. 43 now

Good old dreams : bacground harmonies "I've dreamed of you" after Karen's "all my life I've dreamed of you"

1982 knowing when to leave music music music medley: karen sings "just like a fool i dont know" then she sings "when" and then the harmonies in back echo her with a big "when" which joins her main vocal completing the phrase "to leave." Beautiful.
just as listeners love Karen's voice, I was intrigued with the harmonies and getting a kick in hearing her in the backgrounds with Richard. I love their music
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The opening "thump...............thump thump..............., Thump................thump thump thump thump" of "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song".

Harry
 

lucky24

New Member
Rainy days: very cleverly arranged. karens lead vocal singing "hanging around" followed by her voice in the background echoing "hanging around" leading into beautiful harmonies while her lead carries on singing "nothing to do but frown."
 

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
I love harmonies on
Bacharach David medley on tan album. Richards arrangements are amazing. Live versions of the medley in Australia I like at the end when after 'San jose' they add "go while the going is good, walk on by walk on by walk on by." Then finish. Well put together. Everything they did was amazing. I've loved them since I was 8. 43 now

Good old dreams : bacground harmonies "I've dreamed of you" after Karen's "all my life I've dreamed of you"

1982 knowing when to leave music music music medley: karen sings "just like a fool i dont know" then she sings "when" and then the harmonies in back echo her with a big "when" which joins her main vocal completing the phrase "to leave." Beautiful.
just as listeners love Karen's voice, I was intrigued with the harmonies and getting a kick in hearing her in the backgrounds with Richard. I love their music
on that same medley on make it easy on yourself - when Karen sings, "If the way I hold you can't compare with her caress... and Richard says "Caress"..." No words of consolation will make me miss you less......." - man - that's fireworks for me...
 
Coming out of the bridge of "Little Alter Boy", Karen sings the main line with minimal accompaniment and such vulnerability before the choir is brought in. At this moment, nothing else in the world exists except for a spiritual awakening and lots of tears.
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member

Another hook! :D

This entire song.

If I had to be particular, though:
The melody! Crystal Lullaby almost echoes this piece, with its light piano work and elegant string sweeps.
I absolutely love the overdubs where they change tone and sing "Few are the choices we are given" -- especially the second time. It almost sounds like a hymn. Then right after, Richard sings "Few the choices we are given".
The backing vocals while Karen sings "now I can't help but believe, that my whole life will be...". They go "ooooo-ooohhhh...whole life will beeeee-eeee". Gorgeous -- especially if you're wearing headphones -- this stuff just jumps right out at you.
 
Last edited:

song4u

Well-Known Member

Another hook! :D

This entire song.

If I had to be particular, though:
The melody! Crystal Lullaby almost echoes this piece, with its light piano work and elegant string sweeps.
I absolutely love the overdubs where they change tone and sing "Few are the choices we are given" -- especially the second time. It almost sounds like a hymn. Then right after, Richard sings "Few the choices we are given".
The backing vocals while Karen sings "now I can't help but believe, that my whole life will be...". They go "ooooo-ooohhhh...whole life will beeeee-eeee". Gorgeous -- especially if you're wearing headphones -- this stuff just jumps right out at you.
I enjoy reading your perceptions of songs as a newer fan. You pick up on the same things that some of us did back in the 70's. Nice to know there are still people interested and feeling the music like we did. :agree:
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
(A Place To) Hideaway when Karen sings "I saved my pennies for a rainy day" and then in the background Karen shadows herself with "Saved them for a rainy day".......... it's that background vocal that I could put on repeat all day long!
I hadn't played "Hideaway" in a few years and revisited it this weekend. I, too, was captivated by that particular part. The harmonies are so sweet. I played it over and over.
 

theninjarabbit

Well-Known Member
What's this? A "One Love" remix from 1994? Dang you, Sweet Memories set -- neither traces on YouTube nor music samples exist. I know it also contains the wonderfully-hooking freshening of "Another Song", another (heheh) undiscovered gem, for which the only video (that I know of) on YouTube was taken down. I want to hear these remixes so badly -- I remember looping "Another" over and over... :sigh:
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Tony, we are twins, separated at birth!

I also sometimes play - yes, 10 times in a row - those moments in the second verse where it all comes together. Sublime, and as you say, absolutely exquisite.

Such a gentle song, yet Richard's arrangement still finds its climax (as good as one will find in any classical music, this being to my ears so reminiscent of a Bach cantata) in the line

"...o-o-nly t-i-i-i-i-ME W-I-I-L-L TELL US so-o-o-o-o....."

in what is an almost serendipitous coming together of 4 separate rhythms :

(i) Karen's phrasing of the lyric and (ii) Joe Osbourne's bass line, both floating over (iii) a gentle bossa nova drumbeat -more like a heartbeat - and (iv) the chiming-in of harmonies at that moment in double time.

Whether by accident or design, the way those beats fell, Richard must have been pinching himself!

Karen naturally phrased using a lot of "triplets" and such. Richard enjoyed them as well and wrote them into certain rhythmic patterns and orchestration. This came from their jazz background primarily. :)
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Karen naturally phrased using a lot of "triplets" and such. Richard enjoyed them as well and wrote them into certain rhythmic patterns and orchestration. This came from their jazz background primarily. :)
Chris, for those of us who, like me, lack a musical vocabulary, could you give a couple of concrete examples of Karen's phrasing using "triplets"?
 

NowhereMan

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
The instrumental duets at the ends of "(A Place to) Hideaway" and "I Can't Make Music" are particularly moving to me, especially the violin and harmonica at the end of "ICMM." It is incredibly beautiful and melancholy.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Chris, for those of us who, like me, lack a musical vocabulary, could you give a couple of concrete examples of Karen's phrasing using "triplets"?

Not Chris, but I think I can give a pointer to some triplets.

1 - "Let Me Be The One" - Right off the bat in the second measure, "...if you should..." is a triplet. It's three notes that fill up the space of two. The song is in 4/4 time, so a quarter note gets one beat. In this phrase, "Some sleepless night..., the word "night" starts the second measure of the song, and it's a half note. That means it gets two of the four beats in the measure, leaving just two beats left before the start of the next measure. Within those two beats, the song takes the space of those two beats and puts in three equal notes of slightly shorter duration.

2. - "Maybe It's You" - Again, right at the start, the first three "may-be it's" are all triplets: three eighth-notes that occupy the normal space of two. That song is full of triplets.

3. - "For All We Know" - In the opening phrase "Love------look at the", those last three words are a triplet. Later on, "I'll feel you" and "a-lone will" continue the use of triplets in this song.

4. - We've Only Just Begun" - "white lace and"

Harry
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Thanks Harry! So are triplets (and presumably other similar elements) something a singer may or may not use, based on their own personal phrasing on a given song? Or are such things written into the song?
 
Top Bottom