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Small parts of Carpenters songs that hook you

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
From what I've concluded, Karen is a killer background singer.
That's so true. I can't think of any other singer whose background vocals interest me as much as their lead vocals. In some cases Karen's background vocals are the best part of the song for me.

Actually I hate to admit but in a part in "Close to you" there's a little phrase where I didn't realize it was her for a while. Nearing the "whaaas" the higher pitched "just like me".
That little phrase, where Karen sings "just like me" in the background is one of those parts that I've played hundreds of times over and over. It's especially good in the karaoke version. I obsess over it.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
That's so true. I can't think of any other singer whose background vocals interest me as much as their lead vocals. In some cases Karen's background vocals are the best part of the song for me.

One of the best examples of that which comes to mind is 'Slow Dance'. Karen's backing vocals (with Richard) are just sublime on that track. I'm so glad they got as far as putting the background vocals down before it was shelved. It wouldn't sound the same with the OK Chorale.
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
^ I agree. I like "Slow Dance" it's relaxing and to hear them do their own backing again is so nice. The "someone like you" ending is great.
I remember on a GMA interview in '83 Richard saying "to have all that music sitting there just didn't feel right".
That's a case where I really thank him for finishing it and putting it out despite the "young" sounding lyrics.
To me Karen makes it sound more mature. I mean with a voice like that. I re-watched "The Karen Carpenter story" and it's crazy to think during her 20s her voice sounding so much older than one might think very much so during those early recordings too.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I had another of my Carpenters-induced OCD moments this weekend. After reading the thread about the single review of "Sing" I listened to that song for the first time in a while and was immediately taken with the harmonies around 1:55-1:58 on the words "whole life long", especially on the word "long". That sent me into orbit and I'm happy/embarrassed to report that I've now played it dozens of times since yesterday, with the volume dialed up. I wish I could capture that part and have it play continuously because it's so rich and satisfying.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
The instrumental opening of "Now". Woodwinds play the opening melody. It starts with an oboe (I think), then switches to a flute (again, guessing). But it does, so subtly in the mix, it's like the two instruments merge. A little thing, but it's interested me so much much, over the years. It really is a beautiful way to start the last sing his sister ever sang - like one beautiful thing emerging out of another.
 

K.C. Jr

Well-Known Member
The instrumental opening of "Now". Woodwinds play the opening melody. It starts with an oboe (I think), then switches to a flute (again, guessing). But it does, so subtly in the mix, it's like the two instruments merge. A little thing, but it's interested me so much much, over the years. It really is a beautiful way to start the last sing his sister ever sang - like one beautiful thing emerging out of another.
I like the way you described that, ullalume. "Now" is a really beautiful song.
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
One early "chill factor" moment (which could also be considered in "small parts of Carpenters songs that hook you")
is found early in "Baby It's You."

"It's not the way you kiss that tears me apa-a-a-a-a-art."

I was looking for the "chill factor" thread but found that it inexplicably (to me anyway) had been closed to further replies...
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
There are times during "housekeeping" that older threads with no recent responses get closed. In that case, you can always start a new one - or, if there's a good reason that you'd like the old thread re-opened, just ask a moderator.
 

natureaker

Active Member
Oh my, there's so many of them, but I'll just list a few
The "ba" and "daba daba da" parts in Mr. Guder
The beginning of All I Can Do with all the harmonies
The very start of Now right before the lyrics kick in
Towards the end of Superstar where the chorus keeps getting repeated. Oh, and also the closing of the song
In (TLTB) CTY, the "so they sprinkled moon dust in your hair, and golden starlight in your eyes of blue" line gives me goosebumps every time

I would list more, but I don't want this post to include just about all of their songs. They're all just so good! :phones:
 

GATourist

Member
Awesome thread.

There are a million of these for me, as well....and not sure if anyone else feels the same, but sometimes (as well as I know them all)..... they sneak up on me, almost unexpectedly. And that makes it all that much more amazing.

The one that is coming to mind at this moment is on the Bacharach medley, during "Make It Easy On Yourself".....when the harmony goes just a tad staccato during "If this is good-by-ay" and then fades just a bit in intensity on "I just -- (hesitate ever so slightly!) -- know I'm gonna cry-y-ay."

Keep 'em coming. Sigh.
 

GATourist

Member
Just had another a moment ago in the car...

Opening phrase:

"You are the one who makes me happy, when everything ELSE (that gorgeous KC lower register) turns to gray."

Gonna hit it on the Sennheisers when I get home tonight!
 

natureaker

Active Member
Today, this (rather large for a small hook! :D); especially at the end of "A House Is Not A Home", that low note on "goodbye"... it's a crime that all of these snippets never made full versions, especially "House" and "I Wanna Be Free". They could've done an album just like this, with only Karen singing and Rich at the piano.
Truly beautiful. As a fan of The Beatles and The Monkees, I absolutely loved "I Wanna Be Free" and "Good Day Sunshine". And yes, if they did an album with RC at piano and only KC singing, I'd listen to that album ASAP :phones:
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Truly beautiful. As a fan of The Beatles and The Monkees, I absolutely loved "I Wanna Be Free" and "Good Day Sunshine". And yes, if they did an album with RC at piano and only KC singing, I'd listen to that album ASAP :phones:

I've always loved the way she sings the word "Rome" on the song Trains and Boats and Planes :love:
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I so wish they had done a full-length version of "A House is Not a Home." As for small parts of songs that hook me, I've lately revisited "Crescent Noon" after many months away and, as always, I'm completely captivated by the harmonies beginning at 2:26. I play that part over and over and over...
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
I so wish they had done a full-length version of "A House is Not a Home." As for small parts of songs that hook me, I've lately revisited "Crescent Noon" after many months away and, as always, I'm completely captivated by the harmonies beginning at 2:26. I play that part over and over and over...

This was one of my very favorites for many years and I still enjoy listening to it! What I liked about it was that it showcased not only their raw talents, but also Karen's ability to sing live with the same genuine intimacy that she did the records. None of the twang and accentuation heard on much of the later live performances.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
There are so many to list, I don't even know where to start! However this morning as I'm re-reading some of these posts, I'm reminded of the still ever-so-familiar chill factor I get from listening to Karen double her vocals.

The whole concept of breaking from a single-lead vocal into double unison, followed by parts is something that Karen and Richard absolutely nailed! It was first utilized more prominently by The Beatles and The Beach Boys in the 1960s, and then really became a more prominent production value in the 70s with Nilsson, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Queen, etc. There was just something about the way Karen did it and the ambient effect her voice created with it that still gets me to this day no matter how many times I hear it.
 

Murphy

New Member
Two of my favorite "goosebump" moments are from the album "Close To You". That moment on "Another Song" when Karen lets loose with "and oh, the wind sang of you..." is just exhilarating. Also, on "Baby, It's You", when she "many, many, many nights go by", it's the toughest she ever sounded.

But, to be perfectly honest, I have to disagree with two previous comments. I really hated the song Crescent Noon (so depressing) and the way they changed the great original sax solo on Santa Claus Is Coming To Town to that horrible Vegas-lounge remake.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I really hated the song Crescent Noon (so depressing)
"Crescent Noon" certainly has a depressing quality to it, no doubt. It took a while for me to appreciate the song, but it's now one of my favorites. Richard seems to have been influenced by Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 2 when he wrote it, another song with an almost funereal quality to it. In any case, the harmonies on "Crescent Noon" are just sublime IMHO. (Side note: Just what exactly is a crescent noon?)
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
This was one of my very favorites for many years and I still enjoy listening to it! What I liked about it was that it showcased not only their raw talents, but also Karen's ability to sing live with the same genuine intimacy that she did the records. None of the twang and accentuation heard on much of the later live performances.

Totally agree.
 
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