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Album Sides THE ALBUM SIDES [Poll]: "PASSAGE" (SP-4703)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jun 10, 2017.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side 1

    29 vote(s)
  2. Side 2

    6 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Oh, so many great opinions regarding this album.
    I must confess the choice I made supporting Side One over Side Two
    was an agonizing one, as I really love every song---save Man Smart---
    But, even that one song I almost 'like,'
    but, there are a few sounds in that song that come across as being just "noise,"
    And, yet....
    I still love everything about
    Tracey Canton and BarryT60 like this.
  2. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" had a huge impact on me as a teenager. As I've said a few times, it was a Top 5 hit in the state where I live. It's hard to get away from the nostalgia of it. I still love the DJ / alien interaction at the beginning. I greatly prefer the single version. I've always found the album version too long and repetitive and it grates a lot more now that I'm a few years out of my teenage era. :) The single version is still great.

    I disliked 'Man Smart, Woman Smarter' upon first hear and have never changed my opinion.

    'Two Sides' is pleasant but sounds as if it needs something to lift it out of the ordinary. I do love Karen's "Woo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo"s at the very end. :)

    'Sweet, Sweet Smile' has never been a favourite of mine. It's just okay. A bit of an annoying song.

    In territories like Australia and the U.K., where Julie Covington's version of 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina' was a massive hit, fans of Carpenters probably thought, "Why did they record THAT?" I know that was my reaction. We had heard so much of Julie Covington's version that year that the song had outstayed its welcome. I actually think 'On the Balcony' lifts the song a bit, as I feel that Karen's reading is a bit light-weight and bland.

    'I Just Fall in Love Again' is certainly a mega-production. I like Carpenters' full-on effort, as well as Anne Murray's stripped back, simplified version. Anne Murray's version probably comes out in front. But I do like Carpenters' version.

    I was entranced by 'All you Get from Love is a Love Song' when I was a teenager. I thought it was great.

    I like the 'different' style of 'B'wana She No Home'. I like the energy of the arrangement / backing tracks. ive never been sure of the lyrics.

    It's interesting to consider the sound of the massive choir and huge orchestra, when Karen and Richard sounded great with just Richard on piano and Karen with a microphone in her hand. But take away the mammoth production and 'Passage' wouldn't be 'Passage'.

    I bought the album towards the end of 1977 and it was the soundtrack to my life back then, (especially the single version of 'Calling Occupants'). Because 'Passage' neared the Top 10 in my state, the whole era seemed even more exciting, where Carpenters' music was concerned.

    I voted for Side One.
    newvillefan likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I almost like
    Man Smart, Woman Smarter.
    That being said, there is one thing in the song that irritates me:
    In the beginning, there is a loud click (five or six seconds in),
    and that noise really prevents me from more appreciation.
    On the other hand, there is much about the song which intrigues me !
  4. David A

    David A Active Member

    Side one. Having said that, 'Occupants' by itself almost levels the scale. It's such a unique Carpenters song and I love it (even though lyrically it leaves something to be desired). However, AYGFLIALS and B'wana simply win out, for me.
  5. This album feels like it's missing some things... A picture of Karen & Richard and a few songs, it does make up with the short number of songs by having those songs with longer play time, however they can drag sometimes because they are so long. I really like the album and all the songs on it, though some less than others. My least favourite is "Man Smart, Woman Smarter". I feel that "Two Sides" is underrated, it's only when you stop to appreciate it that you realize, from Karen's vocals to the many different guitars used on the song, that it is a gem.

    Around 1974, The Carpenters albums, later followed by their singles, began to perform better here in the UK. Some examples:

    -The Singles 1969-1973
    USA: #1 (1 week) UK: #1 (17 weeks)

    USA: #13 (3 weeks) UK: #1 (5 weeks)

    -A Kind Of Hush
    USA: #33 (2 weeks) UK: #3

    -Made In America
    USA: #52 UK: #12

    -Voice Of The Heart
    USA: #46 (2 weeks) UK: #6 (2 weeks)

    -Yesterday Once More (album) 1984
    USA: #144 UK: #10

    USA: not a hit UK: #73

    -Only Yesterday (album)
    USA: didn't chart UK: #1 (7 weeks)

    USA: not a hit UK: #21

    And "Passage" is no exception here (USA:49) where it peaked at #12 in the UK and is certified Gold.
  6. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    It's amazing to see how markedly different reception of Carpenters albums was in the UK as compared to the US since 'Horizon.' Makes you think they really had a bit of a fall from favour in the US, although I guess some of the big sellers in the UK were compilations of songs that people in the US already had, or weren't released there, ('Only Yesterday', for example). The other thing to consider is that the demographic in both areas is entirely different. I've got a feeling that an album that reaches Top 5 in the UK might sometimes sell well under 100,000 copies in total. I'm not sure where I read that. Your post really highlights the difference between chart action in the US and UK, though, SimonKC1950. I had never considered that the differences were so extreme.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  7. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    With Richard not feeling so hot during these PASSAGE sessions and the hint of a different producer I want to applaud him for this effort. Disregarding his health he produced an epic ( I love this word describing the entire album ) lp. Not since OFFERING and CLOSE TO YOU had we seen such diversity. Ah yes...epic.
    Tracey Canton likes this.
  8. Tracey Canton

    Tracey Canton New Member

    Well I chose side 1, but it was a hard choice. I love this whole album and never quite understood why it got such a bad rap. Passage is just that, a passage for Richard and Karen to spread their wings and move in other directions; the beginning of a new journey. Passage harks back to the experimental nature of Offering, where they were finding their sound by trying new things.

    My fav on the album is B'wana, closely followed by Two Sides. I have always thought B'wana could have been whittled down to a really great radio version that would have performed well. Two Sides could have been a cross over country hit for them. This should have been bigger for them than it was, but both were not at their best.

    Something funny thing about Passage is 'Man Smart, Woman Smarter'. While it is not musically one of their best works, I enjoy it for its playfulness and unassuming manner. A tribute to Spike Jones in a not so round about way. Plus it is one of my brother's favorite Carpenters songs.
    Brian and Jeff like this.
  9. ScottyB

    ScottyB Active Member

    Side one, for sure. Just as a side note..."All You Get From Love Is A Love Song" deserved to be a bigger hit than what it was. It fit in perfectly with the other summer hits of 1977. I put this all on restricted airplay.
  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I posted this a while back on the official thread but thought it was worth a 2nd read on this thread.
    So much talk lately on this forum about "Passage" that it has opened my eyes and hears to a whole new sound.

    Billboard 'Suprise' By the Carpenters
    Sept 17, 1977

    Brian likes this.
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Did they actually record Sleeping Gypsies? Or was there ever a song called that (a quick internet search doesn't reveal an actual song, just a group).
  12. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Karen, since the past two albums, has ceased playing drums to allow her to concentrate on singing. "Richard wanted a stronger sound," she says, "and I no longer have the strength".

    How very sad...

  13. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    "Sleeping Gypsy" was the Michael Franks album from which "B'wana..." comes. Likely just confusion on the writer's part.

  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another quote from the above article, posted by Rick (Thanks, again!) ,
    " I used to over-sing. I was too loud. I'm able to feel a song,now."

    And, I wonder:
    Where did Karen get the idea that she was singing "too loud " ?

    song4u likes this.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I think she's right, she did sometimes over-sing in the early days. The original version of Merry Christmas Darling compared to the 1978 re-record is the perfect example of that. Listen on the below video at 1:40 where Karen sings "Happy New Year too/I've just one wish on this Christmas Eve". She tends to over-sing there for example. It's even more apparent on some of their pre-1969 material like Dancing In The Street (TV appearance) and Looking For Love.

  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Perhaps, in early career, Karen might have "over-sung",
    (which I believe is open to debate--as she sort of changed styles anyway ,
    after going out front and then singing--without benefit of concurrent drumming)

    " too loud " ?

    I like to compare her vocals on the Olivia TV Special (Heartache Tonight)
    which is strong and confident,
    to the duo's 1980 Music Special--it with Karen's softer vocals.
    Or, even,
    Made In America's softer vocals compared to the solo album's stronger vocals.

    I would venture that "too loud" is a misnomer.
    Perhaps, too strong compare to too soft ?

    Certainly Close To You
    is softer....
    but, then we have
    We've Only Just Begun.....stonger (louder ?)

    So, there it is, 1977, Karen already stating
    purposefully and intentionally of desiring to sing softer....
    a precursor to the vocals found on
    Made In America.....?
  17. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I always wondered if this was sorta an admission of her illness that she wasn't as strong physically in 1977 then she was in say 70-74 when she was drumming at all the early concerts like Live in Australia and all the Japan concerts like Budokan. If you watch her she had to have some major strength to get through those concerts in her drumming and to do it night after night let alone singing and drumming.

    Then on the other hand she seemed to handle it fine when you see the Live at the Palladium and even up to the 1080 MMM special she was jamming, running back and forth yet those were just segments and not night after night concerts. What I found so odd is that someone who started out drumming and considered herself a drummer who sang, someone who loved drumming yet she would give it up. She even had the opportunity to tell Phil, I want to drum on my solo album yet she didn't push to have it done. Maybe she accepted the fact that she was the singer and drumming was secondary. We know she had the talent to do both why didn't she push to do both?

    Gary, good points. Too Strong sounds better than Too Loud. The thing about Karen was that she knew how to use her vocals and what she could do with them, she did sound softer on MIA yet I firmly believe she could turn on those that early 70's voice like Superstar without hesitation. Some believe she lost the strong deep voice of her early years but I believe it was all still there inside her she just wanted to take her voice in a new direction such as the solo album and MIA (higher/softer).

    There is no disputing that Passage really was a whole new sound a really edgy sound that was great in my opinion. I just don't understand why it was dropped and then went back to the sound of MIA. It's also funny how Karen was still talking about doing a film musical in 1977 (this was before Grease) so she still had it in her mind and then she would repeat this again in the 81 interview on Good Morning America. Can anyone imagine Karen as the lead role in a movie like Xanadu? I can easily see this happening. Xanadu soundtrack with Karen on side one and ELO on side 2....whoa that would shock them all huh? Karen could have done something like that or any number of musicals.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    GaryAlan likes this.
  18. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Did Karen's louder singing in the early days, have anything to do with her also being the drummer? Perhaps she sang louder so she could hear herself over the drums?

    Sad indeed, but a rare moment of clarity on Karen's part.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Rick and Murray, very good points !
    I, too, am reminded of the 1981 Japan Telethon--when Karen begins to sing,
    after that pre-recorded track breaks during the lip-syncing...
    Karen begins to belt it out (video at 1:46) !
    I mean, I did not believe she had it in her at that point in time.
    Absolutely no reason to be lip-syncing...she could have performed "live".....and, not soft....
    Carpe diem likes this.
  20. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    She wasn't well then at all based on what we know. She'd never have had the strength to handle the drums and do the vocals then. The flights to New York alone were a lot to handle for her.

    Jeff likes this.
  21. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    "Touch Me..." is way too much of a production to do it live. All the strings and the background vocals make that really difficult. They could have done a form of it though.

    Never saw that before. What a train wreck. LOL!! She handled it well.

  22. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    So funny, at 3:56 Richard stands up from behind his keyboard and makes this sweeping gesture like "ok, we're out of here!" AND loved seeing Karen dancing and actually jumping up and down at the end of the clip. Agree, even at this late date her voice sounded magnificent and strong live...
  23. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I think what she was referring to is what a lot of lesser seasoned vocalists tend to do, which is to compensate with volume in order to achieve dynamic. As she became more and more skilled at her craft, she could ebb and flow with the intimacy of a lyric without having to push or over-sing the song. I also think she could have been referring to some of the *real* early stuff (i.e. cuts from the Offering album, the Spectrum years, etc). Doesn't mean she didn't belt it out in the later years where necessary, but with the intimacy factor built into the equation if that makes any sense.
  24. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    This is on a different topic from the recent 'Passage' posts. I read at some stage, (maybe in the fan club newsletters), that the recording of 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina' was filmed for airing on news bulletins. Did anybody ever see this footage or has it ever surfaced on Youtube?
  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    NEWSLETTER #54 - July, 1977 (by Ev)

    Hi Fans: There will be something entirely new on the next Carpenter album to be released soon, It will contain a variety or music, and the highlight will be a score from the Argentina rock opera "Evita" entitled "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". Karen will solo with a background or 50 singers from the Gregg Smith Chorale, plus the entire Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The famous British conductor Peter Knight, was flown from London to conduct the scores, and Richard's buddy Wes Jacobs new in from Michigan to play tuba. We were privileged to attend the taping at A & M Studios, and we round the sound stage filled to capacity with musicians. Four TV stations had mini-cams there to film footage or the session for the evening news, as it was the largest recording session ever attempted for an album track.

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