• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline for October 2021! The new book Carpenter: The Musical Legacy will be available on October 19 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 October 22, and is available for ordering here.

The Guardian Ranks Carpenters 20 Greatest

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Thread Starter
One person's opinion under the publication's sanction - one may quibble with some of the songs included (ANOTHER SONG, THERE'S A KIND OF HUSH, OCCUPANTS, AURORA/EVENTIDE) or with those excluded (ONLY YESTERDAY, I NEED TO BE IN LOVE) or the relative ranking itself - we've all just ranked (or listed) our own top 10 or 12 and know how difficult it can be to settle on merely that many - the only thing I have a real problem here with is the contention that HURTING EACH OTHER is the "greatest expression of Karen's extraordinary voice" - even just among those listed RAINY DAYS and SUPERSTAR are much more deserving of that accolade, but I can think of others that aren't listed, such as A SONG FOR YOU or YOU'RE THE ONE or DESPERADO or A PLACE TO HIDEAWAY or HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS or etc., etc...

And Karen looks healthy and lovely in the photo - do they have the date correct?

 

Kyle Thomas

Well-Known Member
I loved this list, not because I agreed with all of the picks, but because it was clear this was someone who knew the Carpenters music well. While I wouldn't put "Another Song" on the list, I do find it to be a fascinating work of art, an experiment that deserves attention. I knew as I got into the top 5 that "goodbye to love" would surely be #1, and I was glad to not be disappointed. There's no way "A Kind of Hush" should beat out "I Need to Be In Love" on this list, and although I love Aurora/Eventide, I'd include "Only Yesterday" before those. Still, a great list that got me appreciating the versatility of the group.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
To me, what I really appreciated about this list was really how it showcased the breadth of the Carpenters' range. So often, people describe the Carpenters as "middle America" and "bland" and milquetoast, etc. etc. but what this list shows is that, no, not all of their songs were about dramatic romances or heartbreak (or feel-good pop, for that matter). Many of their songs artistically pushed the envelope ("Another Song" gives me similar vibes to Paul McCartney's "Kreen Akrore," also released in 1970). The inclusion of Aurora/Eventide feels very much like if someone were to include "Bookends Theme" on a Simon & Garfunkel greatest-songs list.

I guess, long story short, it's nice to see a best-of list that doesn't have A-side after A-side. I would expect something like this from The Guardian--not-so-mainstream/bland--and that's the reason why I appreciate it! Thanks for sharing!

(I would have included "(A Place To) Hideaway" somewhere on this list. The lyrics aren't the deepest--nor need they be--but they are so dynamic: "far from the shadows of my mind / sunlight and laughter, love ever after..." "bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head / I run through the mist of the wine...")
 
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JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Thread Starter
...

(I would have included "(A Place To) Hideaway" somewhere on this list. The lyrics aren't the deepest--nor need they be--but they are so dynamic: "far from the shadows of my mind / sunlight and laughter, love ever after..." "bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head / I run through the mist of the wine...")
"But night and the music remind me again the world once was mine".

The song wasn't written especially for her - but it could have been. The words of the lyrics, the phrasing of the sentences, and the lovely melody hovering over, and occasionally dipping into, her awesome lower range all combine to make this one of her most beautiful vocal performances. It is very similar in all of these aspects to her gorgeous rendition of "Leave Yesterday Behind".
 

Don Malcolm

Well-Known Member
Our old Top 20 (actually Top 24, as there were five songs tied for 20th place), with the Guardian's rankings (as applicable):

Rainy Days & Mondays (3)
Superstar (2)
Only Yesterday
Goodbye to Love (1)
A Song For You
We've Only Just Begun (6)
Close To You (10)
All You Get From Love is a Love Song
Yesterday Once More (4)
Road Ode (20)
Hurting Each Other (5)
Another Song (19)
Ticket to Ride (8)
Top of the World
I Need to Be in Love
You're the One
Touch Me When We're Dancing (17)
This Masquerade (11)
Merry Christmas Darling
Crescent Noon
Solitaire
All of My Life
For All We Know (7)
Let Me Be The One

Here are the seven songs chosen by the Guardian and where they ranked (again, as applicable) in our poll. There were a total of 96 songs receiving at least one vote on our participants' Top 20 ballots...

Calling Occupants [33]
A Kind of Hush
All I Can Do [80]
I Won’t Last A Day Without You [27]
Aurora/Eventide
It’s Going to Take Some Time [96]
If I Had You [52]

Despite the disparity in choices, this was a well-written piece by someone who clearly loves the Carpenters. I hope that Chris and Mike will be sure to ask Princeton Architectural Press to send a copy to this writer--I expect it will result in a highly positive review!
 
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