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The official "Now" review thread.

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Sue, Feb 10, 2019.

"Now". Yay or nay.

  1. Yay

    34 vote(s)
    79.1%
  2. Nay

    9 vote(s)
    20.9%
  1. Sue

    Sue Active Member Thread Starter

    uk
    Its probably not a thread as such but a question!
    Where will I find the Official review of "NOW"
    Its my favourite Carpenters song but doesn't seem to be very popular as all as its almost never added to people's fav lists. I'm not musical really, I just love listening! So I'm just wondering why this song is not popular and what am I missing?
     
    Nick and Rick-An Ordinary Fool like this.
  2. I think NOW is great.
     
    Brian and Sue like this.
  3. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    This is now the official "Now" thread!
     
    Sue likes this.
  4. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Sue, it wasn't a single in North America, so the popular trade magazines (here) wouldn't show any single reviews. My single "Now" is from A&M in the UK. So maybe a trade mag. from the UK might provide a review. Maybe it was a single in Japan also, that is likely.
     
    Sue and Brian like this.
  5. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I’m glad there are people who enjoy it but I’m not one of them, honestly. While she does sound okay, for the first time, Karen actually sounds weak on a song. There are parts of the tune she really should have punched. Coming out of the sax solo and the chorale, she should really have punched the vocal but she couldn’t. As a result, it’s unconvincing. Her illness had finally caught up with her and you could hear it in both her lack of power and her altered tone. Amazing she managed to keep her illness and voice separated for so long. Would we have gotten better if she’d have done a master lead? I kinda doubt it.

    Musically, it’s elevator fare for me. They weren’t making any concessions to get on the radio at this point. This tune was never going to be a hit whether she lived or not. This is not what was happening in 1983. They’d become completely insular and this was the result. Not a great way to go out.

    Ed
     
  6. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    It's certainly not her best moment......but it was her last (recording) and I am thankful she was strong enough to have gone into the studio one last time, as I am sure you are! :)

     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  7. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I may not have put “Now” on my Top 20 list but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. Probably most people had difficulty distinguishing between their Number 60 song and their Number One. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even think about a Top 15 list or a Top 100 list because I just enjoy the music. There are so many Carpenters songs that I think are magical. Karen’s vocal on ‘Now’ is brilliant. It features her beautiful rich lower register and her wonderful, angelic higher register. The melody is really nice, the arrangement is fantastic, (yes, I like the choir), and it came out in all its glory not long after Karen died, just when I thought there would be no more music. Just wanted to say, take the Top 15s and Top 20s with a grain of salt. Songs that don’t appear on anybody’s list are probably just as loved as the ones that do.
     
    Chris and Sue like this.
  8. CarpentersToYou

    CarpentersToYou What I feel has come and gone before...

    I do not hear anything that implies that her illness caught up with her. It is most certainly in a higher key but her lower money notes are gorgeous.
     
    AnnaSock, Chris, Sue and 1 other person like this.
  9. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree - and if there’s one sound I love as much as Karen’s warm lower tones, it’s her beautiful, lilting higher notes - as I said above, angelic. I read in one recent piece - I think in an article from the UK - that she didn’t have much range. Whoever wrote that wasn’t familiar with her capabilities. Most women you hear on recordings, especially stars of the last 25 years, including the current-day singers, grunt on their lowest notes and bellow, yell, scream or squeak on their highest notes, then claim they have a three or even four or five (!) octave range. Karen’s voice was beautifully musical, from lowest note to highest.
     
    Mark-T, Sue and John Adam like this.
  10. There are people on this forum who have more discriminating ears than I do, but I do have some musical training and background. I have heard it claimed in the past that Karen's voice on 'Now' sounds strained. I have really tried to discern such signs and simply been unable to.
     
  11. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I guess I exaggerated here.... I suppose ‘many’ rather than ‘most’ grunt, scream, bellow or yell, (especially ‘The Voice’, ‘Idol’ and ‘....Got Talent’ contestants!). There are obviously a lot of other women who have musical voices and know how to stay within their range - although a bit of a yell or a scream can work as an effect in certain types of music, of course.
     
  12. CarpentersToYou

    CarpentersToYou What I feel has come and gone before...

    I think people want to hear something because many of us want things to make sense. But regarding her voice, her tones are gorgeous on « Now »
     
    no1kandrfan, Chris, Kacfan and 3 others like this.
  13. Kacfan

    Kacfan Member

    Now has always been one of my favourite songs. To me ears, on this song, Karen’s low register sounds effortless and her higher register sounds clear and angelic, better than she sounded on some of the tracks on MIA. It may be a result of her chosen style of singing or it may be that her voice was developing again at this point.
     
    no1kandrfan, Chris, Sue and 1 other person like this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I am squarely in Ed's camp on this one.
    I rarely listen to this song. I do like the lyric. I like the sax solo.
    Richard Carpenter claims "Karen never sounded lovelier,"
    but, (imho) she also never sounded weaker.
    The arrangement is not a winner for me, either. The strain of the guitar
    never fails to irritate my nerves (58sec). The choir is intrusive (1:36-1:39).
    The choir (2:02-214) truly is not my thing.
    Finally, that last lyric "...No, I..." (3:19) is far too high a note (key).
    Also, as we have recently learned, the song started out as melody to the
    first season of Hart to Hart TV Show.
    Thankfully, we have it. As a Karen Carpenter one-take wonder, it is nice to have.
    The entire song is simply not my type of thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  15. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Oh, I am. She was doing what she loved. That's worth a lot...and I'm glad she got to it right till the end.

    Ed
     
    John Adam likes this.
  16. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    It's not that her voice was high. Again, it's that she has no power. She never really had that much but her voice had always had a bit. On "Now", she quite clearly has none. She gets it done, bless her heart, but her voice is utterly without power.

    Ed
     
  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    It's hard to know if the chorale would have remained had she been well enough to finish the track. The chorale, in this case, may have been out of necessity and not a choice.

    Ed
     
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^The chorale seems to be the direction Richard was heading, regardless of the events
    that transpired with Karen. At least, I have always tended to that opinion.
    I do not have the source in front of me, but, in (at least) one of the Newspaper interviews,
    Richard Carpenter glows about the use of the choir on VOH, and the "perfect match" the choir made
    with Karen's vocals.

    Regards April 1982 recording session for "Now,"
    All should remember, it was recorded on a sojourn from New York medical treatments.
    Karen was visiting LA and was in very poor health (page 309,Coleman).
    Richard and Roger Young flew back to NY with the intent of doing more recording (!)
    deciding against it. (page 310, ibid).
     
  19. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I've added a yay or nay poll to the thread. Go vote.
     
  20. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    "Perfect match"?? UGH. This is kind of what I meant above. It seemed neither of them cared about making the charts anymore. They were content to be painfully MOR going forward. The chorale cheeses them out such that no contemporary radio station would dare play them. It's even worse on "Make Believe It's Your First Time". A real shame that he decided they were they way forward.

    That explains it then. She was as ill as she sounded.

    Ed
     
  21. New Horizons.

    New Horizons. Active Member

    I love the song.I think Karen sounds great.I think her high....'I never really knew how' towards the end sounds sublime.
    I never thought she sounds ill but I guess we all have different tastes and ears.
    I just thought Karen wanting to be grown up Karen wanted to try new things and she must have come away from her solo experience with Phil Ramone with open ears to new sounds and vocals.I mean she was hanging around with Olivia also.
    I bought the UK Now single.
    You're Enough sounds great also(recorded the same day apparently).
     
    Sue and Chris like this.
  22. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

    Loving all the comments, both yay and nay, on "Now"!
    This recording is one of my favorites. I was recently thinking again how I feel it was a big mistake to release "Make Believe It's Your First Time" as the first single from VOTH instead of "Now". It would have done better on radio and was a more fitting choice at that point since it was the first single after her passing.
    Whenever I've introduced people to this song, they've had a very positive reaction. While I do hear the aspect of her voice that is not as strong on this one, I only hear it that way if I'm listening for it. I think she sounds gorgeous overall.
    I'm not always a fan of the chorale either, but somehow it works for me on this song.. It takes on a bittersweet quality here and it's like they are echoing her in tribute. Very moving.
     
    no1kandrfan, Kacfan, Sue and 2 others like this.
  23. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    I once took a music appreciation course in university. The professor, a gifted concert pianist, remarked that music (or any art for that matter) succeeds when it elicits an emotional response in the listener. That's why music is so subjective, as each of us hears it (and interprets the lyrics) through the filter of our own life experiences. One person will listen to a certain song and experience great joy, another will feel profound sadness, while yet another doesn't feel much at all. One person will dissect the song into its elements, and dismiss it based on it's perceived flaws, another is willing to overlook those imperfections, and appreciate the work as a whole, and yet another person thinks the song is perfect as is, and wouldn't change a thing if they could. All I can say is, thank goodness that we aren't all the same, or this world (and this forum) would be an incredibly boring place!

    I'll never forget the first time I heard "Now". I was still mourning Karen's passing, and not being particularly adept at expressing my feelings, I'd kept my grief bottled up inside. I remember getting home from the record store with my newly purchased LP of "Voice Of The Heart", and with great anticipation, popping it on the turntable. "Now... now when it rains I don't feel cold, now that I have your hand to hold. The winds might blow through me, but I don't care. There's no harm in thunder if you are there..." To my ears (and still hurting heart), it sounded like Karen was singing from heaven, surrounded by a choir of angels - like she'd finally found the love and contentment - the intimacy - that had eluded her on earth... By the time the song was over, I was a quivering, sobbing mess! Never before had I been moved that much by a song. By my professor's criteria, at least in my case, "Now" had succeeded in spades...

    Yes, I can hear that Karen's voice had weakened, but it was still beyond beautiful (in her fragile condition, that she could even stand up without passing out, let alone sing, was no small accomplishment). The arrangement, and especially the choir, ensured that it never would have been a chart hit. It was originally written for a cheesy TV detective show... I don't care about any of that. As a whole, it just works for me, and works well!

    ... as for "Now" being elevator music?... okay, I'll concede that... but ONLY if it were played in a solid gold elevator, that went all the way up to the pearly gates, baby! :angel: :D
     
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  24. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Didn't know that! Always learning things here - even after all this time.

    Ed
     
    Sue likes this.
  25. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    The bouncy version of "Now" from HART TO HART

     
    Greg likes this.

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