Friday, September 7, 2012

175 Close to you. As seen on the muppets.

Album: Close to you
Artist: The Carpenters
Year: 1970
Genre: Pop


1. We've Only Just Begun
2. Love Is Surrender
3. Maybe It's You
4. Reason to Believe
5. Help!
6. (They Long to Be) Close to You
7. Baby It's You
8. I'll Never Fall in Love Again
9. Crescent Noon
10. Mr. Guder
11. I Kept On Loving You
12. Another Song

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? It depends on the type of bird really doesn't it? If they're vultures it's probably because you're a dead moose. If they're penguins there's a good chance you're wearing a hat made of fish. If they're seagulls then you're eating chips. And if you're a dead moose eating chips in a fish hat then you probably can't read this for feathers or hear any music for incessant squawking. Anyway none of that is really relevant.

What is relevant is that Karen Carpenter had a lovely voice didn't she? I mean genuinely perfect. It's a cliche to say it and I immediately sound old and pathetic voicing this but today's modern pop stars can't really hold a candle to Karen. She just had a set of lungs and a voicebox which combined to make truly beautiful sounds. She was also a surprisingly good drummer. Interesting choice of words, I wonder what made me say "surprisingly"? Oh I know it's because she's a girl and drummers aren't supposed to be girls. I like to pretend I'm above sexism but when it comes to rock, prejudices do come out I'm afraid, I understand that she'd be a great singer because ladies sing nice but in my head drumming is a man's business.

Karen leant her perfect voice and considerable drumming skills to some of the prettiest love songs still gracing oldies radio today. Close to You features some of their biggest hits, mainly written by Burt Bacharach, Tim Hardin, Paul Williams and other big-name songwriters. There's also a Lennon/McCartney which I have to say makes my skin crawl. I'm fine with Karen singing romantic ballads from another era. I have no issue with easy listening music for easy listening lovers, but when they take on The Beatles it does get my back up. Help is a great rock song, one of the greatest. Hearing it turn into syrup feels like a kind of sacrilege.

If you like your listening easy then few people are easier on the ears than Karen Carpenter. But if you're a fan of rock you might want to skip track 5, sometimes birds appear because they want to devour Beatles.

Influenced by: Songwriters
Influenced: Female balladeers

Highlight: Aaaaaaaaaaah close to you (it's been on the Muppets)
Lowlight: Help

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Richard Carpenter knew how to make the most -- and the least -- of his sister's talent."

-That's a bit unfair. People still seem to think that poor Karen was just her brother's lead singer.

So do you want this CD close to you or would you rather keep it at arm's length? Let me know below.


  1. So, yes, Karen Carpenter DOES have a perfect voice. It is true; and yes, there are at least a couple of great songs off this album. But what do you think about this album, taken as a cohesive unit? And do you think that this particular album deserves to be at #175 on the list, which is a rather high ranking all things considered.

    Basically what I am wondering is what you think of the album itself. You elaborate a lot on Karen Carpenter's talent (and yes, I do agree that she is talented), but you mention little about the album itself, and whether or not it deserves the high ranking that it has. For me, I would figure that this album would be at highest in the 400-500 range, if it should be on the list at all.

    So what are your thoughts?

    1. It's one of those albums which I'm never destined to like but I can see why it's on the list. It's easy-listening and so represents a genre that otherwise doesn't get a look on. I think you're right it's a bit high up the countdown but it influenced a lot of people.

      It's also one of those albums which has been totally superceded by best of releases which contain all the good tracks and other ones as well.

      If I was putting together the top 500, Close To You wouldn't get a look in but it's definitely the "respect the artist even though I don't like the music" category.

    2. I'm glad to hear your output. I'm liking your blog; however I have noticed that your posts have been getting shorter and less detailed as you keep going. Have you considered taking a break from this project? (I mean you are a 2/3 of the way through).

    3. Glad you're enjoying it.

      The posts are getting a bit shorter because I think I waffled a bit when I started and said more than I needed to. I also think I've said quite a bit in the early stages that regular readers might be sick of me repeating (how much I hate synthesizers, how I don't like eighties music, why the countdown lets in compilations etc etc) even though it's relevant.

      I haven't considered taking a break but when I get to the 100 mark I'm going to have a fairly major overhaul of the blog and the way it works. I'm also going to start backtracking and listening to some albums again to see if my opinion has changed any. If it has I'll update the posts.

    4. Thanks for the response.

      For the record, I personally don't think you are waffling when briefly pointing out any issues (or even non-issues) with the records, as I do enjoy reading your full opinion on the albums.

    5. Thanks very much for the feedback. I'll try and keep it mind next time I'm debating whether I should trim a review down or leave it long.