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The Carpenters – Close To You (1970)

March 7, 2013

[Album 155/1001]220px-CloseToYou

Is Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me on par with Casablanca?  Both certainly have their place.

This 1001 albums list is also about context.  There were some world-changing records in the early 70s, critical darlings deserving of the praise each often receives.

There were also records like Close To You

Admittedly, when I think of The Carpenters, I think of the opening scene from the movie Detroit Rock City.  While humming We’ve Only Just Begun, the fastidiously conservative mother puts on what she believes to be a Carpenters’ record.  She spills her drink when it turns out to be a noisy KISS record, the movie gets underway, hilarity ensues.

Close To You, the title track in particular, is an easy target.  Its gentle opening lyric, “why do birds suddenly appear,” screams lightweight, easy listening.

Yet put in the right context, the record is deceptively impressive.  Karen Carpenter’s vocals are terrific, the harmonies & arrangements are equally effective. 

When it comes to closing an album, Use Your Illusion II‘s finale, My World, is the benchmark for the ‘bizarre closing track diminishing an otherwise strong recording.’  While Another Song isn’t quite as incongruous, the Ron Burgundy-esque Jazz-flute tangent still seems like a curious choice for the album closer.

The rest of the 11 tracks are a mix of nice original compositions & pleasant covers.  Though The Carpenters’ take on I’ll Never Fall in Love Again is admirable, the Austin Powers II version will be tough to top in my books: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sbNQoGwXGg

From → 1970s

4 Comments
  1. please review a Ron Burgandy album

    • I have to admit, even though I’m not sure there’s anywhere for the story to go, can’t wait for Anchorman 2!

  2. Emily Cavers permalink

    Comparing Casablanca to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is like comparing beef tenderloin to those British discount horse meat burgers. Just sayin’.

    • What’s the old saying, movie/meat comparisons don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world? (I know paraphrasing Bogart out of context is sacrilegious at best – it was tough to resist though, tougher than a $2 steak!)

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