Monday, January 15, 2007

181. The Carpenters - Close To You (1970)

Track Listing

1. We've Only Just Begun
2. Love Is Surrender
3. Maybe It's You
4. Reason To Believe
5. Help
6. Close To You
7. Baby It's You
8. I'll Never Fall In Love Again
9. Crescent Moon
10. Mr Guder
11. I Kept On Loving You
12. Another Song


I'm back!

I really started out wanting to hate this album, and for the first couple of listen throughs I was quite hating its sacharine sweetness. Suddenly, like a fungal infection on your foot when you shower in a public place, it started to grow on me... It is not my favourite album ever, or even in the top 100 list but it is still pretty good ... there is much more of a reason to have this here than the Mamas and the Papas for example; in fact, there are hidden depths to this album.

Karen Carpenter's voice has something of the night to it, no matter how happy her songs or her themes are there is something slightly off there, in a way that makes it much more interesting. If you know the story of her life you know it was not rosy and that deep sadness is lurking behind each song here.

And then the production work is faultless, and I always was a secret fan of Burt Bacharach, but don't tell anyone. Frankly this turned from a sacharine silly album to a tragic thing through repeated listenings. It is also particularly good when they deviate from the traditional pop-song like in Another Song and Crescent Moon and you wonder what Karen could have done with more personal and artistic freedom. We'll never know. Buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Maybe It's You
2. Another Song
3. Crescent Moon
4. Love Is Surrender

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

After a whirlwind romance, Karen married real estate developer Thomas James Burris in a lavish wedding held in the Crystal Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel on August 31, 1980. (A new song performed by Karen at the ceremony, "Because We Are In Love," surfaced in 1981 on Made In America and as the B-side of "Touch Me When We're Dancing.") The marriage turned out to be a disaster, and the couple separated in November 1981. In 1982 Karen sought therapy with noted psychotherapist Steven Levenkron in New York City for her disorder [anorexia nervosa] and returned to California later that year determined to regain her professional career and finalize her divorce. Karen was rumoured to be abusing syrup of ipecac during this time, possibly straining and damaging her heart, however no evidence of this was ever found. Karen, who had a normal thyroid, was also found to be taking ten times the normal daily dose of thyroid medication in order to speed up her metabolism. This, combined with large amounts of laxatives (between 90 to 100 a day), weakened her heart.

Karen Carpenter gained a total of 30 lbs. over a two month stay in a New York Hospital, but the sudden weight gain further strained her heart, which was already damaged from years of dieting and abuse. On February 4, 1983, at the age of 32, Karen suffered cardiac arrest at her parents' home in Downey and was taken to Downey Community Hospital, (11500 Brookshire Avenue.), where she was pronounced dead twenty minutes later. Karen was planning to sign her divorce papers on the day she died.

Here you go, Superstar, the Karen Carpenter Story by Todd Haynes:

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