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Made In America

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Album Review

The Carpenters' final album, Made in America, released after their two-year break from work, a period in which Karen Carpenter attempted a solo album and when Richard was incapacitated due to a drug problem, is very much a comeback effort, with a fair amount of energy on most of it, newly radiant arrangements ("The Wedding Song," etc.), one cute oldie cover ("Beechwood 4-5789," which was made into a video), and the best new songs they'd had since the mid-'70s ("Those Good Old Dreams," "Touch Me When We're Dancing"). The latter song, in particular, marked a breakthrough to a new sound and a new sensuality in Karen's image as a singer, and could have led to a new beginning for all concerned, and the album as a whole was more energetic and memorable than anything they'd done since A Song for You. Unfortunately, the singer was already suffering from worsening effects of the psychological disorder that would kill her less than two years after the release of this album — "The Wedding Song," in particular, seems now like an unintentionally poignant bookend on the other end of her life and career from "We've Only Just Begun."


Formed: 1968 in Downey, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

With their light, airy melodies and meticulously crafted, clean arrangements that appealed to a variety of audiences, the Carpenters stood in direct contrast with the excessive, gaudy pop/rock of the '70s; yet they became one of the most popular artists of the decade, scoring 12 Top Ten hits, including three number one singles. Karen Carpenter's calm, pretty voice was the most distinctive element of their music, settling in perfectly amidst the precise, lush arrangements provided by her brother Richard....
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Made In America, Carpenters
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