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Album Review

This is where the duo began running a little short of material for albums, having raided many of the song catalogs with which the Carpenters were most familiar on their two previous LPs — although it didn't seem it to anyone at the time except Richard Carpenter, since there were three hit singles present that ensured the album's popularity: "For All We Know," the huge-selling "Superstar" (done on the first take because it was a little uncertain how comfortable Karen Carpenter would be with the sexually suggestive lyrics to the Leon Russell song), and "Rainy Days and Mondays." The unusual jacket design, like an invitation with a decorative picture of the duo (similar to a graduation photo), seemed to go over well with older listeners while not repelling teens, which is lost in the transformation to CD packaging. In retrospect, Carpenters is a very MOR album — "Superstar" aside, its influences are more pop than rock, and any of the duo's original interest in jazz is long gone as well. The Bacharach/David medley, in particular, was distinctly more appealing to the over-30 set than to teenage listeners, and "Saturday" made them few new friends.


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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