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A Kind of Hush

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Album Review

The formula behind the Carpenters' albums was starting to get fairly routine — a hit single and an oldie or two (which sometimes was the single) surrounded by some well-produced soft pop/rock, driven by electric piano, strings, and a guitar solo or two cropping up. "There's a Kind of a Hush" and "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" are the two most memorable tracks on this pleasant, well-sung, and well-played, but basically bland, album, A Kind of Hush. There are virtues here — "You" has a good guitar solo by Tony Peluso, and the vocals on "Sandy" are radiant, but this record was where the real rot began to set into the Carpenters' fortunes, in terms of remaining connected to rock. Instead of covering Leon Russell's or Carole King's contemporary material, they're doing songs like "Can't Smile Without You" — the latter is very sweetly sung by Karen Carpenter, and gets a lyrical but spare arrangement from Richard Carpenter, but they needed something more credible to the under-30 audience (and especially material that, if not attractive to guys in that age range, at least wouldn't make them self-conscious about listening to it with their girlfriends) on this album, and it wasn't here. If you close your eyes, it's possible to imagine Captain & Tennille, not to mention Debby Boone, taking lessons from this release, although Karen's voice was still beyond comparison with any of them.


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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A Kind of Hush, Carpenters
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