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Album Review

Even in 1973, Carole King's landmark Tapestry album was still high on the charts. Fantasy was the first album to break the immediately recognizable, cozy sound set by Writer and made definitive by Tapestry. In the place of the warm, spare tones was a polished, soulful production. In many respects this album coasts on groove more than anything else. Sometimes it does work. "You've Been Around Too Long" comes off as subtle and accomplished, especially with David T. Walker's great guitar work. "Being at War with Each Other" pretty much covers well-worn ground. Those looking for Tapestry, Pt. 2 or 3 would come up empty, but the core of Fantasy does deliver on its idiosyncratic promise. "Corazón" has Latin intonations and King certainly doesn't embarrass herself. The album's best song by a long shot is "Believe in Humanity." On that track in particular all of the elements coalesce and might make listeners wish they took the harder sound and well-meaning messages even further, even for the hell of it. Some of the other tracks, most notably "Haywood," proves that although King knows the ins and outs of human nature, a story song isn't her forte. While the virtues of Music and Rhymes & Reasons tend to blur for some, Fantasy stands out as a risky and sometimes fulfilling effort.

Customer Reviews

Wow a great 70's album

If you are looking for early Carol King with a cool spacious, accoustic seventies sound this album is for you. Even if you aren't looking specifically for Carole King, this is a great example of that early 70s accoustic sound. Multi layered strings, piano, and horns take you away on a wave of beautiful 7th chords. Quite a difference from the overproduced layerless wall of sound that contemporary albums bombard your ears with. Although the songs are not immediately as distinctive and catchy asTapestry, sit back, turn up the volume and float through this groovy journey through a simpler bygone time.

Was this ever remastered?

I'd like to purchase this only if the sound quality is better than the original vinyl to retail CD transfer….I've either got a bum retail CD or I need to buy a fresh downloaded copy…the original retail CD audio is very poor quality, is the iTunes version better?

Among the best albums of the 1970s

This is not Tapestry. But, this is among Carole King’s greatest musical achievements. She wrote and produced all of the songs (words & music), sang lead and backup vocals, played guitar and piano, arranged the string and horn sections, and more. At the time of its release, I don’t believe this had ever been done by a female artist before. The creativity lavished on this album is still impressive after more than four decades and it is still one of my favorite albums of all time.

The album takes you through the ups and downs of life through personable story telling, at times using contemporary heavy grooves or timeless soft waves of music to carry the lyrics home. The second song on the first side, "You’ve Been Around Too Long", is an anthem for women in the early 1970s- a statement that it was time for them to take control of their lives and demand equality. Later on the album’s first side, a controversial song about an unmarried pregnant woman’s hope that the man who abandoned her would return, is set in a compassionate (rather than judgmental) tone- surprising for the era. This song shows the woman’s perspective- both as a human being and as a victim of abandonment. The first side ends with a tune about an unfulfilled housewife who settles for less than what she needs, because her man needs her to take care of him.

On the second side, “Haywood" is an unvarnished plea for a drug-using young man to change his ways or suffer the fate of losing his life, as happened to his brother. The song ends with a thoughtful musical interlude that fades into the next tune, giving the listener time to think about what choice the young man might eventually make. My favorite song on the album is “Welfare Symphony”, which is a small song with clever and interesting interplay between lyrics focusing on the hopelessness of poverty, electrical guitar and saxophone. I never tire of listening to it. The album’s crescendo comes with the last two songs, both powerful and grooving.

This album would make a great Broadway show! Hopefully, some day it will.


Born: February 9, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While the landmark Tapestry album earned her superstar status, singer/songwriter Carole King had already firmly established herself as one of pop music's most gifted and successful composers, with work recorded by everyone from the Beatles to Aretha Franklin. Born Carole Klein on February 9, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, she began playing piano at the age of four, and formed her first band, the vocal quartet the Co-Sines, while in high school. A devotee of the composing team of Jerry Lieber and Mike...
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