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A Kind of Hush (Original Recording Remastered)

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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.

Customer Reviews

Safe And Breezy

"A Kind Of Hush," released in 1976, finds the Carpenters coasting a bit, but there are moments. The title track is a lounge number and smacks of "Vegas," Richard would later remove the synthesizer parts, or some of them, on later collections. "Sandy" is a breezy song that suits Karen well, "Can't Smile Without You," recorded before Barry Manilow's, was a single in England and the remixed version, and the remix is superior to this version, was made available on the album "Singles 1974-1978," released in the U.K.. One of my all time favorite Carpenters songs is "I Need To Be In Love." Listening to Karen's vocal delivery suggests that she really believed in the lyric and the background vocals were outsourced to a professional choir with Karen and Richard joining in. If the entire body of work of this album was as good as the production of this particular piece, another watershed album could have been accomplished. "You" is another favorite of mine, the song is just a sweet optimistic ballad and "I Have You" has a country feel with Karen doing a Patti Page style overdubbed harmony vocal. "One More Time" is a very difficult song, it requires amazing breath control due to it's phrasing and Karen performs it effortlessly.

Uplifting AND Reflective!

I have read all three of the reviews for "A Kind of Hush" and I have to say... "Huh?" They say this album isn't upbeat enough. So "Goofus" and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" aren't peppy enough for you? OK sure maybe the lyrics in "Breaking" aren't exactly happy, but the song is doggone upbeat if you ask me. Uplifting? Ok, maybe "I Need to Be in Love" isn't the most hopeful song in the world, but it's probably one of Karen's greatest performances. Karen herself even said that it was one of her favorite songs she ever did. And what about "Boat to Sail?" NOBODY has mentioned this song; probably the most sexy song Karen did before her own solo album. Her reading of this Jackie DelShannon classic is so sexy, I dare you not to get goosebumps when she finishes the song. Listen for that sensual exhale at the end of the last chorus. You'll hear what I mean. "One More Time" is such a gorgeous song, you can't deny it. "Sandy" is smooth and sweet and completely honest. My only complaint is with "Can't Smile Without You" - it's about the only song on this album that I skip. It's not that I truly dislike it or anything; it's just that it isn't as exciting as the rest of the album. I used to wear this album out as a kid, when my mom had it on 8-Track. It was easily one of my favorites, and it still is today.

Good Album

This album isn't their very best, but after listening to all of the songs over and over again, I've realized that it's a good album. Commercially, the Carpenters were going downhill from 1976, but in my opinion, this is just as good as all of their other albums. One of my favorites on here is "I Have You." It's slow, but I first heard it as a B-side to "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song." It's a good song about someone who has an unconditional love for someone else. The songs "Boat to Sail" and "One More Time" are also very good. The former is very relaxing. This and "Sailing On the Tide" (Voice of the Heart) are two of their "boat on the water" songs I really like. The song "One More Time" is different from all of the other songs on this album. For starters, it only has the piano and Karen's voice for most of the song and nearly no drums. "Goofus" and "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" are upbeat songs. Their remake of a Neil Sedaka classic is good. They actually performed it with Mr. Sedaka himself at a live concert (it's not included on this album). Richard Carpenter claimed that around this time, he started abusing drugs (with the Quaalude addiction), and he wasn't trying his best on this album. I think it shows a little bit on this album, but the Carpenters always overachieve, which is why I rated this four stars.

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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