12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On this 1971 album, Carole King proved that she could follow up her era-defining Tapestry. Like any of her great recordings, it sounds here as if her heart is trapped in someone else’s nostalgia—it’s at once familiar like loneliness but distant enough not to sound weary. She sways effortlessly between singer/songwriter fare, pop, and jazzy cool. Over soothing pianos and strings she sings about learning empathy on “It’s Going to Take Some Time,” addresses racial tolerance with Marvin Gaye–like nuance on “Brother Brother,” and rocks the West Coast mellow on both “Back to California” and the sugary “Sweet Seasons.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

On this 1971 album, Carole King proved that she could follow up her era-defining Tapestry. Like any of her great recordings, it sounds here as if her heart is trapped in someone else’s nostalgia—it’s at once familiar like loneliness but distant enough not to sound weary. She sways effortlessly between singer/songwriter fare, pop, and jazzy cool. Over soothing pianos and strings she sings about learning empathy on “It’s Going to Take Some Time,” addresses racial tolerance with Marvin Gaye–like nuance on “Brother Brother,” and rocks the West Coast mellow on both “Back to California” and the sugary “Sweet Seasons.”

TITLE TIME

About Carole King

Carole King examines the complicated realities of love with a tenderness and swagger rare among her more plaintive ’70s folk-rock peers. In the early ’60s, alongside folks like Neil Diamond and her then-husband Gerry Goffin, King was an endlessly versatile Brill Building songwriter. There, she elevated girl-group anthems like The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” beyond mere bubblegum, tapped into gospel’s volcanic power alongside a young Aretha Franklin, and embraced wistful psychedelia, cowriting the Monkees smash “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Then declaring her independence with a mix of vulnerable rock and visceral soul, the native New Yorker defined and deepened the singer/songwriter era’s emotional intimacy with albums like her 1971 solo breakthrough, Tapestry. She also wrote the template for transitioning from a behind-the-scenes songwriter into a full-fledged star. Whether pairing her pained explorations of fraying romance with the seductive longing of classic R&B balladry ("It's Too Late") or strutting like a blues singer as she celebrated the life-changing power of lust ("I Feel the Earth Move"), King shaped multiple generations of confessional singers as wildly distinctive as Tori Amos, Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, and Adele.

HOMETOWN
New York, NY [Brooklyn]
GENRE
Pop
BORN
February 9, 1942

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