Carpenters was a landmark, Grammy award winning collection because of some classic performances and impeccable production. Yet it was important for other reasons as well. The release of the disc set in place frustrations that would greatly bother the duo for the remainder of their career.
The soft and sweet first release from the album.
The powerful second single.
Another career defining single release.
No one would or could cover it like Karen.
For the most part, the music was stunning. In reviewing the content of each album based only on its singles, Carpenters contains three powerful performances, each one better than its predecessor. Never again would Karen and Richard release such an artistically and commercially successful string of 45s: For All We Know, Rainy Days and Mondays, Superstar. The latter two are regarded by many in the music community and fans alike as the Carpenters' consummate performances, noting the blend of Karen's showstopping vocals and Richard's insightfully wise arrangements.
Billboard magazine ad for Rainy Days and Mondays.
Billboard ad for the Tan album- already gold.
Single releases aside, the disc contains the intimate Let Me Be the One, the wistful Hideaway, and the simple reflective Sometimes. It is the rest of the material that highlights some potential problems in the Carpenters camp. A generally mellow sounding disc, the tan album steps even further away from any rock and roll nuances, avoiding the 60s and the Beatles and Beach Boys influences altogether. I liked it- loved it even- but the album did not have the variety of textures I so appreciated on Close to You.
Unimaginative ad for Superstar- one of their most powerful releases.
A&M poking fun at their best selling artists.Ultimately the tan album took its place at the top of the sales charts for many months and continued their string of hits. Superstar and Rainy Days and Mondays became instant classics. Karen began to be recognized for her marvelous voice. Fans wanted more- and the duo delivered with constant touring, single and album releases, and television appearances.
Promoting the album in Australia in May 1972.
2021 Note: This is part of a continuing series of posts on the albums of Karen and Richard Carpenter. There are also numerous stand alone posts highlights different aspects of their career, recordings, and life.
Below is the list of my initial reviews and then my "Revisited /Fresh Look" reviews a decade later.
My Initial Reviews of the albums:
My Revisited / Fresh Look at the albums: