I know that The Carpenters are pretty much reviled by most rock fans, espcially those who grew up in the '70s. They tend to be percieved as indulgent schlock that represents the worst of Nixon's era. However, despite this, I've really been into the Carpenters lately. Not only their music, but a general interest in their lives and Karen Carpenter's story. It's really interesting to me how their real life struggles (Karen's eating disorder, Richard's drug addiction) were at such odds with their wholesome image.
For the most part I think Richard is a p*ss-poor composer and producer. He tended to drown songs in way too much overdubs and unecessary instrumentals, plus he took Karen off drums, which was her real passion as opposed to singing. However, he wrote a few gems here and there, and I really appreciate his decision to add fuzz guitar to "Goodbye to Love" and "Love Me For What I Am".
Karen Carpenter, however, has one of the most beautiful and soothing voices I've ever heard. I grew up listening to the Carpenters' Christmas album, but it wasn't until I really got into singing that I started to appreciate Karen's talents. Her voice is so rich and chocolately, and she has great diction and emotive skills. It's really a shame that she didn't live long enough to pursue a solo career, one with more interesting and dynamic material, because I think her brother really held her back.
Anybody interested in learning about Karen Carpenter's life story should watch this film by Todd Haynes. It's legitimately one of my favourite movies, and sheds a lot of light on the struggles she went through.Superstar The Karen Carpenter Story
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