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Symphonic touches give new spin to old Carpenters records

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By ANDREW DALTON

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I always like the reaction of Japanese people when they ask me, an American in his 40s, about the Carpenters and I reply that I've never heard their music.

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I always like the reaction of Japanese people when they ask me, an American in his 40s, about the Carpenters and I reply that I've never heard their music.

Are you sure? You must have heard at least one or two of their songs on the radio, in a shop or on TV at sometime in your life.

Music snobs don’t like the Carpenters, so I like them.

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“Are you sure? You must have heard at least one or two of their songs on the radio, in a shop or on TV at sometime in your life.”

It’s possible. Maybe an elevator? I wouldn’t have known it though. Not snobbery on my part but perhaps my mom. A woman who liked to blare Led Zep & the Stones & took me to my 1st rock concert (Stones) when I was 8.

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jcapanToday 09:26 am JST“Are you sure? You must have heard at least one or two of their songs on the radio, in a shop or on TV at sometime in your life.”

It’s possible. Maybe an elevator? I wouldn’t have known it though. Not snobbery on my part but perhaps my mom. A woman who liked to blare Led Zep & the Stones & took me to my 1st rock concert (Stones) when I was 8.

Agreed, and you are lucky. The Carpenters Muzak was dominant @ home when I was a kid, and as for my 1st concert of any kind (the band Foreigner) , I had to wait until I was 19 and in the Navy.

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as for my 1st concert of any kind (the band Foreigner) , I had to wait until I was 19 and in the Navy

You probably have me by a few years but Foreigner 4 was one of the first records I ever bought.

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The Carpenters Muzak

The Carpenters music. It’s polished pop music.

Nothing wrong with that. Some people like polished pop music.

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It is funny how you boast you have never heard a Carpenters record, and yet here you are commenting in a news about them. That’s what I call a complete waste of time.

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jcapanToday 02:22 pm JSTas for my 1st concert of any kind (the band Foreigner) , I had to wait until I was 19 and in the Navy

You probably have me by a few years but Foreigner 4 was one of the first records I ever bought.

Foreigner 4 was one of the first records I ever bought too. I saw them on the 'Agent Provocateur' tour in 1985.

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Carpenters are legends, the lyrics had strong meanings and the rhythm is great. Unlike today's music where a repetitive one liner is played is sung in a loop and the use of autotune

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Jimizo Today 08:17 pm JST

The Carpenters Muzak

The Carpenters music. It’s polished pop music.

Nothing wrong with that. Some people like polished pop music.

There's nothing wrong with 'polished pop music'. Not at all. But there's no rule that says 'polished pop music' has to be Muzak, pompy + overdramatic or slick as shellac or just junk.

There's a lot of good polished pop music out there, too many examples to list here. But the Carpenters, like most stuff pegged in the 'New Age' and 'Adult Contemporary' or even 'Light / Soft Rock' categories is just Muzak, pap, dreck to my ears - I can't relate to it and it's just not very interesting.  

Music snobs don’t like the Carpenters, so I like them.

Music snobs don't like ABBA either and they bashed RUSH too. Go by what you really like - that's what Lemmy (a bigtime ABBA fan) always said. Don't let the critics steer your tastes.

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Kenji FujimoriToday 12:01 am JSTCarpenters are legends, the lyrics had strong meanings and the rhythm is great. Unlike today's music where a repetitive one liner is played is sung in a loop and the use of autotune

I fully agree with your second sentence but as for the first, what was in your coffee today? Great rhythm? What rhythm? Lyrics with strong meanings? More like icky pedestrian pap. And the Carpenters ARE vacuous Muzak.

There are plenty of terrific legendary artists who play great 'chill out' music and sing lyrics with meaning - Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Dan Fogelberg, Bob Marley (reggae is good 4 U), Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Sting, Daryl Hall / John Oates, scads more.

I hate repetitive one-liner looping, it's irritating. And whoever invented autotune is a musical antichrist. Autotune is the final death knell of good original music - and the talent it requires to create it. I HATE IT.  

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There are plenty of terrific legendary artists who play great 'chill out' music and sing lyrics with meaning - Phil Collins

Like Sussudio?

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It is funny how you boast you have never heard a Carpenters record, and yet here you are commenting in a news about them. That’s what I call a complete waste of time.

I quite enjoyed this discussion and I wasn't saying anything negative about The Carpenters. But if my contributions are a waste of time, how then to view your own comment?

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I'm confused.

I love ABBA, one of the greatest bands of all time, but The Carpenters always sent me to sleep (except Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, which has to be one of the most out-there lyrics ever written)

The Stones are one of the greatest bands ever, at least up to the early 70s, but Foreigner? No way.

I admire Paul McCartney's musicality, genius and longevity, but only what he wrote with The Beatles.

Sussudio is rubbish, but In The Air Tonight is one of the best breakup songs ever written.

Am I a music snob or not?

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On the day that you were born the angels got together

And decided to create a dream come true

A very subversive theological statement. The angels are the creative force, not the deity, leaving open the question of what role the deity plays, if indeed, the deity actually exists.

The Carpenters challenged through their lyrics. This stuff is deep.

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This stuff is deep.

Did Richard and Karen ever address theological issues in any of their other works? Could it be that the 'occupants of interplanetary craft' and the 'angels' are one and the same? And have you found any similar revelations in the ouevre of, say, The Osmonds?

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The Carpenters were very good at what they did. They made well-written and well-crafted short, pleasant pop songs. Nothing to sneer at.

What do the Stones and Foreigner have to do with this story?

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Exactly. Everyone back on topic please.

I like The Carpenters. I don't care if they don't meet certain criteria to ascend to the rock/pop pantheon.

Today I am mostly listening to Happy End, as I don't own any of the records by the siblings Carpenter. Must remedy that next time I pop into the local well-known second hand shop. Rediscovering "old" music is every bit as rewarding as discovering contemporary releases.

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As a musician the Carpenters from a pure melodic perspective were spot on. Their arrangements and piano chord progressions were definitely one of the best for its era and still withstood the test of time that a new generation of kids are listening and enjoying their music, not a bad thing, nothing to be ashamed about it. I’m as man as it gets and still get goosebumps listening to Karen’s alto like voice. Great band, definitely in the top 100.

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I'm not sure how anyone who's had a radio or been in a car with one could not have heard the Carpenters.

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I'm pretty sure I could probably sing along with a couple of Carpenter's songs, but I wouldn't know it was the Carpenters while I was singing along with it, nor would I be able to pick out a song and say that's a Carpenter's song.

Which considering they were what, 60 years ago? says a good bit to their lasting power.

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I'm not sure how anyone who's had a radio or been in a car with one could not have heard the Carpenters.

Bingo and amen.

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Their arrangements and piano chord progressions were definitely one of the best for its era

I agree wholeheartedly. What's more, this level of craftsmanship in songwriting has sadly diminished with every passing year.

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JimizoDec. 24 04:15 am JSTThere are plenty of terrific legendary artists who play great 'chill out' music and sing lyrics with meaning - Phil Collins

Like Sussudio?

Check out his other stuff - 'Long Long Way to Go' (crime news on TV), 'That's Just the Way It Is' (N Ireland war), 'Another Day In Paradise' (homelessness), and more. As for 'Sussudio', it's a great simple dance number, it was out during an exciting time in my life and it's just great simple good clean fun. What's wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with these 'silly love songs' if they're good.

That's a major problem with much of today's popular music, whether its lyrical theme have meaning or not. Most of it is manufactured, not tuneful and just not very interesting. Too much of it today is generic.

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SpeedDec. 24 02:51 pm JSTI'm not sure how anyone who's had a radio or been in a car with one could not have heard the Carpenters.

That's when you switch stations.

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The Carpenters weren't even so great on the covers. I didn't like the song that goes about 'pack my bags to go to Iowa' (theirs or the original) nor did I like their version of 'Mr. Postman'. I later heard the Beatles' version of that and it kicks the Carpenters' Muzak version all over the place!

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That's when you switch stations.

Exactly! Even in the '80s and '90s when I listened to the radio religiously, I can guarantee you their music was never on DC101 or WHFS, or KROQ after I moved to SoCal. Otherwise, I'd know it. I mean, I know who Barbara Streisand is but I've never heard her sing. Same goes for today. I've know who Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift is but why would I know their music unless I go click.

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Which considering they were what, 60 years ago? says a good bit to their lasting power.

Just because something is from 60 years ago doesn't make it good. Just because anything is still 'well-known' or is considered a 'classic' doesn't make it good. The 'Macarena' is played at wedding parties today and I hate it. Radio stations play 'Paradise By the Dashboard Lights' and 40 years later it's still total rubbish.

OTOH this summer I saw the 50th anniversary remade/remodeled/remastered re-release of the movie 'Yellow Submarine' and the songs still stand up, they're true innovative classics and they're great.

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