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Singles 1969 CD
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This tops any single-CD Carpenters collection previously available in the U.S., adding smashes like I Won't Last a Day Without You; Please Mr. Postman; Only Yesterday , and Touch Me When We're Dancing to (They Long to Be) Close to You; Top of the World; Superstar , and the rest of these pop treasures. 21 tracks, including a version of For All We Know from a British TV special!
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That said, remixing to update the sound quality is fine, to a point. I don't take issue with this practice. What I take issue with is the handling of Karen's vocal tracks. The original albums recordings refrained from using heavy reverb, echo and other thick effects on Karen's vocals. While these effects were available in the 70s, they were more cumbersome to use (and it just wasn't the style at the time). Even still, Karen's voice needed a very light touch with these effects. Her voice was so subtle and controlled that thick effects were unnecessary. Her voice shined through crystal clear on every track she recorded when thick effects were not used.
This compilation is the perfect example of why Karen's vocal work needed little, if any, effects. Every song on this CD is so thick with effects on her vocals that, unfortunately, the crystal clarity of her voice drastically suffers. That doesn't necessarily make the song less enjoyable for a casual listen. It does make her voice less enjoyable on closer inspection.
If you really enjoyed the crystal clarity of Karen's voice, it's better to get the original tracks (which are not on this compilation). If you're wanting something as a casual listen or to remind yourself of days gone by, this CD will probably work fine. Just understand that these are not the original tracks you would have heard on the radio way back when.
I wouldn't want to have to tell anyone, "This is your parent's music." But I realize there's a substantial probability it really may be. }:-) If I have got a glazed look in my eyes when Karen sings, well, her voice may be an old love song gone for much too long. Or at the very least, a love song from an old soul. (Those Good Old Dreams)
With Karen's melancholy legato carrying us off to "Long ago & far away" as she falls in love during a concert, (Super Star) I can't help remembering child-hood friends when we were kidlets...Summer bicycle ventures into the nearby village to divest ourselves of recycling bottles and raid the candy counter of the local dime store. Or maybe drop-in on someone's big sister working at the doughnut shop or the taco stand, perhaps sharing ice-cream or a cold soda.
This album is simply titled "singles" and you could trace the climb of most of these songs all over the top `40' charts when they were released. `By the time I was in High School I remember Karen Carpenter teaming up with Sesame Street and the Big Bird for the cut, "Sing". And for all of the happiness of that song, I remember singing it sometimes through a huge lump in my throat. Not all the window dressing in the world can alter the reality, that no one else is responsible for your happiness. Sometimes either you make it yourself, or learn to make misery bearable.
"Those old melodies still sound so good to me as they melt the years away." (Yesterday Once More)
I suppose that the musician died too young, that she somehow was emotionally hardened, being able to peal out scenarios like
"Good bye to Love" , or a cover of the Beatles, "Gotta Ticket To Ride",
or "All You Get From Love is a Love Song."
But the Carpenters also gave us so many fun songs, tender love ballads and just plain beautiful melodies.
Sometimes her voice is still singing with my mind, an old lyric from the song (I Need To Be In Love):
"I know I ask perfection of a quiet and perfect world, and fool enough to think that's what I'll find."