Monday, March 10, 2014

Carpenters Gold

We can't understand modern pop without The Carpenters. Vilified for being corny and unauthentic (their repertoire includes a large number of covers, such as this one), they set up the tone for soft music: simple melodies, love-related lyrics, and above-the-average string arrangements. Towards the end of their career, Richard Carpenter had become addict to quaaludes and Karen Carpenter died as a result of eating disorders. The perfect image of a siblings band singing music pallatable for (almost) everybody was just that: an image. A cynic might say that, if you're going to live and die as a rockstar behind scenes, you might as well do it in front of them...

To be fair with them, and in contrast with some modern pop bands, the Carpenters did put some effort in their music, as unoriginal as it was. Karen's voice was unappreciated at the time (today, her tone is basically the norm), and that forced the band to produce high quality material.

It's obviously not their fault, but since their succes their success, pure rock bands have found difficulties finding funding. Music companies started producing en masse Carpenters-like groups that could appeal to the largest number of people, from grannys to elementary school children.

The Carpenters is one of these bands you have to hear if you want to know why music is what it is today. But don't get Carpenters Gold, a 40 songs 2.5 hours long collection. You only need "Let me be the one" and "Close to you" to get an idea of their material.

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