Remember The Carpenters?

This month marks 30 years since Karen Carpenter died. THIRTY. Three. Zero. Some of you are too young to remember The Carpenters. Whatever! Anyhow, they were often viewed as a goofy little pop group, but they shouldn’t have been. Especially now with girl singers being all crazy with the vocals, Karen’s voice is a nice contrast. Just a clear, simple, pretty voice without a lot of flourish.  Some of the songs they chose to sing were pretty pop-y. But a few of them had some pretty darkish undertones- take that today’s hipster girl singers. She was singing depressing songs before you were even born! Plus she was a drummer! Here are some of my faves: “Rainy Days and Mondays”, which was a huge hit in 1971, written by Paul Williams. Pop, yes, but depressing subject matter that somehow works really well with the non depressing nature of her voice. Then there’s “Superstar”, written by Leon Russell (and also recorded by Sonic Youth a few years ago)  which is both forlorn teenager-y and sort of stalker-esque at the same time (it was originally titled “Groupie”).  Karen’s version is somehow kind of creepy, despite (because of?) the fact that she’s a young, cute, girl and not a gruff, long haired, bearded guy or a punk rock band.  And finally “A Song For You” another sad/happy song also written by Leon Russell. His version is interesting- he has a great and horrible voice, but Karen brings it around to a different level.