In a previous post, IF YOU CAN BE BOTHERED TO REMEMBER, you’ll recall that I opened up this little corner of cyberspace to the requests from the reading several. After several requests (including one for the Adele song “Skyfall” which I can only assume/hope was a joke) I have granted the request of my most loyal and diligent commenter, Elizabeth. Enjoy.
While the music of The Carpenters is admittedly not my cup of tea, it is still a form of expression that I respect and still music that I find to be very solid and interesting, albeit not quite my style. My favorite song of theirs is actually a cover of The Eagles’ “Desperado”.
Nevertheless, The Carpenters are quite important to the canon of music as a whole. The Carpenters are arguably the pioneers of the soft rock/easy listening genre. This led in to the new wave genre of acts like Annie Lennox and The Eurythmics, which influenced synthpop acts like Paula Abdul and Ace of Base, which influenced acts like Britney Spears, which influenced acts like Lady Gaga. If you subscribe to my theory (and I invite anyone to challenge me) it is evident just how important The Carpenters were by creating the aforementioned genres and sub genres.
While the keyboarding is certainly characteristic of a Carpenters’ song, Karen’s voice is really what brings it home. I once discussed how sweet and melodious Shawn Colvin’s voice was . While Karen’s voice is certainly melodious and sweet, it is such in a different way. Karen’s voice is deeper, almost maternal. It is something akin to the healing chants of a female shaman.
Sadly, Karen Carpenter’s life was truncated by heart failure which puts her in the same category as other music legends like John Lennon, Buddy Holly, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Kurt Cobain whose lives were all cut short by haunting circumstances, thus leaving scholars and fans of music wondering what might have been. Indeed, I am sure if Karen Carpenter had survived, her career would have flourished across decades like, for instance, that of Cher. Tragically, we are left with only speculation.