Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No. 175: Close To You

Band: Close To You
Album: The Carpenters
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Ummm... Karen Carpenter brought anorexia into the forefront of public consciousness. That's good, right? Disease awareness?
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Booooooooooorrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. Remember when I mentioned AM radio from the 1970s? This is the typification of that music. Boring, pleasant and perfect for pre-teens and losers everywhere.
Best song: The title track is a well-written Burt Bacharch number.
Worst song: The Beatles cover, "Help," is a travesty.
Is it awesome?: Nope.

Let's start with an assumption. Let's assume that records in record stores get bought by someone. All those records you never buy? Someone is looking for those records (a lot of the time, that person is me).

Now, I understand the audience exists for tons of groups. I don't care for Sinatra (as explained here), but I understand that tons of people enjoy his half-hearted attempts at love songs. I'm not a big fan of Dylan (as all know), but I can see the draw in his songwriting. I don't like stupid nu-metal, but I understand that there are tons and tons of angry teenagers out there. I see the audience in each music I don't care for.

Who buys Carpenters records? Honestly, is there anyone out there who still buys Carpenter records? Does anyone hear "(They Long To Be) Close To You" for the first time and say "Wow, this changed my life?" I'd say no. Maybe for irony's sake, but even then... There are better ironic things out there.

(I say this with the knowledge that there was a Carpenters tribute album put out in 1994, filled with semi-popular alternative acts. Sonic Youth and Matthew Sweet appeared on it, which makes it somewhat valid, I guess.)

(Also, RS compares the Carpenters to the Cardigans -- which I guess was more current in 2003 when the list came out --, Stereolab and Belle and Sebastian. I'm not sure I buy it, but I enjoy all three of those bands.)

Nevertheless, there's nothing inherently wrong with pleasant elevator music, I guess. "We've Only Just Begun" and "(They Long to Be) Close to You" are really beautifully sung, but the blandness of it all is like eating a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread.

So, my opinion is that this album is boring. It sold two million copies (and probably continues to move units), so someone likes it. Just not me.

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