// Album Recommendation




40/40 by The Carpenters

The brother/sister duo of legendary '70s band The Carpenters, Richard and Karen Carpenter, were/are unfairly labeled as “Easy Listening” or worse still, “Elevator Music”, even though they were in fact deserving of much more respect. Karen Carpenter was an unusually gifted, emotive and instantly recognizable singer capable of expressing emotions as diverse as melancholia, sadness, sheer joy, and romantic longing (she was also a skillful drummer), and Richard Carpenter was a producer/arranger/songwriter of the highest order, a perfectionist whose meticulously crafted arrangements and clean production were an equally important part of The Carpenters’ polished sound. Together they created a winning formula that turned them into one of the most popular recording artists of the decade, scoring twelve U.S. Top 10 Pop hits, three of which topped the chart, and selling more than 100 million albums.

Released upon the 40th anniversary of The Carpenters’ debut album (1969’s Offering), 40/40 is a comprehensive double-disc compilation containing 40 tracks (hence the title). Compiled by Richard Carpenter himself, 40/40 is a fine celebration of the duo’s legacy, featuring all but one of their Top 20 hits, There’s A Kind Of Hush (U.S. No. 12), and thus largely including all of the classic hit songs that both casual and long-time fans would and should expect from a career retrospective: their first big hit, the hopelessly romantic (They Long To Be) Close To You (No. 1), the bouncy Top Of The World (No. 1), their cover of The Marvelettes’ Please Mr. Postman (No. 1), the melancholic Rainy Days And Mondays (No. 2) and Superstar (No. 2), as well as many other iconic 1970s hit recordings such as Yesterday Once More (No. 2), Only Yesterday (No. 4), We’ve Only Just Begun (No. 2), Hurting Each Other (No. 2), For All We Know (No. 3), A Song For You (No. 4), Goodbye To Love (No. 7), I Won’t Last A Day Without You (No. 11), and their last Top 20 hit Touch Me When We’re Dancing (No. 16). Fortunately 40/40 also makes room for the original, long version of the fascinating Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft.

The Carpenters enjoyed an impressive string of seventeen consecutive Top 30 hits during a five-year period, and they also won all of three Grammy Awards: “Best New Artist” (1970), “Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By a Duo Or Group” (1970), and “Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By a Duo Or Group” (1971). The Carpenters were very much a “product” of the 1970s – smooth, warm, romantic, ambitious, accomplished, and memorable – as expertly captured by the period photograph of the CD cover (once you remove the rather nondescript blue cardboard slipcase). Highly recommended!

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