Carpenters

Horizon

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AllMusic Review by

The Carpenters were one of the more ubiquitous and successful acts of the early and mid-'70s. Songs like "Close to You" and "Rainy Days and Mondays" make the shortlist of pop classics of the '70s. Unfortunately, their 1973 retrospective, 1969-1973, might have wrapped up their commercial careers too soon. This 1975 effort seems to be willing to explore sad emotions with the blithe songs appearing almost as an afterthought. Although it would sound the death knell for many efforts, with Karen Carpenter's pitch-perfect and sorrowful voice, it's actually a nice fit, and an emphasis on the duo's subtext. The beautifully arranged "Aurora" sets the album's ambience. "Eventide," a continuation of the melody and theme, shows up later in the album. The covers, "Desperado" and "Please Mr. Postman," have the duo adding nothing new to the tracks. A more convincing take on the standard "I Can Dream, Can't I?" was co-arranged and orchestrated by the legendary Billy May. The track, despite the depressing horn and backing vocal arrangement, has Carpenter's empathy and tone ringing clear. Another cover, "Solitaire" written by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody, is melodramatic but a great match for Carpenter's voice. The originals, including "(I'm Caught Between) Goodbye and I Love You," are competent but not magical, and that fact diminishes the effort. Although some might be put off by the sorrow-or-bust ethos of this, Horizon gains its strength from strong production values and, of course, Karen Carpenter's singular gifts as an interpreter.

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