Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration


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Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration Review

by William Ruhlmann

The point of the relatively brief Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration video compilation is to present performances by the Carpenters of songs written by people other than Richard Carpenter. That includes some of their biggest hits, such as "(They Long to Be) Close to You," "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," and "Superstar." No sources are given for the material, though it can be presumed to come from the Carpenters' television specials, since they are usually found on what look like TV sound stages, miming the studio recordings of their songs. Karen Carpenter is generally seen wearing a gown or lacy granny dress, while Richard turns up in tuxedos with frilly shirts and droopy bowties, as if the two of them are just about to leave for their senior prom. Some segments are slightly more elaborate. "Bless the Beasts and Children" features footage of animals and children; "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" begins with a disc jockey and features an orchestra; "(They Long to Be) Close to You" seems to be, if not a live performance, at least not just a lip-synched version of the original recording. Far better than the rest are several renditions of standards by Karen, notably "Little Girl Blue" and "When I Fall in Love," though in these late tapes she looks thin and prematurely old, in striking contrast to the younger version of her on the early tapes.

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