Carole King

One to One

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No Carole King album could ever be called bad -- she's simply not capable of turning in songs that are anything less than melodic and expertly crafted & structured. One to One, however, found her in non-experimental mode. Past albums had explored country (Touch the Sky), R&B (Fantasy), and nostalgia (Pearls). But One to One was straight-up, no-frills singer/songwriter fare, close in spirit to Tapestry but without that album's iconic status. The production has the easy, unchallenging mid-'70s feel of Simple Things, and the personnel supporting King here is largely the same. The title track is collaboration with Cynthia Weill -- it's a catchy, candyfloss concoction, and something you imagine two songwriters of such stature could well have written in their sleep. King's lyrics have never been the most celebrated part of her writing, and she's not trying to reinvent herself here, either. But anyone won over by King's Capitol recordings (most of which failed commercially) will certainly enjoy the typically warm-hearted, altruistic fare presented here, particularly "Little Prince," "Golden Man," and the toe-tapping, Brill Building throwback "Read Between the Lines."

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