The Singles 1969-1973
Released: December 1973
Chart Peak: #1
Weeks Charted: 49
Certified Gold: 12/11/73
- Paul Gambaccini, Rolling Stone, 2/14/73.
This greatest hits package of 13 songs affirms the Carpenters' fine talent. Karen's clear, clean, pristine tones have a glisten whether it's heard on "We've Only Just Begun" or "Top Of The World." Placed end-to-end, the group's music has a compelling quality that stands the test of time. They are capable of making "Ticket To Ride" by Lennon/McCartney their own special vehicle, principally because of Karen's slow, involving vocal. Brother Richard's orchestrations and arrangements, plus his own sweet harmonizing on this and the other cuts, add the middle and bottom ranges to Karen's top levels.
- Billboard, 1973.
Thinking about the perfect present to buy your dead grandmother? How about an album full of dead wood?
- Ed Naha, Circus, 3/74.
The combination of Karen Carpenter's ductile, dispassionate contralto and Richard Carpenter's meticulous studio technique is admittedly more musical than the clatter of voices and silverware in the cafeteria, but it's just as impervious to criticism. That is, the duo's success is essentially statistical: I'll tell you that I very much like "We've Only Just Begun" and detest "Sing," but those aren't so much aesthetic judgements as points on a graph. C+
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Now and Then: The Singles 1969-1973 is from the group's most listenable period, but it overlaps the songs in a no-gap flow and has been superseded by Yesterday Once More. *
- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
It's yesterday once more with the early best of the sibling duo. Dismissed by critics as saccharine pop, it isn't cutting edge, no -- it's bubblegum but delicious, with Richard's outstanding production backing his sister's heavenly voice on fireplace love songs like "We've Only Just Begun." Optimistic with a tad of sadness, Karen's vocals are even more moving in light of her death due to anorexia. Swallow the lump in your throat, sing along and it'll put you on top of the world. * * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
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