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The Singles 1969-1973

A&M 3601
Released: December 1973
Chart Peak: #1
Weeks Charted: 49
Certified Gold: 12/11/73

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review:
Close To You

Album Review:

Album Review:
A Song For You

Album Review:

Single Review:
"(They Long To Be)
Close To You"

Single Review:
"Top of the World"

Richard Carpenter:
In His Own Words

Carpenters Lyrics

Carpenters Videos

Karen Carpenter Mugshots

Richard Carpenter Mugshots

Richard CarpenterKaren CarpenterThe Carpenters' greatest hits are assembled here in no predictable order, connected by a set of innocuous links. No damage is done to the body of the singles, meaning that Tony Peluso's exquisite guitar solo on "Goodbye To Love" and Karen Carpenter's exaggerated breaths on "Top of the World" are still present. Heard together, the duo's hits prove that Richard Carpenter didn't study music at Yale for nothing. His clean arrangements, delicate piano turns and conservatively employed strings enhance almost every cut, and after a few tracks it becomes obvious his contributions have been grossly underestimated. "Ticket To Ride," the group's first and only dud, is included for historical reasons, but it's still as tedious as it was four years ago. Outside of "Sing," which is ruined by the children's chorus, it is the only duff tune on a surprisingly strong collection.

- Paul Gambaccini, Rolling Stone, 2/14/73.

Bonus Reviews!

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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