But you’re not really here
It’s just the radio


OK, let me ask you this:

Where is our 2010 version of Karen Carpenter? You know, a female vocalist with a pure, clear, beautiful voice who just SINGS without all the frills and trills.

(Oops. I just thought of someone, but if I tell you it’ll ruin this post.)

Who do you think of when you consider today’s popular female singers?

Horrifyingly, the first name to pop into my head was Britney Spears. That’s so wrong, y’all! Even tho I think at one time Britney could sing, like, maybe when she was five, before all the Cheetos and Red Bull.

I asked Dave this question, and he was about to launch into a good discussion, but then I suddenly had to run to the bathroom and when I came back he was gone.

But really, where is our Karen Carpenter? So many singers today are determined to avoid sustaining a note more than one second before melisma-ing it to death, strangling and mangling the flow of the song until the melody is no longer recognizable.

Then there’s the wave of affected British soul singers (and, yes, you’re affected if you’re singing in a world-weary fashion at the age of 20.)

Don’t get me started on AutoTune or lip-synching. Can’t anyone actually SING anymore?

Karen Carpenter could.

Remember “Superstar“?

I loved that song. But I always used to wonder why it was called “Superstar.” The word does not appear anywhere in the lyrics. WHY? It bothers me still. When the song was popular in 1971, I’d sing it alone in my room and sneak in an extra line:

Don’t you remember you told me you loved me, baby
You said you’d be coming back this way again, maybe
Babybabybabybaby oh baby
I love you
(And Superstar does too)

Because otherwise, why “Superstar”?

Oh, gross. I’ll tell you why. I just checked Wikipedia, and . . .

Apparently the song, written by Delaney & Bonnie, was originally titled “Groupie (Superstar)” and was about “a groupie who holds a strong love for a rock star after a short sexual involvement.”

SEXUAL? Karen Carpenter? 1971? No way! I was only 11 when that song came out. How could it be sexual? I sang it in my bedroom!

Karen, this doesn’t change my love for you. It will remain as pure as your voice.

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73 Responses to “I Love Karen Carpenter (in a Non-Sexual Way)”

  1. 1 Tippy

    Alanis Morrisette or Sarah McLaughlin!

    But, even though you love Karen Carpenter so I don’t HAVE to…can’t I just love her anyway??

  2. 2 Anne

    I am sorry, but I love Karen Carpenter too. I appreciate your doing it so I don’t have to (since I always hate to be forced to do anything), but I am going to choose to love her anyway. What about Sheryl Crow?

  3. 3 dcr

    Spill the beans. Who do you think it is?

    Autotune is annoying too. There should be an all “No AutoTune” radio station or video music channel if they actually still had tv music channels that played videos.

    On the other hand, I think I once had dreams of being a rock star. Dreams that were, unfortunately, dashed and squashed and pummeled by the fact that I cannot sing. But, now, there is Autotune…
    .-= dcr´s last blog ..Another Day, Another Blog Post =-.

  4. 4 Kelly

    I love Karen Carpenter, too. It is my fondest wish to be able to sing like her. Sometimes I even achieve that lofty goal. :)
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Zen No. 12 =-.

  5. 5 puglette

    well, i think it’s all in the type of music you prefer. there are many female singers that don’t gargle the notes or stretch them beyond all hope. i really like natalie merchant, emmylou harris, chrissie hynde, annie lennox, beth orton and many more. i also really like linda ronstadt, she has a lovely clear voice.

    the newer singers of pop music are all copying each other. i personally don’t care for the latest pop music coming out. i am not a fan of modern “r & b” at all. i can’t stand the long drawn out notes.

    so…there’s my two cents. i am very opinionated about music. but music is so personal.

    ok, my brain dried up, i have two sleeping puggies on my lap.
    .-= puglette´s last blog ..And Dodger Is His Name-O! =-.

  6. 6 absepa

    Amen, sister! I am so tired of listening to singers that have been Auto-Tuned to the point of sounding like moderately lyrical robots. I have become a fan of Celtic Woman (even though they seem to have a rep for making old folks’ music) because they do have pure, clear, beautiful voices. Their harmonies are just amazing. And I’ve heard them sing a cappella, live, so I know there’s no electronic enhancement.

    I love Karen Carpenter, too. My mom used to sing “Close to You” and “A Kind of Hush” to me when I was little.
    .-= absepa´s last blog ..Of floots and fashion victims =-.

  7. 7 babs - beetle

    Oh you have no idea how pleased I am to read this post from somebody younger than me! I thought it was an age thing, but I hate all this stupid melisma-ing in songs. I REALLY hate it. There is nothing like a melody that flows, and I wish all these would-be singers would stop thinking they are the best thing since sliced bread because they can trill like a budgie!! Does it show that I hate it? I REALLY hate it?

    Karen Carpenter had a beautiful voice, and the only people I know that sing without trilling, are the slightly older singers, so who are you talking about?
    .-= babs – beetle´s last blog ..Conquering my biggest fear? =-.

  8. 8 cardiogirl

    As usual, my competitive spirit is in high gear. Is it Nora Jones? Am I close?

    Please give a hint.
    .-= cardiogirl´s last blog ..These things are not cool =-.

  9. 9 Kathy

    Auto-tune! Ugh. Horrid, horrid invention. Ruining music one song at a time.

    There was one Thanksgiving my family got together, after Karen Carpenter died, and one of her songs came on the radio. My mom was peeling potatoes and the rest of us were making side dishes.

    My mom asked that we turn off the radio while she was singing because she felt bad for us having such a feast “in her presence.” Poor Karen. I’m sure she wanted to eat, but just couldn’t.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..If He Dies, I’m Having a Yard Sale =-.

  10. 10 Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    I had to go watch the video because I had no idea which song was Superstar. When I think of Karen Carpenter, I think of “Top of the World” and….and…oh, I can’t remember. Didn’t she have, like, 347 Top Ten hits? And I can only think of one.

    And I’m no expert, but as I read your post KD Lang came into my head as a possible contender. I’ve never really listened to her much, but when I saw her on the Olympics, I thought, “Man, she just sings”, and she sang the shit out of Hallelujah.
    .-= Margaret (Nanny Goats)´s last blog ..Anger Management Issues with Boxes (and NGIP Merch Debuts) =-.

  11. 11 seafoodpunch

    I thought you were going to say gaga or fergie. and when you said horrifyingly….i thought you said whoryfyingly (is that a word?..it is now!)

    so basically…that goes to show that modern singers dress like whores and someone’s baby names them. I think it is entertaining…and I dont mind. BUT i dont love them in a sexual way either.

    As for talent. You dont need much of it these days. =(
    .-= seafoodpunch´s last blog ..OMGwtfBBQlolz! Interview! =-.

  12. 12 daughterbonnie

    I love the 1950′s music…so even the brass of Karen makes me go …? She & Him. Try them out- one guy..one girl…easy little music…all written by the people who are actually singing it!

  13. 13 ann

    I love Karen Carpenter. She could sing. These new ones, I don’t pay much attention anymore because none of it is as good as it was back in the day :)
    .-= ann´s last blog ..Around the house =-.

  14. 14 kathryn

    Wait a minute. There’s no way you were 11 in 1971! Were you counting with Pru’s toes again?

    I have 2 Carpenters songs on my iPod…Close to You and Song For You. I remember when the rumors swirled about some twisted relationship between Karen and her brother (Richard? Was it Richard? Richard Carpenter…no, that doesn’t sound right, dammit.)

    So sad that the world lost her at such a young age.
    .-= kathryn´s last blog ..Who? =-.

  15. 15 Stephanie Barr

    I grew up on Karen Carpenter and sang with her all the time despite the fact she’s a tenor and I’m a soprano. It’s like the reason my lower range ain’t half bad.

    There are always good singers out there. Celine Dion can really sing as Barbra Streisand always could. And there are several more.

    Thing is, the bopping and bobbing now de rigeur amongst pop stars is not conducive to singing. And most people aren’t listening for the caliber of the songs as songs today are rarely written for the vocalist to carry the melody (as they were in the old days).

    I went through a phase where I was hopelessly addicted to the music of Nelson Eddy, who was popular in the age as microphones came into vogue. I had a recording of him being used by a music professor to note the difference between “singing” and “crooning” as was done by the new radio stars. I learned a great deal and am now a snob because I’m generally only interested in songs I can sing to and I have no interest in singing except with the the best.

    There are a few singers still out there, but you might have to look for them.
    .-= Stephanie Barr´s last blog ..Pet Peeves =-.

  16. 16 Daisy the Curly Cat

    One of my favorite female singers is Sarah McLachlan. She sings real pretty!

    Karen Carpenter had a pretty voice, too. Here is one of my favorites:

    ? Touch me and I end up purring
    Trouble seems to up and disappear
    You touch me with the snacks you’re bringing
    I can’t really snooze when you’re near
    When you’re near, my love ?
    .-= Daisy the Curly Cat´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Those Shoes! =-.

  17. 17 Ron


    And I LOVE this post!

    Karen Carpenter was the BOMB!! And it’s just as you shared….

    “a pure, clear, beautiful voice who just SINGS without all the frills and trills.”

    You said it! I grew up with Karen Carpenter. In fact, for years I had several Carpenter’s LP’S.

    My favorite song of her’s is, “Merry Christmas Darling.” Christmas wasn’t Christmas until I heard that song.

    There are only a few vocal artists that I really enjoy at this time. One being, Christina Aguilera and the other, Jennifer Hudson. To me, both these ladies can REALLY sing.

    “before all the Cheetos and Red Bull.”

    HAHAHAHHAHAHAH….you crack me up!!!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..Seen Through The Eyes of Children =-.

  18. 18 GoingLikeSixty

    One of the best guitar riffs ever is in the long version of Goodbye to Love.

    Unfortunately this is unrelated to what you write about because Karen Carpenter could not sing guitar very well.

    What IS known is that she had a hammer and could hammer in the morning, hammer in the evening. Her legacy includes hammering out danger and a warning and love among siblings.

  19. 19 Lauren

    She could sing. Her voice floated across a room with deep soulful sound. I think there are a lot of great singers, indie artists, who don’t get the recognition they deserve because they are not being pushed by the behemoth record companies. Music has changed. It’s rare to hear a great pop ballad anymore. Or maybe it’s because I just listen to Sirius Radio “Classic Rewind.” Still stuck back in the ’80s.
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Zero-Gravity Hair Updo. =-.

  20. 20 Katherine

    Didn’t she do the Sha na na na song? If so, boy did I LOVE that song! I remember I was in about second grade when it would come on the radio and I would belt it out!

    I do NOT get the singers now who overdo the vibrato so much you don’t even hear what the NOTE is! And all that up and down, see how high you can get singing… then you end up being a bit older and not being able to sing that song in front of an audience cause you are TOO OLD to sing it!! :)
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..On Being A Redhead =-.

  21. 21 FishHawk

    Taylor Swift? Sarah McLachlan is also a great choice. How about Martina McBride or Carrie Underwood? Alicia Keys ain’t too bad, neither.
    .-= FishHawk´s last blog ..Sites To See =-.

  22. 22 Stephanie Barr

    I have to admit to being confused on the over-used vibrato. In the musicals of the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s, I know what you’re saying (Kathryn Grayson, Jeanette MacDonald, and whoever the soprano was in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), but I have to admit I don’t know anyone using vibrato to excess today who isn’t in (or aspiring to) opera. And even that’s unusual.

    Perhaps I’m lucky I never listen to the radio.
    .-= Stephanie Barr´s last blog ..Pet Peeves =-.

  23. 23 Anne Fescharek

    I know what you mean. That’s why I switched to country. Martina McBride has a clear, pure sound. I got fed up with all the wailing on rock stations. I guess I’m getting old.

  24. 24 JD

    Tippy: I find Alanis Morrisette to be a tad affected. I like Sarah McLachlin well enough . . . and yes, you may CERTAINLY love Karen Carpenter. There is enough love to go around.

    Anne: We will all love Karen Carpenter together. I think we may need to declare a Karen Carpenter Day. Sheryl Crow is not one of my favorites. Can’t put my finger on it.

    dcr: Someone actually said it below. So what you’re saying is you’re going to quit all your blogs and become an AutoTune rock star? I say go for it. If that wretched Kesha (no $ — not earned) can do it, why not you?

    Kelly: I used to sing (before a goiter ate my larynx), and I often tried to emulate her. She’s not hard to imitate, because she has such a normal style. But the quality of her voice is very special.

    puglette: Wow, I like everyone you mention. I just don’t think of any of them as particularly contemporary; at least, not in the sense of an up-and-coming female vocalist. Linda Ronstadt has a gorgeous voice. I loved her covers of “What’ll I Do?” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart.” Yes, music is personal.

    absepa: I’ll have to check out Celtic Woman. The name sounds familiar. I do love a good harmony. Awwww. Your mom sounds so nice. Dave bursts into tears whenever “Close to You” comes on the radio. Don’t tell him I said that.

    babs – beetle: You’ll have to read the comments below, as someone guessed my singer. There’s a time and place for vocal gymnastics, but when it totally ruins the song, it’s just annoying and stupid. There’s a melody for a REASON, people!

    cardiogirl: The answer is somewhere below, my wise young friend. Not a big fan of Nora Jones. I find her a bit boring. Yes, she has a nice voice, but . . . zzzzz. Just my opinion.

    Kathy: Poor Karen, indeed. And how sensitive of your mom. I certainly do not profess to understand how anorexia works, but I feel for anyone who suffers from it. Who knows what KC might’ve accomplished?

    Margaret (Nanny Goats): Yes. Exactly 347 Top Ten hits. Aaaand: CONGRATULATIONS! You are the winner. kd lang is exactly who I was thinking of. And bingo with “Hallelujah” at the Olympics. EXACTLY. She just sings. When you’re singing a great song and you have a beautiful voice, just SING, damn it!

    seafoodpunch: I have to confess: I love some of Gaga’s songs. And I kind of hate Fergie as a phenomenon, but she sounds good on “Girls Don’t Cry.” Eh, she’s OK. But I don’t love her in a sexual way either.

    daughterbonnie: Oh, my husband absolutely loves She & Him. I like them OK. They are a bit twee. But Zooey’s voice is very pleasant.

    ann: True dat. I’m really gonna have to do some serious Carpenters downloading today. There are so many good ones.

    kathryn: Dang, you’re right! I was only 10. I’m going to have to do a better job of researching. Yes, I think it was Richard. The only rumors I remember was that he was gay. Quelle horreur! Of course, nowadays who cares? (And Pru resents your implication that she has mutant toes!)

    Stephanie Barr: Celine Dion has a great voice, but she’s a chief offender when it comes to melisma and trills. I think, anyway. I do like her version of “Holy Night.” I remember your mentioning Nelson Eddy a while ago. I do like Linda Eder, tho she sounds a lot like Streisand. But there will never be another Karen Carpenter.

    Daisy the Curly Cat: Yes, I like Sarah too, tho I never thought she maintained the greatness of “Possession.” Oh, my goodness! Daisy, I’d forgotten all about that song! I’d love to hear you sing it. Especially the line about the snacks. I bet you would bring a little tear to my eye.

    Ron: You KNOW I love you too! As I said above, I’ve got some downloading to do. I like X-Tina when she just SINGS and doesn’t do all the Throat Olympics. And J-Hud is pretty damn awesome too. I wish we could get together some day and sing Carpenters’ songs.

    GoingLikeSixty: No, she couldn’t sing guitar, but she COULD play the drums, and that is probably due to her talent as a hammerer. Now I gotta check out “Good-bye to Love” and see if it’s worthy of some air guitar.

    Lauren: The 80s are not a bad place to be stuck. And I agree: music has definitely changed. Karen Carpenter would probably not make it today because she would probably refuse to go pantsless or smear coke all over her face. Maybe it’s just as well she didn’t make it past 32.

    Katherine: I DON’T KNOW! I’ll have to check that out. Awesome, if it’s true. And boy, do I agree. Witness Whitney Houston. Sistah cannot do the “And IIIII-EEEE-IIIII will always love YOooooooOOOOoooo” anymore. Maybe if she’d just sung it straight to begin with . . .

    Stephanie Barr: Yes, singers of that era — Kathryn Grayson in particular — were synomymous with vibrato, but their style was more operatic. But you SHOULD listen to the radio every now and then. Just when I think I’ll never find a new artist or band or awesome song . . . there it is.

    Anne Fescharek: You’re not old, just sensible. I’m not a country music fan, but I know what you mean about many country singers. It’s just a more straightforward style.

  25. 25 Pricilla

    I can’t say I listen to music.
    My music is the sound of the birds in the air.
    The sweet Maaaaa of my studmuffin, Luke.
    The burp of Abby.

    Such is the music of MY life
    .-= Pricilla´s last blog ..AbbyDay: Dreaming of Sunnier Days – A Happy Goats Video Extra =-.

  26. 26 absepa

    I love the term “Throat Olympics”–my sister and I refer to it as “vocal gymnastics.” It seems to me that a lot of these new singers use it to cover up the fact that if they just, you know, SING, they don’t sound so hot. I think kd lang is awesome. I would love to have a big, rich voice like that.
    .-= absepa´s last blog ..Of floots and fashion victims =-.

  27. 27 Patricia (Lightswitch Rave!!)

    First, I must apologize for what went through my mind when I first read ‘throat olympics.’ I am truly and humbly sorry that I am a pervert.

    I grew up in a strict ‘NO KAREN CARPENTER’ household. My mother absolutely despised her for reasons that I have yet to figure out. She said if she were tortured with music it would be Miss Carpenter singing. :(

    For my generation, at least, ‘Close to You’ is known as Marge and Homer Simpson’s song…I do believe there’s an episode centered around Lisa and Marge trying to install a doorbell with the first couple notes of it.

  28. 28 BarbWillThink4Wine

    I see someone beat me to it. k.d. lang has been around 25 years, and I still find it hard to believe how few people know about her. Her voice is simply magnificent. Her Shadowland album blew me away decades ago – and still does. And NGIP is right – k.d.'s version of Hallelujah is my favorite, right behind Jeff Buckley, my nephew Mike and Il Divo.

  29. 29 Surfie

    I love Alison Krauss’s voice. Very strong and clear and beautiful. Some of her newer stuff is more pop-like, but her older stuff is more bluegrass. I love both. She has an album out with Robert Plant and the songs are pretty awesome. I don’t have the album so I’ve only heard a few songs, but I liked them. He doesn’t sound anything like you’d expect from hearing Led Zeppelin. One of my favorite of her songs is the cover she did of Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothing At All”. Beautiful!
    .-= Surfie´s last blog ..Breakfast of Champions =-.

  30. 30 Patricia (Lightswitch Rave!!)

    I thought of a singer. Perhaps Whitney Houston in her pre-Bobbi-Brown-crack-is-whack-I’m-rich-I-use-cocaine era? She could really belt out that song from the Bodyguard. I never knew the word ‘love’ had so many syllables.

    I know she’s trying to make a comeback but it’s not happening.

  31. 31 Patricia (Lightswitch Rave!!)

    Perco-days lessen my reading comprehension. Sorry about the repeat. Word about your previous Whitney comment.

  32. 32 Shieldmaiden1196

    I loved Karen Carpenter simply because she was an ALTO…so many of the female singers were sopranos but she had this gorgeous voice that was like dark wood and good coffee. I used to beg my mom to put their music on for me. We had a reel to reel machine when I was little (this would have been like 1975) so I couldn’t put it on myself. I still miss her.

    Oh…and k.d. lang….I remember buying the album with ‘Holding back the Reins’ and ‘Full Moon Full of Love’ and ‘Trail of Broken Hearts’ and listening to it until the tape broke. Love love love her.
    .-= Shieldmaiden1196´s last blog ..Course Correction, Part Deux =-.

  33. 33 Stephanie Barr

    You know, it’s kind of ironic because, although I fully admit that Celine Dion has a well-trained voice and can really sing, I really don’t care to hear her sing. I didn’t understand why until I heard her sing a duet with Barbra Streisand (who can also sing). With Celine, it seemed it was all technique while Streisand had soul. Bette Midler has definite style and can sing, too, but there’s something in her voice that doesn’t work for me at all.

    I suspect the “soul” part is part of it. Karen’s voice definitely had it, but, out of respect to the other singers (that I am also maligning), I have to add that she had considerable vibrato as well. All decent altos and female tenors must. Any sustained note will sound dead without it. However, a vibrato in a low voice sounds completely different than it does in a high voice because of the frequency. Same reason an operatic tenor leaves me cold while a talented baritone or a (stop my heart) basso profundo will completely blow me away. My sister, on the other hand, things tenors are the bomb.

    Vibrato in a high voice, however, especially if it’s pronounced, can readily sound affected. In a low voice, it sounds like soul and emotion. Think Billy Holiday, Lena Horne, Patsy Cline, Anne Murray, and Crystal Gayle. Country music frequently appreciates low voices; I think you can find more there.

    In the end, personal taste are a big part of it. I listen to a number of low voices because my mother (a female tenor with, sadly, a tin ear) listened to them and I’ve learned to appreciate them. But, I love to sing with a good voice, “good” of course meaning a voice that appeals to me.
    .-= Stephanie Barr´s last blog ..Pet Peeves =-.

  34. 34 Shelly

    I love Karen Carpenter. I have an album somewhere but nowhere to play it. I’m thinking Nora Jones as well even though you already said that was wrong. Barbara Streisand doesn’t do all the hoopla and I think she still sings. Celine Dion? I never really listened to KD Lang but she did rock at the Olympics.
    .-= Shelly´s last blog ..Wine vs. Water. I’ll take the Wine, Please =-.

  35. 35 JD

    Pricilla: I wish I could listen to your music every day. Yes, even the burp of Abby. It all sounds lovely.

    absepa: I agree. While it takes some sort of skill to perform the vocal gymnastics, I think it takes way more skill to just hold a note and sound beautiful. Like kd lang.

    Patricia (Lightswitch Rave!!): No need to apologize. You’d be abnormal if you DIDN’T think that. At least to me. Your Simpsons reference sounds about right. Wouldn’t it be funny to buy your mom that “Close to You” doorbell?? Now let’s go break open that glowstick and pour it into Homestar Runner’s Mountain Dew.

    BarbWillThink4Wine: There are sooooo many versions of “Hallelujah,” but I think after Buckley, kd lang nailed it. Of course, I haven’t heard your nephew’s version!

    Surfie: You know, I keep meaning to check out that Alison Krause/Robert Plant CD. I’ve heard good things about it. And what little I’ve heard of Alison Krause, I quite like. That does it! I’m off to Lala!

    Patricia (Lightswitch Rave!!): No, it’s not happening. Sorry, Whit. It’s a shame, because she really did have a gorgeous, powerful voice. She did a little too much melisma for my liking at times, but she had the goods to back it up, at least. Mmmm. Perco.

    Shieldmaiden1196: YES! I loved her low alto — so different from anything then or really even now. “Dark wood and good coffee.” Perfect. I only JUST heard kd lang’s “Holding Back the Reins” a year or so ago. I was sitting in a coffeeshop in Toronto, and I thought, WHO IS THIS? I should’ve guessed. I downloaded it as soon as I got home.

    Stephanie Barr: You’re so right about soul and technique. Just because you CAN sing doesn’t always mean you should. I’m not sure I agree about vibrato being necessary for a long sustained note. We’re so used to hearing it; sometimes it sounds strange not to. I can’t think of an example, but I know there’s a few good singers who don’t really do vibrato, but whose long notes sound just delicious without it. The names will come to me. Then there’s too much vibrato. Or an undisciplined vibrato. You can’t just shake the larynx! You’ve gotta control it.

    Shelly: I recommend kd lang. It’s funny how many of y’all love Karen Carpenter too. I know Nora Jones is very popular, but she just never caught on with me. Linda Ronstadt was another fave and OH! Ann Wilson from Heart. Early Heart.

  36. 36 MomZombie

    I think for me, the distinction comes down to a vocalist versus a singer/songwriter. By that I mean it’s not always the quality of the voice, the gymnastics of the vocal chords, but rather the feeling that comes through in the singing itself. When someone sings words they wrote themselves, it carries more meaning and emotion. I’m thinking of singers such as Suzanne Vega, Neko Case, Ani DeFranco and Jewel (her early stuff — and if you’ve ever gone to one of her concerts, when she sings a capella and yes, yodels! — it’s amazing. She has some pipes.)
    .-= MomZombie´s last blog ..I don’t know how to parent my teenager =-.

  37. 37 Maureen

    There will never be another Karen Carpenter…. so pure.

    I can’t think of anyone even coming close.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..It’s a Zoo Out There =-.

  38. 38 Patricia (Lightswitch Rave!!)

    Holy Cow…there’s an artsy fartsy film about Karen Carpenter that an ‘artiste’ put together called ‘Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.’ It was filmed in 1984 (i.e. way too soon)…and the entire cast is Barbie dolls. MOMA actually purchased the thing, but it’s on youtube.

    It never saw the light of day (the dark of the theatre?) much because Richard (you go, Richard!) sued to prevent him from using his and his sister’s songs. It’s downright disrespectful and I want my money back, even though I saw it on youtube for free.

    Sometimes I wish I could unbrain things.

  39. 39 Lin

    Isn’t it sad that Karen Carpenter died because she had some issues with feeling “unloved”. Well, that is what I understood triggered her eating disorder–her marriage had failed. What is amazing is that she was and STILL is loved so dearly by so many. Tragic, eh?

    I’m with you on this one–she is the best. She just sang–no frills, no wacky outfits (although that tie-dye skirt was killer), no fancy backdrops or hoopla. I think the only person close to performance like that nowadays is Barbara Streisand, but she’s got an ego the size of the moon, and that turns me off.

    There isn’t a young singer now that doesn’t have to hype her music with videos or background dancers, and I can’t think of one that is just a simple singer. I think the industry has changed since Karen’s day. I wonder what they would make her do to sell records if she were still alive? I shudder to think.
    .-= Lin´s last blog ..Talk Derby to Me =-.

  40. 40 Sue

    I was never a big Karen Carpenter fan, I guess I could say I liked some of her songs, so I appreciate you loving her in a non-sexual way for me.
    .-= Sue´s last blog ..Send me sedatives =-.

  41. 41 Kathleen Kaufman

    I have to admit that Karen Carpenter scares me and has ever since the 1980′s era mini-series about her anorexia. I know that’s not the focal point of her career, nor does it overshadow her musical talent, but the mere mention of her name makes me shiver. Way to go CBS.

    Now that I think about it, Brittany Spears scares me too….as does Taylor Swift. Maybe I can’t really blame CBS….
    .-= Kathleen Kaufman´s last blog ..Arizona: God Enriches and Demands Paperwork =-.

  42. 42 meleahrebeccah

    I have always loved Karen Carpenter almost as much as I love Carly Simon and Joan Baez! And I honestly cannot think of any female vocalist in this day and age with such a pure voice.

    However, I do think Alicia Keys, Mary J Blige, and Christina Aguilera are extraordinary.

  43. 43 JD at I Do Things

    YES! Neko Case. She's another good one. And early Jewel. I always regretted that Jewel went so mainstream — and then country. And I could not agree more with you about the difference between singing your own song and someone else's. You can always tell.

  44. 44 JD at I Do Things

    Well, as I said, I do like kd lang and Neko Case, tho neither of them have quite what Karen Carpenter had. She was truly special.

  45. 45 JD at I Do Things

    I knew about that! I've never seen it (and I agree: WAY too soon). I will not watch it on your behalf, even tho you watched it and now cannot un-watch it. Consider this something I will do so you don't/didn't have to.

  46. 46 JD at I Do Things

    It is tragic. If only she'd been able to understand and appreciate the impact she had — and still has — on so many people. But even that doesn't always help one's pain. The old videos of her are wonderful to watch (and she even has a Bumpits in one!) She just plain sang. I doubt if the powers that be would even consider her marketable today. Sad.

  47. 47 JD at I Do Things

    Well, finally! I knew there had to be a few Karen Carpenter non-fans out there. I'm happy to love her so you don't have to. But tell me: who do YOU love?

  48. 48 JD at I Do Things

    Oh, my gosh. I'd almost forgotten about taht miniseries. We didn't really know what anorexia was then — at least I didn't. Maybe from an Afterschool Special or something. It was terrifying to see how thin she was — and to know why. There are a lot of scary people out there today. At least Karen couldn't help it.

  49. 49 JD at I Do Things

    All of those women do have some powerful and pretty pipes. It's not that there are no good female singers anymore, but times have changed and musical “tastes” seem to demand more bang for the buck. Karen wouldn't have lasted in this world.

  50. 50 meleahrebeccah

    Sad, but true!

  51. 51 sheila

    Man I adored Karen Carpenter, I was 10 when she died and will always remember that day – we had just arrived at Williamsburg and heard it on the radio. I still love listening to her voice and there are very rarely singers who could even begin to compete.
    I remember when my sisters and I were singing that Billy Joel song about Catholic Girls, my dad broke the record – I can only imagine what he would have done if he thought the Carpenters where singing about groupies and sex.

  52. 52 Stephanie B

    I used to think so too, when it came to vibrato. But then I heard a recording of a music professor demonstrating the difference with a professional singer. No vibrato=dead as a doornail. And he was using a singer who I never considered high on vibrato in general, but I could surely tell when there was “none.”

    Knowing what to look for, I then listened for vibrato and realized that many people, who I never considered having much if any vibrato used it, just sparingly. I still don't care for over-done vibrato, particularly for high voices (personal preference). The fact that Karen Carpenter is described here as having no vibrato (when she has a pronounced, but not overdone one) is a case in point.

    If you ever hear someone singing a long note and it seems to run flat, you might just be hearing someone short on vibrato. Or breath.

  53. 53 Tarheel Rambler

    A few years ago, Kasey Kasem did a whole radio show on pop songs that didn't have the title in the lyrics. The only one I can think of right now is “Annie's Song” by John Denver.

    Anyway, as for modern versions of Karen Carpenter, what about Carrie Underwood, or Kelly Clarkson?

  54. 54 Tarheel Rambler

    I agree with you on Alison Krauss. She is my favorite female vocalist by a mile. And I could get lost in those eyes of hers.

    What is neat about Alison is that although she is mostly known for her bluegrass music, she can sing almost anything.

  55. 55 JD at I Do Things

    Two good options! I do think both of those singers have good voices that aren't all “fancied up.” I guess maybe the fact that I don't care that much for their actual music keeps me from considering them worthy of the title “The 2010 Karen Carpenter.” But then the Carpenters had a few doozies.

    Now I want to do a post on songs that don't have the title in the lyrics.

  56. 56 JD at I Do Things

    HA! I'm sorry to laugh at your dad, but that is funny. I'm still having trouble coming to terms with the subject matter of “Superstar,” but I don't think I'll get violent about it.

  57. 57 Jenn of Many Cabbages

    Maybe Annie Haslam (she's kinda obscure and been around a LONG time, but with a voice clear as a bell.)

    There's also Loreena McKennit– gorgeous voice.

  58. 58 CarissaJaded

    Please don't hate me for this, but The Carpenters always kind of scared me.. Actually not always, I never really thought about them much until that movie 1408.. that movie's use of the song “We've only just Begun,” gives me serious heebie jeebies!

    But yeah, there aren't ANY true women singers these days.. unless you count Justin Beiber :/

  59. 59 babs (beetle)

    KD Lang does sing that beautifully!!

  60. 60 babs (beetle)

    I can't answer your comment to me, on my comment.

    Yes, KD Lang! Fantastic voice. I have some of her music. Of course there are a couple of British singers that I love, and don't trill too. Alison Moyet comes to mind. She actually sings with an English accent too ;)

  61. 61 babs (beetle)

    Oh yes!! I forgot those two! Both have beautiful voices. I have heaps of Joan Baez tracks :)

  62. 62 JD at I Do Things

    As if I could hate you! No, I understand. I'd forgotten that song was in 1408. Creepy. And I DO count Justin Bieber. Why not? Until his voice changes, at least.

  63. 63 JD at I Do Things

    I'm listening to Annie Haslam right now. I'd never heard of her. Love her version of “Nature Boy.” And I think I have a Christmas song by Loreena McKennit. I should check out more of hers.

  64. 64 JD at I Do Things

    Maybe because I installed Disqus right in the middle of receiving comments? Anyway, I quite like Alison Moyet. Jenn recommended Annie Haslam — do you know her? Beautiful voice and VERY English.

  65. 65 babs (beetle)

    I don't know her. I may well investigate. I like singers that have very distinctive voices. Annie Lennox is another one, though her style couldn't be classed as classic.

  66. 66 meleahrebeccah

    Joan Baez RULES!

  67. 67 Rob O'Daniel

    I've gotta throw down a second vote for Sarah McLaughlin. There's a unfussy purity and authenticity to her voice. She's sorta faded from the scene recently, but I still love her!

  68. 68 JD at I Do Things

    Yeah, I do like her too. She was all “Lilith Fair” for a while there, but I haven't heard much from her. Maybe she needs to be a mentor on American Idol!

  69. 69 Maria Hernandez

    I know you weren't really asking for someone who sounds exactly LIKE KC, but you have to hear Tia Carrere's (yes, the chick from Wayne's World) version of “Sing” on her Hawaiiana CD. The whole CD is great, but you will particularly enjoy “Sing” (track 10). You can hear a sample on Amazon:

  70. 70 JD at I Do Things

    Wow! That came out of nowhere! She sounds a LOT like KC on “Sing.” I listened to samples of the other songs, and I really like them. Love the Hawaiian influence. Thank you!

  71. 71 finding pam

    I always thought the song was titled after someone in her life and as you suggested a brief affair. In the same vein as Carly Simon's song Your So Vain.

    There is no one that can replace her and no one should ever try to duplicate her incredible voice. Like you, Karen was one of my favorite singers.

    I like Christina Agulara because of the strength of her voice and range. It is sad to hear WHitney Houston sing now. She has lost her gift through too many years of abuse.

    I came deom Sandee's blog Comedy Plus. Nice blog

  72. 72 Becky

    Have you heard the Luther Vandross version of “Superstar”? Gorgeous!
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..At Least the Food Was Good =-.

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