A Word about the Carpenters

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Nothing says nostalgia like a song by the Carpenters.

I’m not a child of the late seventies or early eighties, despite what my wardrobe may tell you. My mother and father were, however, so naturally I’ve been accustomed to Karen’s melodious contralto for the better part of my life.

Until recently, however, I was only aware of the music the group had done for Christmas albums. If you haven’t heard her sing “Sleigh Bells,” you haven’t lived, I say. Last summer, while the Ramblers were on vacation and shoveling through a Wal-Mart five dollar CD bin, mother stumbled across an CD of a few of their hits and insisted we get it.

Funny how Karen Carpenter’s voice always reminds me of Christmas, even when she’s singing about a postman or a rainy Monday.

Their songs have a kind of untouched innocence about them that the rest of the seventies and eighties never considered important. Their songs give the impression, at least to me, that they never really tried to be more than what they were—a brother and a sister making music for the fun of it.

I love their music. It’s quickly becoming as much a part of my past as it is for my parents’. My only complaint is their overuse of the word “baby” as a term of endearment, but the same complaint can be made of every artist in the entire music industry, so it’s hardly singling them out for ridicule.

I can only wonder how their simple, untouched music became as popular as it is and was. There was nothing glamorous or edgy or world-rocking about it. Then again, perhaps that’s why. In a shifting, changing, edgy, dangerous world, doesn’t everyone want to take a moment from all the songs that blast their complaints about love and the world and listen to something—simple?

In case you were wondering if I was coming to some kind of ponderous conclusion, I’m not. I’ve just been listening to the CD we bought last summer as I drive to and from work every day. And throughout the day, the songs echo in my mind and remind me that despite the chaos surrounding me in my ever-changing world, I still have to be a human, doing my daily tasks, making my daily memories, and hoping that my life can be as simple and as beautiful as a song by The Carpenters. 

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One response »

  1. Love, love, love The Carpenters. Their music was there when Uncle D and I fell in love, became engaged and married, and it helped to usher us through the newlywed days spent in the U.S. Military at Ft. Jackson, SC. “We’ve Only Just Begun” was sung at our wedding 42 years ago. And “Merry Christmas, Darling” has bittersweet memories for me … newly engaged, but knowing my fiance was to leave one month later for basic training and possible deployment to Vietnam. To this day, it remains one of my favorite Christmas songs. Thank you for bringing back some memories!

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