Allow me if you will to wax a bit philosophical about Karen Carpenter. Okay, there are other singers of all stripes and certainly a whole crop of new female singers that are all the rage – there’s that Katy Perry and the one Mrs. Gaga – and that’s all well and good and I’m sure they’re all that and a bag of ironic chips, but then, right?, then there’s Karen Carpenter.
Alone in an empty room sans any electronic enhancement and singing a single run of notes any of those other singers would fall to their knees at the feet of Karen Carpenter. She’s got more velvet in a single sung note than Tony Bennett could fit in his no doubt considerable mansion.
Most singers sing to a crowd – an audience. Karen Carpenter sings to you. If you don’t believe me, strap on some headphones and listen to “I Believe You”. Listen to how her voice hits every note, the perfect songstress, while also talks to you – directly to you. She believes you. Can you believe Karen Carpenter? You should. Or you’re Soul-Dead.
Really. What is it about Karen Carpenter that makes all of us – you, me, everyone we all know – just melt when she sings? I will tell you. It’s honesty. No singer in the history of humankind sang with such unabashed truth. In an era where there’s little truth in music. Karen Carpenter is here. Still. She’s here.