Top U.S. chart position: #2
Close to You marked the explosion of the Carpenters onto the American pop music scene. This album spawned two hit singles and turned the Carpenters into Grammy-winning musical superstars.
Interestingly, the two most well-known songs on this album, "We've Only Just Begun" and "Close to You," are not indicative of the darker, more melancholy mood of the overall album. "Crescent Noon," which is possibly my very favorite Carpenters song, is truly haunting. "Help" and "Another Song" are much harder-edged than what you typically think a Carpenters' song would be.
The use of vocal overdubbing grew more sophisticated here. "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" is a shining example of the Carpenters' overdubbing technique. And on "Crescent Noon," Karen and Richard literally replaced a choir (an earlier recording of the song had the choir of California State University Long Beach providing the backing vocals).
Overall, this is the most varied and adventurous of the Carpenters' studio albums. The material covers the range from ballads to rock, country to pop. Karen's voice was still not at full maturity, but it was pretty close.
A note about the song "(They Long to Be) Close to You": The version of this song on the Close to You album is longer than the single version, which appears on all subsequent compilations. Instead of fading out, the vocals and other instruments stop while the piano plays a "conclusion," which turns out not to conclude the song as the rest of the parts come back in for a few more repeats of the title phrase.
Produced by Jack Daugherty
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" / "I Kept On Loving You" #1 (4 weeks)
"We've Only Just Begun" / "All of My Life" #2
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