Horizon marked the first album of all-new material from the Carpenters in two years. However, the long span of time between this album and Now & Then was not filled with a burst of songwriting from the Carpenter/Bettis team, nor was it a time when Karen and Richard could rest and build up their creative energies (they toured almost constantly during that period). This did not mean that the production quality slipped; to the contrary, this album is very slick and well-polished.
Where this album differs from the previous ones is in its "edge." Or, actually, its lack of one. Horizon is more mellow and laid back than any of their previous efforts. It has its upbeat moments ("Only Yesterday," "Please Mr. Postman" and "Happy"), all of which are very catchy pop tunes. And there is plenty of the melancholy here, with flawless performances from Karen ("Desperado," "I Can Dream Can't I" and "Solitaire").
Richard continued with the idea of "bookending" the album with matching songs. But when you subtract those two songs (which are less "songs" and more "prelude" and "conclusion"), there are only eight real songs on the album, and the listener feels a little shortchanged.
Nonetheless, "Please Mr. Postman" was one of the biggest hits of the Carpenters' career. An interesting trivia fact: "Please Mr. Postman" is the only song that has reached #1 on the American charts three separate times (the Marvelettes, the Beatles and the Carpenters). Incidentally, the version of "Please Mr. Postman" on Horizon is a remix of the single version, which had been released in 1974.
"I Can Dream Can't I" was the first "old standard" recorded by the Carpenters, and it is perfectly suited for Karen's voice. Other songs on the album make full use of Karen's lower range, showcasing her talents quite effectively.
Recorded at the same time as the other songs on Horizon, but not completed until almost 20 years later, was "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again." This song was presumably left off the album because there were already enough ballads on it, and the master tape for it was misplaced, not to be discovered until Richard was remixing "Only Yesterday" in 1991. See Interpretations for more details.
Produced by Richard Carpenter
Associate Producer Karen Carpenter
"Please Mr. Postman" / "This Masquerade" #1 (1 week)
"Only Yesterday" / "Happy" #4
"Solitaire" / "Love Me For What I Am" #17
Return to the Carpenters Album Index.