+ written by Richard Carpenter and Pamela Phillips Oland
* written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis
Japanese CD release
This is a collection of the "best hits" from Japanese singer Seiko Matsuda, on the occasion of the 20th year of her singing career. The two tracks with Richard Carpenter were newly recorded for this collection. Strangely, they are both Christmas songs, which is odd since Japan isn't a country for which Christmas is a widely-celebrated holiday.
Seiko Matsuda's English is pretty bad, but unlike Akiko, her voice doesn't sound like Karen's at all. She is a very good singer overall, but her bad pronunciation really doesn't do justice to these lovely songs.
Both songs are very similar in production style -- rather "Carpenters" in feel, although not as much like Carpenters' Christmas songs as regular album tracks from the early '80s. Richard provides backing vocals on "Christmas Turned Blue," and pretty much the same group of studio musicians that appeared on Scott Grimes and Akiko are present here (including Joe Osborn and Earle Dumler), along with an orchestra. It's a big production!
We can hope these two songs turn up on Richard's new Christmas album, slated for release in late 2002. Preferably with vocals by Richard or someone else for whom English is a first language! They are great additions to the Richard Carpenter songbook.
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