Forty years of faultless pop

Forty years of faultless pop

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By Karly Cox

4/5

Karaoke favourites the Carpenters joined their record company 40 years ago; 40/40 celebrates four decades of memorable music with a double disc of 40 tracks.

The songs are mostly soft pop tunes which, in the hands of another artist, might be non-descript background music. But Karen Carpenter's pure, unadulterated voice, and her brother Richard's innovative production skills lift the songs, showing them off as the forward-thinking pop pieces they were when they were released.

The album opens rather appropriately with Yesterday Once More. Karen Carpenter's voice is particularly strong in the lower registers, bringing to this, and many of their ballads, a beautiful melancholy timbre that enhances the bittersweet lyrics.

The duo was famous for their slightly cheesy pop - Top of the World is perhaps the best example of this. In their hands, what could have been nothing more than an irritating jingle becomes a positive ode to the one who makes you happy.

The Carpenters were extremely creative musicians, able to put their mark on other artists' songs. Examples include The Beatles' Ticket to Ride, Sesame Street classic Sing and the bizarre but brilliant Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.

An unmissable buy if you care about the evolution of pop music, or you're just a fan of good tunes.

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