Karen, Korean (Music Thoughts, Classic Carpenters)

166738-L-LOGrowing up, I was obviously a Carpenters fan. I say obviously, because really, in the 70s, who wasn’t Karen’s hauntingly beautiful vocals defined a generation. So anyone doing the Carpenter canon surely gets my attention. Korean/Australian singer Dami Im tackles these songs in her new album, ‘Classic Carpenters.’

I didn’t really know Im, so I had to search the good old internet to see who she is. apparently an X Factor contestant. So I thought to myself, for sure this will be karaoke versions. And perhaps the power of suggestion is so strong that when I first played the album straight through I said, yeah, karaoke. But I kept on playing it, and yes, she does inflect her own take on the songs, subtly. Im obviously can sing, and her voice reminds me of Katherine McPhee’s, vocal fry and everything. Invariably I realized that it is good to hear these songs in a very modern way as you realize these songs do stand the test of time. The arrangements sound like they were done today even as they remain very faithful to the original. And perhaps that’s where my problem stems. I wish they had done more to these songs, but perhaps that is not the point. They are obviously celebrating Karen & Richard, and at the same time showcasing Im’s voice.

And she sings these songs with great abandon. You can tell she loves the material, and she lays her out there, especially on songs like ‘Superstar,’ and ‘Rainy Days And Mondays.’ She covers all the big hits here, though the archivist in me wishes she had delved into some lesser-known Carpenter songs. But really I must be honest – this is an enjoyable listen: there’s familiarity and recognition, and I spent an hour in cardio the other day blissfully listening to this.

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