It is in the 90s even as I write this. And what song has been going through my mind all day? The Carpenters‘ “Rainy Days and Mondays.” I don’t think much about The Carpenters. They certainly created finely crafted music with Karen Carpenter’s beautiful voice. And boy did they work with great people. On this song, we have Joe Osborn on bass and Hal Blaine on drums. It was co-written by Paul Williams (lyrics) and Roger Nichols (music), who are not exactly underachievers.
At one point in my life, I probably would have brushed the song aside as so much sentimental nonsense. But it really is more than that. It’s got a great old AABA structure with a really strong refrain. And Jack Daugherty’s production is just perfect for the song. It builds in intensity rather than volume with some very nice background vocals during the bridge. I think it compares well to the modern “wall of sound” where no emotion is ever allowed to leak through.
Now, of course, it seems that everything The Carpenters ever did is even more bittersweet than it was at the time because of Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate end. I do wish she were alive today: old, fat, and working a cabaret stage in Las Vegas. Oh well:
My favorite of their songs is Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett’s “Superstar.” I don’t think it is as well written as “Rainy Days and Mondays.” In particular, I don’t like the disjointed transition from the verse to the chorus. And to be fair, the original Delaney & Bonnie version deals with the transition much better and is generally a better version of the song. But I like The Carpenters‘ version because it is plays the naivete way up. This includes changing the original lyric “I can hardly wait to sleep with you again” to “I can hardly wait to be with you again.” Very Biblical!
Anyway, since you have probably heard The Carpenters version too much anyway, here is the Delaney & Bonnie version:
And it is now down into the 70s as I write this.