Girls Like Us: The Women of the 70s Rate (#13: You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?) | Page 30 | The Popjustice Forum

Girls Like Us: The Women of the 70s Rate (#13: You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?)

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Lila, Jun 10, 2019.


Which is your favourite album here?

  1. Blue - Joni Mitchell

    12 vote(s)
  2. Between the Lines - Janis Ian

    4 vote(s)
  3. New York Tendaberry - Laura Nyro

    1 vote(s)
  4. Tapestry - Carole King

    7 vote(s)
  1. I surely didn't expect this song to go this far, but it's not overrated. I really like it.
    The gap between the two songs by Kate & Anna McGarrigle in the eliminations is notable, though.

    And now I'm afraid that my 11 is going to leave next. I really hope it does manage to remain until the top 10.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 1:02 PM
    Filippa and Lila like this.
  2. Today, one of my Spotify Daily Mixes was basically the 'Girls Like Us' special.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 3.39.59 PM.png
  3. The next elimination is coming tomorrow, I promise, but it's difficult because it's someone's eleven and there's not as much commentary as I'd really like. I have to gather my thoughts a bit more. Sorry it's got a bit slow the last few days!
  4. Proud of Kate and Anne making it so far! What a true classic, so happy to discover it here!
    Lila and Maki like this.
  5. Honestly, I feel like it's mine so feel free to take all the time you need and not eliminate it.
    Lila and Maki like this.
  6. Rest easy, @Music Is Life.



    Rainy Days and Mondays

    Highest scorers: 11 x 1 (@ohnostalgia), 10 x 4 (@pop3blow2, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Remorque, @Music Is Life)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@Filippa)
    My score: 7.5
    Thread title lyrics: Fire and Rain - James Taylor

    When I was choosing Carpenters songs for the rate, I tried to go for the ones that had the most 'singer-songwriter' sound, if that makes sense. I was more than aware they were my most contentious pick; for many people, Karen wouldn't come into consideration when discussing the women of this era. But I love her more than almost anyone else and desperately wanted to give her the kind of re-evaluation as a musician that I think she's long overdue. This song was a last minute addition to make her contributions sound more cohesive; the song it replaced, Goodbye to Love, is one of my very favourites but it would have stuck out here like a sore thumb. This is not only a lovely song but a perfect example of the kind of lyrically driven pop the women here were known for. It fits in perfectly and makes a better case than I ever could for Karen's inclusion in this crowd.

    When I was fifteen, I had what was basically a nervous breakdown. It stemmed from many things: my relationship with my dad, hereditary mental illness, an inability to deal with repressed memories and so on. It's not something I'm embarrassed to write about (god knows I've already shared enough here and in other places on the forum) but I know it's a stark thing to confess. In the grand scheme of things I was only a baby and it was the beginning of the depression I've been dealing with, and realistically will deal with, for the rest of my life. I didn't find Karen until I was a couple of years older and my companions throughout that time were Joni and Janis, as I mentioned in my first post here. But Karen has always felt closer to me personally than any woman here other than Joni herself (lest we forget, I briefly pretended to be her professionally dd). I see a lot of myself in her: self esteem, shyness, a desire to have ownership over anything in a world that feels so tumultuous and a need to be loved above all.

    Richard didn't write this song (thank god) and Karen didn't play the drums on it, but it's one of their signature songs, perhaps because for those of us who adore Karen it speaks to something about her, and maybe us too. Her favourite Carpenters song was always I Need to Be In Love, and this almost feels like a spiritual successor to that; where that song longs for love above anything else, here she has it, and it's the only saviour from everything else in the world. The former is both sad and hopeful, still asking for perfection "of a quite imperfect world". In Rainy Days and Mondays, the love she has is a salve to everything around her, although not a solution. Because the song isn't really about love at all, it's about that very feeling of hopelessness, the one that makes us thing that love is all we have in the first place. Relationships are one of the most important things in the world and that's something that was more true for Karen than anybody, treated as badly as she was by her family, but as joyous as it is to know somebody loves you, it still quite often isn't enough. When I had my nervous breakdown, and in all the years since, I've had extremely supportive friends and the constant love of my mum. It's a safety net but it can't change you. In I Need to Be in Love, Karen hopes that it will; here, she knows that it doesn't. And yet we wish for it anyway.

    All that being said, this isn't one of my favourite Carpenters songs. Maybe it expresses everything a little too plainly, maybe I just love everything else too much for it to really land up there with the ones closest to my heart. Funnily enough, it's a song I could never quite master either. It's deceptively complex, both in terms of instrumentation and her performance, which is as beautiful as you might expect. I'm sorry to @ohnostalgia, who no doubt has much more interesting things to say about this than me.

    Only three of you left comments for this, which is a little sad :( They were mostly good although @abael's (7) commentary is a little at odds with their relatively high score: "The crispness of the remix is an improvement on the original, but the song was never particularly impactful." @Maki (7.75) goes a little higher: "Karen's voice is just magic... great song, too. Perhaps it's not one of my favorites by them, but it's great."

    @pop3blow2 (10) is typically thoughtful and gets the last word for it: "There was always such a childlike quality to this song. It’s a very pure kind of sad. I know I keep dwelling on the ‘sadness angle’ in a lot of this music, but many of the woman dealt with all kinds of mental issues & depression… and as someone who suffered some with that myself (probably since I was very young) I just really gravitated to that kind of aesthetic. Whether that helped comfort me or made me dwell on it, I don’t know the answer. But I love this music so much, none the less."

  7. I just woke up and I can’t deal with this right now. Will be back.
  8. Me and @ohnostalgia on our way out of this tasteless bunch
  9. There goes my last 7, and I have a pretty even split of six tracks six and under and eight tracks eight and over
    Maki and Lila like this.
  10. Okay but this isn't really any better. Deserved top 10.
    ohnostalgia and Lila like this.
  11. "Rainy Days and Mondays" isn't my favorite out the three Carpenters' songs, but it isn't what I thought would be the first song that Karen will be losing. Great song, but not amazing.
    Anyways, not bothered by its elimination.
    Lila likes this.
  12. Probably what I should've done when my beloved New York Tendaberry lost all its songs before the top 30!

    (I'm fine...I'm fine.)

    I feel like I would do injustice to 'Rainy Days and Mondays' by trying to explain how it makes me feel... as I'm afraid it might sound condescending or like a back-handed compliment. So, at the risk of not being to articulate it properly, I'll just let my 10 stand. It's just an amazing song.

    Also, my commentary... yeah. I do feel like I should take a minute to say that I was lucky in the respect that I actually had pretty good childhood. I feel like some of my commentary here, the Vanessa rate, & certainly barring my soul in the Mandy rate make it sound like I was a sad little sack as a kid. That's not really the case. I was surly very sensitive, though, which led to some real challenges in my youth... and as we all know if you have that inclination in your youth it can make for a bumpy road as you get older.

    As such, I just really found comfort in sad music & really connected to the soul of a lot 'sad music' probably before I ever really had much to be sad about or faced real depression. I just understood it for some reason. Oddly, I think it even helped prepare a sensitive soul to deal & cope better, for the journey ahead. As I did get older, and even now, I'm very interested in tracing the steps to how we become what we become... and maybe even understand why I love things as much as I love them, etc.
  13. So I have this playlist called “Driving With Mom.” It’s pretty self-explanatory- I choose mom friendly songs from the past and present to play in the car while we drive together. Naturally, knowing my mom loves the Carpenters, I threw some of their tracks onto the playlist. One day, while Rainy Days and Mondays was playing, my mom turned to me and said that she used to sit in her bedroom and listen to it on repeat. And that image just stuck with me, my twenty something mom, alone in her room with Karen Carpenter. I think it really struck me because over the last year I’ve really leaned on Rainy Days and Mondays whenever I feel anxious, depressed, or just bad. And while my mom would never admit it, she has an anxious personality, something that was passed down to her from her mother, which she then passed down to me. Isn’t it interesting, I thought, how the same song, forty years apart, can soothe both mother and daughter?

    Anyone who thinks Rainy Days and Mondays is too on the nose is out of their goddamn minds. Early this year I made a failed attempt at journaling One Line A Day. Rainy Days and Mondays made two appearances - the first was “Remember singing Rainy Days and Mondays outside in the snow,” while the second was “What I feel has come and gone before.” When you’re stuck in a cycle of rotating medical professionals, you really start to feel this pressure of forward momentum. When are you going to successfully challenge those thoughts? When are you going to learn your coping skills? When will you feel better? How can we make you feel better faster? When will you eat normally again? There is an entire mental health industry built on self-improvement, the next great journey towards your better self, etc etc. It was a trap I fell into the first time I got treatment for my anxiety, way back in 2014. Frankly, it’s a nasty one. Unless your depression or anxiety is situational, it’s very likely you’ll be dealing with it the rest of your life. Some periods it will be quite tame, others it may rage out of control. Always chasing that permanent cure is a fool’s game. To hear Karen Carpenter sing “what I feel has come and gone before/ no need to talk it out/ we know what it’s all about” just blew my mind this year. These are powerful words that speak to resilience. They are a reminder that you’ve been anxious before but made it through, so you can do it again. They are a reminder that it’s not a failure to re-experience old thoughts. They are a reminder that sometimes it’s okay to be sad, that cures don’t always need to be chased, and that sometimes you just need to be. Sometimes you just need to be that woman in the park on a cold snowy January day, singing over Karen Carpenter until your neighbours’ ears bleed.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 11:15 PM
  14. This is better than I could have ever wished. Thank you.
  15. Rainy Days and Mondays is my favorite Carpenters song. Its one of the few songs I remember clearly singing along with in the car with my mom when I was very little (the others being Celine's It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Shania's You're Still the One, Mariah's Vision of Love and Cher's If I Could Turn Back Time. Iconic, no?), so it's very precious to me.
    Music Is Life, Lila, RUNAWAY and 4 others like this.
  16. Well, it's time for me to suffer.



    Hurting Each Other

    Highest scorers: 10 x 3 (@Petty Mayonnaise, @Music Is Life, @Lila)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@Remorque)
    Thread title lyrics: Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush

    This is not only my favourite Carpenters song but one of my favourite songs ever, and probably the only thing that could have come close to taking my eleven other than The Last Time I Saw Richard (RIP). I've talked a lot about certain moments in my life that have made me fall in love with some of the songs here, but this is one where I love it simply because I think it's wonderful. As a vocalist I think it's one of Karen's finest hours -- her sincerity was part of her power and appeal, and it's a trait that is never more alive than it is here.

    It's a simple story: a couple love each other more than anything, but are fundamentally incompatible and destined to only harm both themselves and each other. Yet it's that masochism that keeps them coming back, locked together like Heathcliff and Cathy. Lots of people (read: straight me) think the Carpenters are twee and that their music is unchallenging, certainly less so than that of Karen's contemporaries. But the tales they tell are as complex as any of those Laura or Janis ever did. They're simply constructed differently, a layer of light in the form of the instrumentation covering up the dark of Karen's voice and the words she's saying. Their status as the quintessential band of Nixonism is fundamentally misleading: yes, there were the Please Mr Postmans and the Top of The Worlds, but there's still a sorrow to those songs, because it's Karen who sang them and she could hide nothing. Everything she ever felt was their in her voice; when I listen to her after a glass of wine, it's like being able to see through time.

    I think about Karen in the same way @pop3blow2 thinks about Mandy. She's simultaneously uniquely relatable for me and like an enigma I constantly have to unravel, full of threads that tell me new things every time. I adore her, and I adore this song, partly because it's everything I love most about their music. It's poppy and desperately tragic all at the same time. You wonder what would happen to the couple in the end. Perhaps they got out before it blew up in their faces. Perhaps their mutually destructive tendencies brought them both to their knees. The ending, with the chorus repeating and trailing off into nothing, seems to leave it an open question. Listening to it again now, I can't help but assume the worst.

    Hardly anyone had anything to say about this either, and those who did were apathetic at best :( @Filippa (8) gives this glowing endorsement: "I’m not a fan of the music of the Carpenters. But I like a few songs like this one." @Maki (8) is on the same page: "I didn't know that this was a cover, but it does sound like some type of classic. Great moments throughout, but unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as I hoped to." We'll finish with @abael (8), who at least manages a positive adjective: "One of the more energetic and focused tracks in the rankings, though slightly repetitive, is a refreshing change." Someone please come and talk about how they love this, quickly.

  17. The songs by Karen are being eliminated from my least to my most favorite. I like "Hurting Each Other", but it feels like there should be something more to it.

    "Superstar" is quite beautiful, but it's still not a 10/10. Looking at my scores, and it should reach top 10.
    abael and Lila like this.
  18. Dd Carole should've been completely eliminated before we even touched Karen, and that's the tea.
    Lila likes this.
  19. Sorry to see Karen lose another song back to back...and one of your faves to boot. ugh. I did really like the write-up though.

    I’m also happy that her songs did so well in the rate, especially considering she was up against some albums that are considered some of the best ever made. Talent.
  20. Hm.



    Diamonds and Rust

    Highest scorers: 10 x 6 (@soratami, @KamikazeHeart, @Trouble in Paradise, @Maki, @Music Is Life, @Lila)
    Lowest scorers: 5 x 1 (@abael)
    Thread title lyrics: All Too Well - Taylor Swift

    Break ups are hard, aren't they? We are comfortable, loved, safe, and then all of a sudden are foisted into the unknown with all of those things ripped away from us and a broken heart. Over time, you rebuild yourself. It's something I've been trying to do these last six weeks or so, something I think maybe doing all these write ups has helped with. Putting songs you love so much under the microscope is strange, because you learn things about yourself that you didn't know and make connections you had no idea existed. We don't always think about why we love things, we just know that we do, so when you sit down and try and answer that question for yourself it requires a level of self-knowledge I think is difficult to achieve. When you're trying to decide why you loved someone, it's even harder.

    This is a break up song, but it's written ten years after the fact, letting hidden feelings and half forgotten dalliances spill out. It reminds me of All Too Well, if that song was more balanced and thoughtful rather than powered purely by emotion. It's cathartic, but it's a slow kind of catharsis, the kind with a small smile as it's face rather than a howl of anguish. It starts with a phone call and spirals from their, detailing his treatment of her, her perception of him and the highs and lows of their relationship. In some ways, the fact that the men in question is Bob Dylan doesn't really matter; for many years, in fact, Joan lied and claimed it was about David Harris, her husband of five years. Like all great songs, it makes specific moments in the writer's life universal. When she sings of their walk in Washington Square, we think not just of them but of all the men we've ever walked in squares with, who we've ever loved, who we ever would have died for. And we think too of their passive aggression, of their arrogance, of the ways they hurt us. What this song really does, and does so beautifully, is capture the way all of those moments, perfect though they may have been, are tainted by what comes after. It's in everything, even the construction of the song: "We both could have died then and there" is immediately followed by "You're telling me you're not nostalgic / Then give me another word for it / You who are so good with words and at keeping things vague." There's reproach and recrimination both for his actions and for the fact that they've affected something so otherwise magical.

    I don't necessarily believe in amicable break ups. It's not that I relish conflict because I truly don't. I just don't know how to stay friends with someone I used to love so deeply and who occupied so much of my life. Maybe that's me betraying my age a little but I stand by it. The memories start to hurt too deeply and if you continue to be around them then it can only be painful. I'm sure you're all sick to death of hearing about my own recent break up and I have tried not to dwell on it. But it's still fresh and these songs have lived with me for years and years to the point that they're always in conversation with me, with my highs and my lows. This feels like one of the most significant right now. I'm still waiting for the memories to become vague enough so as to be bearable.

    Here's @abael (5) with a wrong opinion: "Seems poorly paced. It all could've done with some structure." I wish @pop3blow2 (9.3) could have managed an extra 0.7: "Just a bit of a mini-epic, really. The production is so good here. A bit other-worldly in places."

    Not @Maki (10) giving full marks: "I have a feeling I've heard this song before, but can't be sure if that's true. Anyways, this just kept growing on me until the 10 solidified and this became one of my favorite discoveries of the rate. Gorgeous music, vocals, melody, lyrics... just wonderful. That instrumental is a 11/10, though. Brilliance from beginning to the end." You're so right. Let's close with a paragraph from @Trouble in Paradise (10), who I love: "Ohhhhh man! I still remember the first time I heard this song. I had gotten the record based solely on knowing that Joan was more or less the reason Bob Dylan was Bob Dylan. I’m not a huge vinyl person but something about hearing this song for the first time on an old thrift store record felt spiritual. The way her vocals simply pour out of her, dripping with emotion yet still with a knowing restraint. She’s confessing but only so much. This is why Dylan will never connect with me, his songwriting is superb but his vocals will simply never match this level of knowing."

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 9:17 PM
    Maki, ohnostalgia, abael and 5 others like this.
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