439. Carole King – “Tapestry”

It can be hard at times to appreciate at a distance of decades the impact of an album at time of release.

This album is certainly a case in point.  ‘Tapestry’ seems so incredibly familiar to these modern(-ish) ears and old hat in terms of content and style.

So many of the tunes on this 1971 release have become absolute standards (try this trio on for size: Feel Like a Natural Woman, You’ve Got a Friend and I Feel the Earth Move!).  Listening to it for a first time a couple of years ago, I was stunned that such songs all came from the same release (and, embarrassingly, I was surprised they were all King songs).

CK is truly a songwriter extraordinaire (which shouldn’t be a surprise given her previous role as a writer for others). She straddles the pop/rock divide very confidently, and her piano certainly drives the album down a very safe, melodic and catchy middle of the road.

I can certainly see why this album was a gi-normous hit.  It has incredibly broad appeal. The saccharine isn’t as cloying as it could have been.

Sure, there are cringeworthy moments of California hippiness (see the title track) and Oprah-eque self-love drivel (Beautiful), but what suprised and delighted me most is that despite all the aforementioned hits, the gem on here is Smackwater Jack:

File under: A finely woven classic

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