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If I Were A Carpenter

by Various Artists
If I Were A Carpenter by Various Artists
Released: Jan 1994
Label: A&M
One might expect the irony to be slathered on like angsty hair goo on Ethan Hawke in this tribute to one of the most mawkish mainstream groups of the 1970s by some of the most indie-certified artists of the alt era. But Karen Carpenter's tragic life epitomized the jaded alterna-dystopia -- and she sang some downright gorgeous songs. So with a few exceptions, the greasy glow of alt.irony is absent as bands either offer very straight (Grant Lee Buffalo's "We've Only Just Begun," with Richard Carpenter on piano) or pointedly morose covers (Sonic Youth's distorted, gut-wrenching "Superstar").
Rachel Devitt