Carole King is having a pretty terrific week: The legendary 70-year-old singer/songwriter was finally awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just yesterday, and tonight she’ll be honored at a Hollywood fundraiser called “A Celebration of Carole King and Her Music” (for Paul Newman’s Painted Turtle Camp) where talents like Alicia Keys, John Legend, Jack Nicholson (?!), and Katy Perry will toast her.
My God, I could not love Carole King more. If you don’t Tapestry, her 1971 blockbuster that I just crowned the greatest female solo album ever to sell 10 million records, you’re a traitor to the human race. But it’s less likely that you own Carole’s other albums, which feature so, so many fabulous songs. Here a bunch that I think you’ll love. (Some are more familiar than others.)
Already weeping! “Sweet Seasons” is a classic example of Carole’s charm and sincerity paired with a winning melody. It is a dream. I also love how simple adages feel so warm and, in their own way, truer coming out Carole’s mouth. “Sometimes you win / sometimes you lose / and sometimes the blues get a hold of you / just when you thought had made it.” It sounds so sweet! Talking about the sweet seasons!
“Been to Canaan”
Here are just a few of the things I love about “Been to Canaan”: the gentle lulls in this song between “Been so long…” and “I can’t remember when…”; the dreamy imagery; the amazing line, “We all need a promised land”; the whole bridge; that twinkly-ass piano! Give it to me.
“Only Love Is Real”
Perhaps my absolute favorite on the list — “Only Love Is Real” is soothing, cool, heavenly, and super catchy. “Everything else illusion” could sound like a preachy bit of “Imagine”-esque lyricism, but instead it seems like another truthful, wonderfully divined insight. I literally can’t stop beaming at these songs, and you’ll forgive me when my descriptions get trite. It’s Carole King, kids! The world’s greatest!
“After All This Time”
Now, surely you own Carole’s Carnegie Hall concert. Right? Right? Well, it has a few piercing collaborations with James Taylor, as well as a couple of Carole tracks not released on her other albums. One such gem is “After All This Time,” which has one of her sweetest confessions, “There can be no doubt in my mind / That I still love you after all this time.”
“One to One”
I routinely pretend that I’m in the opening credits of an ’80s sitcom based on my life. Who doesn’t? I like to picture “STARRING Louis Virtel” underneath my face as I take a cake out of the oven or slap my landlord in the face. Standard fantasy material. Well, I always picture Carole’s “One to One” playing as my ’80s theme. It is so peppy and credits-appropriate! If you don’t know this song, you will slap yourself (and your landlord) for not being aware. Fun, fun, fun.
“Now and Forever”
Did you forget Carole’s contribution to the A League of Their Own soundtrack? Because the video has an A League Of Their Own montage that definitely outclasses the one in “This Used to Be My Playground,” and I wouldn’t say that about just any A League of Their Own montage. Sweet, bopping, nostalgic fun. I picture dolphins jumping to this. Not kidding.
“Love Makes the World”
In 2001, Carole King released a sepia-tinged album (literally) called Love Makes The World that sounded very Starbucks-appropriate while bearing traces of hip-hop. Sound unbelievable? Or unlistenable? I challenge you not to love the title track, a proclamation of loving unity that has the timeless magic of Carole King’s melodic sense.
“You Can Do Anything”
This pick-me-up jam, also from Love Makes the World, may feature Babyface on backup vocals, but the real star is Carole with her inspirational vocal and sweet, encouraging lyrics. I personally think there’s just the right dollop of hip-hop here. Never overbearing or weird, but the beat does drive the song. Fabulous.