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Fantasy
Format: Audio CDChange
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2002
1973's "Fantasy" is certainly one of Carole King's greatest musical achievements and one of the most innovative albums of the early 1970s. The entire album works as a "sound suite" or "medley" as each song bleeds seamlessly into the next without any pause or interruption. King, of course, wrote, arranged and orchestrated all of the music, taking charge of conducting the string sections as well.
Musically, it is simply brillant. Observe the transitions from "You've Been Around Too Long" into "Being at War With Each Other" or how "Corazon" emerges with its bright Latin beat from the final strings of "You Light Up My Life." Likewise, it is a marvel to hear King launch from "Corazon" into the funky, "Soul Train" strains of "Believe In Humanity". She is positively joyous.
Lyrically, "Fantasy" has been attacked by critics throughout the years for being superficial and shallow. I find the lyrics adequate and sometimes even thought provoking, but at the same time very straightforward and uncomplicated in their phrasing, but I have always felt the best ideas are stated simply without pretention and complication. With that said... "Fantasy" becomes more magical and exciting with each and every listen.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 1999
Lay back, close your eyes, and listen to the words, phrasing, and music of one of the best albums ever recorded. To Carol King, this may be fantasy, to millions of us, these are songs about everyday life. From the listener being urged to look around... at whats going on around them in "You've Been Around Too Long" to closing with the need to "Believe In Humanity", this album has it all. In between those songs, you will find a non-stop succession of songs about life, hopes and dreams, all beautifully performed. For many listeners, it will seem as if Carol King reached inside your mind and wrote the words you have tried to express for so many years. While written from a female point of view, the songs will have meaning to all. This is a must have album for those times when you want to lay back, enjoy the music, but keep on thinking.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
...the concept album "Fantasy", where the singer/ composer "steps outside herself" and "becomes someone else". It grabs you at "You've Been Around Too Long" and by the time it gets to the jam "That's How Things Go Down"--ie, being pregnant by a no-goodnik--and the ain't no love in the heart of the city cut, "Heywood", you are totally mesmerised by King's vocals, her storytelling, her piano playing and the orchestrations. In fact, with a little tweaking here and there, "Welfare Symphony" and "Believe In Humanity" could have easily fit in Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" era repertoire..and I know the purists are gonna grill me for that last statement. King's "Tapestry" is her magnum opus, but the earth mother always has put out great, great music. This, I believe, is one of her best...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2001
After the radio-friendly pop of her previous four albums (which included the world wide hit 'Tapestry'), 1973's 'Fantasy' marked a radical change of direction for Carole King. Instead of being a collection of relatively unrelated songs, 'Fantasy' is a concept album from start to finish, addressing the social problems of urban America. As such, it bears favourable comparison with Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic 'What's going on'.
The concept of the album holds together successfully throughout, with a unity in musical style and at times quite a 'soulful' feel. Carole's musical involvement in the album was even greater than in its predecessors, as she was the sole composer, arranged the strings and horns, and played all keyboards. Many of the tracks link into one another, and the acoustic piano is so much the dominant instrument that it even forms the basis of the album cover design. However, the requirements of the 'concept' do not cause the quality of the songs to suffer, and many of the tracks stand up well in their own right, such as the r&b styled 'Believe in humanity', the latin-flavored 'Corazon', and the ballads 'Being at war with each other' and 'You light up my life'.
Issued at a time when concept albums were all the rage, 'Fantasy' might well have been considered risky or even pretentious for an artist not previously associated with 'social conscience' music. However, Carole made a very creditable effort here, and proved that she amounted to much more than just a writer of three minute love songs. This must be one of Carole King's most neglected albums, and it compares very well to 'Tapestry' and 'Music'.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2001
Back in the 70's I had the opportunity to be at a concert at The Music Box in Boston for a Carole King concert. It was not the first time I had seen her - and being a musician myself, I covered some of her music with my band. The Carole King I saw that night was not what I expected. The concept of this album - the musicianship displayed at that concert still stays with me after all of these years. I remember the bass player grooving as he played - Carole - hair flying, totally into the music as she played and sang. This album changed my world. "You light up my life" is so pure - the words bring me back to a time when boyfriends went away to college, class rings and senior proms - when the world was not crazy. Yes - I know it still was - but while listening to that album's music you could accept it and go on. I remember a good friend - pregnant by a guy who was in the service - crying through "That's how things go down" - at that time woman were often left alone to bear a child - not because the guy was a creep, but because it was too easy to be in that situation.
If you lived through the 70's - this album will take you back through space and time. You will smile.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2002
1973's "Fantasy" is certainly one of Carole King's greatest musical achievements and one of the most innovative albums of the early 1970s. The entire album works as a "sound suite" or "medley" as each song bleeds seamlessly into the next without any pause or interruption. King, of course, wrote, arranged and orchestrated all of the music, taking charge of conducting the string sections as well.
Musically, it is simply brillant. Observe the transitions from "You've Been Around Too Long" into "Being at War With Each Other" or how "Corazon" emerges with its bright Latin beat from the final strings of "You Light Up My Life." Likewise, it is a marvel to hear King launch from "Corazon" into the funky, "soul-train" strains of "Believe In Humanity". She is positively joyous.
Lyrically, "Fantasy" has been attacked by critics throughout the years for being superficial and shallow. I find the lyrics adequate and sometimes even thought-provoking...at the same time very straightforward and uncomplicated in their phrasing (but I have always felt the best ideas are stated simply without pretension and complication.) With that said... "Fantasy" becomes more magical and exciting with each and every listen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 1999
"Fantasy" is quite simply one of Carole King's greatest achievements and one of the most musically innovative albums of the early 1970s. The entire album works as a "sound suite" as each song bleeds seamlessly into the next without any pause or interruption. King, of course, wrote and orchestrated all of the music, taking charge of arranging and conducting the string sections as well. Musically, it is simply brilliant. Lyrically it is often thought provoking, but at the same time very straightforward and uncomplicated in its phrasing. "Fantasy" becomes more magical and exciting with every listen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2009
"In Fantasy, I can be black or white, a woman or a man ..."

So sings Carole King in the introduction to her "Fantasy" album, one of this prodigious singer and songwriter's greatest creative achievements. Released two years after her acclaimed, best-selling "Tapestry" album, "Fantasy" showcases both King's versatility and her virtuosity; many fans (including myself) consider it the high point of her storied career. In it, she sings a splendid variety of original compositions that encompass a wide range of musical styles and traditions, and she proves herself to be adept at them all.

The album's concept is brilliant. As each song blends seamlessly into the next, Ms. King takes on the voice of a new character: in "That's How Things Go Down", she is a young pregnant woman yearning for her baby's absent father; that leads into "Weekdays" in which she is an older housewife reflecting on her youthful dreams; and that yields to "Haywood", a poignant lament in which she is a young woman anguished about her brother's descent into substance abuse and crime. By the end of the album, King has assumed 11 different voices, each of them a thoughtful and passionate reflection on one aspect of the human condition.

If you're already familiar with this album, chances are good that you treasure it as much as I do. If you've never availed yourself of its pleasures, you have an undiscovered masterpiece just waiting to be discovered.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Fantasy" was the Carole King album after "Tapestry" that most broke the mold. Of course, the fact that in 1973 "Tapestry" was till high on the Billboard charts when this album came out. The productions are more polished that before and the tone is more soulful than warm and cozy, which is rather surprising since Lou Alder is still the producer. There is even a touch of the Latin with "Corazon." The two best tracks are "You've Been Around Too Long," which has nice guitar work by David T. Walker, and "Believe in Humanity," which is as overt of a message song as King ever wrote or recorded. Ultimately, because this is the King album least like "Tapestry," it is my second favorite because the comparison is no longer inevitable (and therefore not automatically fatal).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2006
When I listened to "Fantasy" again after all these years, it was like picking up a 1973 newspaper and reading story after story. Social Change was still in vogue, and the spirit of the 60's had not yet been extinguished. People confronted those in power ("You've Been Around Too Long") and asked that changes be made, and soon ("Directions"). Married women were questioning their lives ("Weekdays"), and unwed mothers were wondering if they could make it ("That's How Things Go Down"). There were problems in the ghettos ("Haywood" and "Welfare Symphony"), and the world's environment and very existence were in jeopardy ("Being At War With Each Other"). Carole relates all of this news with her superhuman skills, writing all lyrics and music, playing all keyboards, singing everything including background vocals, and arranging and conducting the strings and horns. This is a tightly produced album, more so than her previous three, and the result is excellent. Some may argue that the lyrics, and the solutions offered, are too simplistic, but I feel comfortable being presented with situations unaccompanied by too many details. We all know the problems exist - we just need a reminder. Near the end of the album, Carole presents a beautiful, heartfelt ballad ("You Light Up My Life") and then a rocking Latin number loaded with Carole's signature piano playing ("Corazon"). She ends with the best track of all, "Believe In Humanity", in which she and her piano remain in the groove while she states that she'd rather not hear the worst, or she might lose her faith in mankind, and she doesn't want that to happen. In a way she's right, because if you lose that, the game is pretty much over. We still have the same problems to cope with today, and more, but I still get the same uplifting feeling when I hear this album as I did in 1973. So, it's another timeless classic from the prolific Ms. King. If she can make ME feel better about the world situation, then she must know what she's talking about.
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