Album Reviews

The City: Now That Everything’s Been Said (Light In The Attic)

thecity

The City
Now That Everything’s Been Said
Light In The Attic

In 1967, pop songwriter Carole King was a woman in transition. She moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles, on the heels of her divorce from Gerry Goffin, her songwriting partner for most of the decade. Although she was already an accomplished , internationally successful songwriter, these life changes prompted her to make a brand new start for herself.

A solo career would seem the logical next step, but that wasn’t the case; though she had released a handful of singles since 1959, she never had much success as a recording artist. However, after a handful of informal sessions, she formed The City, a folk-rock trio that also featured notable session guitarist Danny Kortchmar and bass player Charles LarkeyShortly after forming, the trio released their debut album, Now That Everything’s Been Said. Unfortunately, The City was short-lived, and King would soon embark on her solo career.

Musically speaking, Now That Everything’s Been Said is a record very much of its time. Penned by King, with the assistance of her new writing partner Toni Stern, the album’s songwriting is first rate, and offers a glimpse into what lay ahead for Ms. King. “Paradise Alley” and “I Don’t Believe It” are jaunty, upbeat piano-based pop numbers, and King’s voice is sunny, optimistic, and very easy on the ears, while “Lady” and “Why Are You Leaving” are sad-eyed ballads of love, romance, and growing from the heartbreaks of life. “I Wasn’t Born To Follow” would soon become a successful number for The Byrds as a part of the Easy Rider soundtrack, and the album opener, “Snow Queen,” is a slightly psychedelic folk/jazz hybrid that foreshadows the work of Joni Mitchell.  All in all, this was a pleasant, though somewhat low-key debut album, one that showed The City was a band of great promise.

But that didn’t happen. Thanks to label distribution issues, and King’s reticence to perform live, The City’s debut album sank without a trace, and the band quietly split up. But, really, one might not call it a “break-up,” because, really, the trio didn’t actually split. Kortchmar would become King’s long-time guitar player;  Larkey would become her second husband, as well as continuing to be her bass player; Toni Stern and King would continue to collaborate, while producer Lou Adler would continue to work with her. This team would collaborate on her smash hit second album, 1971’s Tapestry. So, really, The City continued to exist long after its so-called demise, and they definitely made good on the promise that this upbeat, earnest album offered listeners. 

The temptation exists to make Now That Everything’s Been Said a much greater album than it is, to deem it a rare jewel in a catalog full of spectacular records. It’s not; their sole album is undeniably a lovely record, but its importance comes more from what it stands for than from how it sounds, although one would be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable thirty-nine minutes of LA folk-rock.

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