I realized that even in my fervent teenage years, when I divided all music (thankfully, for a very brief period) according to whether it "rocked" or "didn't rock", I always gave the Carpenters what I call "a free pass". I'm not a fan of their form of treachly pop, but in their hands, I really admired what they did. Karen's voice was so silky, and the records had an unabashedly pop sensibility.
I got to thinking about this idea of the "free pass". Some people use the term "guilty pleasures", but I think that's really a different connotation. To me, the "free pass" is someone who works in a genre or style I just can't really get into at all, but the individual performer still catches my fancy. Sometimes one is short of soul mates, after all, and just needs to ward off nausea.
So I put together this