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Official Review [Album]: "MADE IN AMERICA" (SP-3723)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 1, 2013.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    9 vote(s)
    13.4%
  2. ****

    13 vote(s)
    19.4%
  3. ***

    26 vote(s)
    38.8%
  4. **

    17 vote(s)
    25.4%
  5. *

    2 vote(s)
    3.0%
  1. This thread veered off-topic and those posts are now in the Their Ultimate Fate thread.

    Please continue posting in THIS thread about MADE IN AMERICA
     
  2. It's interesting to compare the album to something like Olivia's "Physical", which has held up quite well itself. Both have a mix of uptempo and ballads, but Richard would never want to make an album that sounds like Physical. Despite not going over the edge and totally embracing the dated, cheap sound of early 80s pop/AC, Physical sounds like it couldn't be from any year but 1981 for the most part. MIA (apart from say Back in My Life Again, which sounds like a cut off Olivia's record) sounds as if it could have been made in the 70s or today. The material may have been beneath them for the most part it has a much more timeless sound and Richard thought so. I'm sure he enjoyed and appreciated Physical but he knew that he wanted to craft something again that wasn't trendy.
     
  3. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    That was an interesting listen. She does sound stronger here. The standout track for me on the album. Almost something a bit Bee Geeish about it.
     
    BarryT60 likes this.
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It's all down to the way her vocal was treated during the final mix down. This is a good example of how her vocals weren't always pushed right up front and centre on the album, the way Richard previously claimed he liked her to sound.
     
    WYBIMLA, LondonRobert and Mary Beth like this.
  5. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    "Strength of a Woman" came on my earphones yesterday while I was typing. I was surprised by how contemporary it sounded.
     
    newvillefan and GaryAlan like this.
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I've thought that a few times about the song when listening to it for the first time in a while. Another song that's rarely anthologised. I'm surprised though that it was ever a contender as a potential single.
     
  7. WYBIMLA

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    An inclusion and remix or remaster of "Strength" for the 50th would be nice, eh?

    That could probably be re-recorded by a current artist and released as a single now... with the lyrics as they are and change of pace from poplar club beats it could see some success with a video too!
     
  8. And didn't Karen say it was her favorite track on here? The lyrics are pretty pathetic overall and aside from some sensual phrasing she sounds so weak. It does sound "fresh" still but the backing vocals really ruin the tune.
     
  9. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    No, she said The Wedding Song was her favourite - probably for sentimental reasons.
     
  10. Are you sure? I could have sworn a newsletter said that Strength was.
     
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I'm sure Neil is right. The newsletters asked Richard which song was most likely to be next single and he said possibly Strength Of A Woman.
     
  12. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Karen and Richard were definitely big fans of 'Strength Of A Woman', and it was included on the hype sticker that was affixed to the DBX version of MIA.
    Richard also spotlights it as a highlight of the album in their in-store recorded promo for 'Record Town'.
     
    goodjeans likes this.
  13. Maybe whoever I read it by was wrong then. It could be she just said it was one of her favorites. It honestly sounds like a reflection of Karen's marriage - I have to find strength and put up with my man's bull$hit, or his "weakness". Like, I have to tolerate it simply because I'm a woman and he's my husband. Pretty nasty stuff especially in this context.
     
  14. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    35+ years later, "Strength of a Woman" is really the only song on side one of MIA that I listen to very often. I can definitely see the problem with the lyric. Still, there was a freshness to the arrangement that was completely absent from most of the album -- the throbbing bass line, especially. Stuck between overproduced and cliche-ridden tracks like TGOD and WYGWIT, it stuck out like a jewel. Not going to make any guesses about how it might have done as a single, but it was one of the very few MIA songs that (to me) didn't feel like they were just repeating themselves, with lesser-quality selections, after not having released an album in several years.
     
    goodjeans and Jamesj75 like this.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    My only issue with Strength Of A Woman is that the choruses are overblown and Karen is completely drowned out by the backing singers, presumably to make that really high note sound more powerful ("weakness of her ma-a-a-a-a-aan"). If people had caught the song on the radio back in 1981 and heard the chorus, I don't think they'd even have identified the song as being by Carpenters.
     
    Mary Beth likes this.
  16. I like the dark shades in the opening and that's where Karen's vocal (though reedy) sounds very sensual and enticing. But it doesn't hold up for long, as Newvillefan points out it becomes too much, you can't indentify the lead singer , and for me, the lyric is putrid. With some tweaking of all of the above it could have been a real gem.
     
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As I was reading Reader's Digest Liner Notes, I was struck by the characterization of the song
    I Believe You, as having the same "four part harmony" as Close To You.
    R: "We sing it and then triple each one."
    I've listened to those two songs hundreds of times, I can honestly say that
    I never thought the background harmony, four-part, was at all the same between the two songs.
    I still do not understand why the harmony in
    I Believe You sounds askew to my ears !
     

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