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Official Review [Album]: "VOICE OF THE HEART" (SP-4954)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 30, 2013.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    14 vote(s)
    20.6%
  2. ****

    21 vote(s)
    30.9%
  3. ***

    26 vote(s)
    38.2%
  4. **

    6 vote(s)
    8.8%
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
    1.5%
  1. Someday

    Someday Active Member

    A note about the packaging: overall it's great, but why include that awful photo on the insert?! It may have been taken by Annie Leibovitz but does nothing to help the same old image problems. One of the MIA unused shots would have been more suitable.
     
    A&M Retro likes this.
  2. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    And then, horror of horrors, he used that same photo on the cover of 'The Singles 1969-1981'. I'll never figure that one out. There are some great shots from that same photos session that would have been much preferable, but I know that was part of Karen's quirky personality. My guess is that's why he chose it.
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    With RC producing the next lp that NOW and YOU'RE ENOUGH were destined for it occurred to me that this outing featuring Karen's studio return was about to recreate the elevator/choir sound that garnered much disdain. If he was shooting for a commercial pop audience this would've missed the mark again. If the idea was to offer up more of the same he was spot on. There isn't a note from these '82 sessions that emotes a regenerated creativity or pulse of the radio. Satisfactory for fans, a pass for the casual listener. Had he accepted the fact that the chart runs of '69-'73 were over? Maybe this '82 foray was just vocalizing on vinyl and not intended for mass sales. But five years later he embraces an '80s sound on his solo. It looks like when he was steering he kept Karen in a box. She broke out once ala solo lp only to record MIA back in the box. I'm surprised RC's influence was still stifling at the '82 sessions. I wish Karen's creative genius would've fully emerged with the loss of Richard's muse. Given time I'd have liked to see her producing him.
     
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I would 100% agree with this. When I listen to those two tracks, beautiful as they are, nothing jumps out and screams 'hit' or contemporary' to me. They're old fashioned, sappy ballads and I have a feeling that a 1983 album of more of the same would have been a bigger flop than Made In America.
     
    Walkinat9, Rumbahbah and goodjeans like this.
  5. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    Absolutely. I said the same in the recent discussion of the Made in America album. Richard has said that of the two 1982 tracks, only 'Now' would have appeared on a follow-up, but even that, nice performance as it is, isn't the type of song to have much appeal for non-fans. It does suggest that he might have continued down the rather conventional and old-fashioned route shown on many of the tracks on Made in America on future albums.

    That said, I find Voice of the Heart a huge improvement over Made in America. The album manages to strike the right note in sounding a bit like a 'goodbye' and yet also contains some performances (Two Lives, Prime Time Love) that sound more contemporary than most of those on Made in America. The OK Chorale vocals weigh down a few tracks (I often wish they'd never been used on anything other than tracks like I Can Dream Can't I and Look to Your Dreams - it seems odd that Richard accused Karen of stealing the Carpenters' sound on the backing vocals of her solo tracks when by that stage he was hardly ever using that style on his own recordings with her!) and tracks like Sailing on the Tide and At the End of a Song are nice but uneventful.

    However, it also contains a few real stunners. Ordinary Fool is breathtakingly good and is one of my Top 5 Carpenters songs. Even though there are elements of 'sweetness' in the arrangement, I'd actually argue that Richard did a great job on this one. If you listen to the Bugsy Malone version or Paul Williams' recording of it, it's clear how much the arrangement assists Karen's stunning vocal in really drawing out the darkness of the song. Similarly, Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore reminds me to some extent of their early 70s singles in that it has more depth as a track than most they recorded post-1975. The doubling of the vocals on the chorus detracts a little from its impact, but it's nice to have a reminder of that feeling that tracks like Superstar and Rainy Days and Mondays evoked. Likewise, Look to Your Dreams is a poignant way to end the album and beats both 'shown tune'-esque attempts on Made in America hands down.

    In terms of some of the comments comparing this album unfavourably to Lovelines, I sort of understand the point being made, but I think the circumstances of Voice of the Heart's release, coming only some months after Karen's passing, are always going to make it a painful album for some, plus I think that if you took Karen's solo tracks out of Lovelines, it would be more of an even contest. Although Lovelines contains some strong tracks, for me it's those solo tracks that really give it that sparkle.
     
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Some excellent points above^^

    It does make you wonder if the solo cuts were never included on this album, would it have faired so well with the fans? If they were cut, then it's possible the album would never have been called, Lovelines...can you imagine that? I think Richard knew the album needed the solo tracks to not only bring it all together, title it....but to draw in that emotion of finally hearing Karen performing her solo tracks like we never heard before this time. In a way he was giving us what we wanted in "his" round-about way.

    I also wonder if the solo cuts from Lovelines helped pull the album together as a whole. I think that those cuts add a fresh approach to the Carpenters music, they were upbeat and had a more pop sound. I give it to Richard for being able to take all the tracks from Lovelines and place them in just the right order to make the album feel like it was recorded all at the same time, like a true Carpenters album (even though it was pieces put together from different times) it's like the songs were made for that album, unlike how VOTH feels dis-jointed at times, like...(these are the tracks I have left over for you to hear) and the choir doesn't help, in fact it hurts in my opinion.
     
    song4u likes this.
  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I think this comment nails it. The word I would use to describe the album is 'cohesive'. To me it's what a more modern-day Carpenters' album would sound like. Uptempo tracks mixed in just the right order with just the right number of lovely ballads in between, before the next sparkling solo track comes along. You're right though Chris, without the solo tracks, this would have been a more maudlin album, akin to Voice Of The Heart. The sour history surrounding the solo album aside, it also makes me wonder what a Carpenters album produced by Phil Ramone in the 1980s would have sounded like!
     
  8. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Richard intended VOTH to be a very downbeat,torchy album.Richard and A&M were in agreement on formulating an album akin to Linda Ronstadt's "What's New"-or Billie Holiday's "Lady In Satin".He had no intention,the year of Karen's death,of trying to formulate a contemporary album.

    VOTH is all about Karen's vocals-not the production or commercial appeal.And,it features some of Karen's most exquisite vocals ever.

    Karen was at her best when she wasn't contemporary.For people that are looking for commercial pop-that's why we have Olivia Newton-John & Cher.

    Personally,I feel VOTH is equal to HORIZON in terms of production,performance and material.

    We will never know how that lost 1982 album might have sounded-only two of those nine or ten tracks have been released. We know that "Now" and "You're Enough" were the best from those sessions-the rest of those tracks were probably more contemporary sounding.
     
    PJW and LondonRobert like this.
  9. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Richard told Paul Grein in 1983 in a Billboard article that Carpenters cut four sides in April, 1982.
     
  10. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    WOW!! I'd SO love to hear the other two tracks from April '82. What a pity they weren't included on 'as time goes by' album......
     
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    That's interesting....so someone is telling a fib?? :laugh:

    The official site fans ask questions & answer:

    Q: After Karen came back from New York in 1982, did she do any singing at all, other than her last performance at Buckley School for her god children?

    R: With the exception of "Now", no.
     
  12. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    The Billboard article mentioned above is semi-accurate.There were eight tracks recorded(and cataloged) during the 1982 sessions. I believe four tracks were completed in April 1982,and an additional track recorded that month was left unfinished.

    Three tracks were recorded with Richard's lead vocal. I think these were done after Karen went back to NY(possibly May/June 1982)and Richard was still working on this album,aiming for a Fall 1982 release.

    Four of these tracks(including "You're Enough") were Carpenter/Bettis compositions.

    Curiously,"Now" was the unfinished track from the April session.Most of the work on it was done in 1983 for VOTH.

    Due to Karen's prolonged therapy in NY, the project went into limbo by September/October. And by February 1983, it appears that K&R decided to can the 1982 album and record a whole new album that Spring.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  13. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Interesting, Mr. J. Thanks for clarifying. I also had heard that some of the '82 stuff featured Richard's leads.
     
  14. I'm so glad that RC chose to release Voice. It's a fine sounding album with great selections. Ok, Sailing On The Tide is rather saccharine, but Tony was such an integral part of the Carpenters sound, and a wonderful guy to boot.

    I can't understand what others say about it being a bunch of outtakes - it certainly doesn't detract from my enjoyment.

    My fave of the three post-KC albums.
     
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The utter sadness I initially felt upon hearing this album back in 1983 still resides in me today.
    It has many good songs, but Karen's tragedy made, and still makes, this hard to listen to with anything but sadness.
    A friend used to work at the record outlet and told me that this LP flew off the shelves upon release. The store played the
    album in its entirety for shoppers. It definitely has some nice work, and, again should have charted higher.
     
    BarryT60 likes this.
  16. It's good to hear that Voice 'flew off the shelves.' I'm happy that we got to hear more of R&C when it could easily have remained in the vaults.
     
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  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Ordinary Fool and Your Baby are two all time favorites of mine. I'm sure others disagree, but to me Two Lives is the misplaced song here.
     
    aaflyer98 likes this.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Just occurred to me today, while flipping through my collection of Carpenters singless, that I have never
    played this 45 of MBIYFT. Scan0020.jpg
     
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  19. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    I have 2 of those 45's with prestine picture sleeves....you must play this as the flip side is "Look To Your Dreams" edit and has never appeared on any CD..it is missing the ending piano compared to all CD versions. Interesting to note....one of my 45's is a promo which contains Make Believe on both sides and my other 45 is a standard with Make Believe b/w Look To Your Dreams, both are on the red label.

    I also have the full size official poster of VOTH that I love!!!!
     
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  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, here's the interesting thing I learned, after thumbing through my 45s and Picture Sleeves--I separate them, so as to not
    cause ring-wear on the sleeves--the vinyl is the double-sided MBIYFT , but the picture sleeve I have is for that song with flip side of
    Look to Your Dreams. On the hunt again for a 45 vinyl with LTYD !
    So,this forum keeps me on my toes!
     
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, I secured an actual vinyl copy of MBIYFT/LTYD (japanese issue) off of ebay.
    So, it was a short hunt, but, of course, I just had to spring for it.
    By the way, I always try for the Japanese vinyl, as it seems to be made much better than American
    or UK pressings.
     
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Interesting Gary....because I have been waiting for someone to verify the Japan 45 of Look to Your Dreams....can you verify if the extra piano ending that Richard added is present or missing? It's missing on the US 45 of Look To Your Dreams but I have never been able to acquire a Japan 45. In addition...the Japan Singles Box set that contains Look To Your Dreams does contain the extra piano ending so I am assuming it was added to the Japan 45 but can you verify that?
     
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, now I can hardly wait to get this piece of vinyl !
    As soon as it arrives, I'll give it a spin , and I will let you know how it pans out.
    Thanks for the advance notice. This is interesting, to be sure!
     
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, it arrived today, it was played today, and I can hereby report that the vinyl japanese single (AMP 785) of
    Make Believe/Look To Your Dreams has the same piano ending on the song LTYD. Sounds wonderful.
    Scan0034.jpg
     
  25. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    This is what I suspected since it's like this on the Japan Single Box set. It's unusual that it's edited on the US single 45.

    Thanks for verifying that Gary!!
     

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