Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Richard may have been able to discern quality material but he proved that he didn't know what to do with it once he found it. Whether we like Barry's version of "Can't Smile..." or not, it got to #3 on the U.S. "Hot 100" so it was a huge hit and Carpenters' version did absolutely nothing as it wasn't released as a single. IMHO, the remix does nothing to help matters as the mix was never the issue; it was the arrangement. It's just dreary and sad. Manilow's treatment of the tune is completely different and it worked extremely well as many people bought the single. Carpenters'...didn't. It's very soft like everything else on that album. This kinda speaks to the issues with the album as a whole. It's all far too pleasant and, as @Rumbahbah said, too same-y. It's all very nice but nothing sticks out as anything that could have hit."I Can't Smile Without You"
I had to re-listen to Manilow's version. I must say, I find his version most unimpressive.
In fact, perusing Billboard Magazine I was surprised to find how popular his song was !
I won't deny Carpenters' original LP version is not as impressive as their 'improved' version,
but, for all the 'talk' about how Richard Carpenter (apparently) failed to find 'hit material'
in the later part of their career--well, this song shows that Richard was still able to discern
an excellent song.
I like "You" but that's really almost in spite of what Richard does with it. Karen's vocal is top-notch here and I do love what he does with the background vocals (when don't I? LOL!!). "I Need to Be In Love" as a song is excellent with a perfect Karen vocal but Richard sent it straight into the elevators with the arrangement and the choir we'd rather do without. I'm not surprised by it's chart placement myself. It hit in the U.S. but only mildly. It should have done far better and likely would have had it been arranged differently.
The next record found him eschewing the elevator, by and large, but he went running back to it on "Made in America".