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Official Review [Album]: "LOVELINES" (SP-3931)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Oct 31, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    13 vote(s)
  2. ****

    37 vote(s)
  3. ***

    11 vote(s)
  4. **

    8 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Playing the Vinyl. I still love this album.
    What I do find interesting are the arrangements:
    Richard Carpenter:
    Where Do I Go From Here, Honolulu City Lights, You're The One, The Uninvited Guest,
    Slow Dance, Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night.

    That is a terrific pot pourri of arranging styles.

    Now, others:
    (Rhythm & Vocal) Rod Temperton...Lovelines, If We Try,(Vocal) RWLTAN, IIHY
    (Rhythm) Bob James...Remember When Loving Took All Night, IF I Had You
    Peter Knight...When I Fall In Love, Little Girl Blue.

    They are all winners--these arrangers.....
  2. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I had the chance to REALLY listen to the 'Lovelines' album this week. I moved to a new apartment in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, and unearthed a couple of boxes of homemade and pre-recorded cassettes that had been buried for many years. The store-bought version of 'Lovelines' was in there, and I popped it in my car (yes, there's still a working cassette/CD player in my 18 year old wheels). Anyway, I was listening while driving, and I was just blown away by how good that album is from start to finish. The only song that didn't hit me then or now is 'Little Girl Blue'....just too Glinda Good Witch with all the orchestral flourishes. Karen sounds amazing, but the arrangement does nothing for me.

    That being said, 'You're The One' came on, and I just about drove into a tree. That song has EVERYTHING. Karen sounds absolutely stunning on that track, and the sparse arrangement really lets her shine. The bridge says HIT HIT HIT to me. What a mistake shelving that song over the flip of a coin! Unreal. I think that's a case of the artists being almost too 'close' to their work, and not really hearing what we hear. Paul McCartney is another artist who has other people pick the singles for that very reason.

    'Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night' is another favorite. While I'd love to hear it with Karen's vocals pushed forward (hint to Harry), I still agree with Richard that it's one of their more ambitious recordings. And I also think it is a better song than 'Touch Me When We're Dancing', which sounds very similar.

    I really enjoyed hearing Richard's mixes of 'Lovelines' (Karen's so much more upfront) and especially, 'If I Had You', having pretty much stuck with the solo mixes since they were released. He did a great job on the former and really brought it all home with the dramatic ending to the latter. Such great performances all around. 'Honolulu City Lights', 'Slow Dance', 'The Uninvited Guest' and 'Where Do I Go From Here' also sounded great, and they're 4 tunes I hardly ever play. It just goes to show, you are rewarded when you don't play them ad nauseam. : )

    Finally, I wholly recommend purchasing the cassette of 'Lovelines' if you don't own it already. It really sounds nice, and you'll be glad you did.

  3. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    The ‘78 Album was so close to so many things!
  4. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    I wonder where "Tryin' To Get The Feeling" would have landed had Richard not lost the track. Could have been on Hush, Passage, MIA, Voice of the Heart.. or Lovelines.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  5. Great album and agree with your comments on "Little Girl Blue" - thought I was the only one who felt that way. It was so special when "Lovelines" popped out of nowhere essentially, particularly for us hungry Carpenters' fans at the time!
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I really like the song "Little Girl Blue" and I love the orchestral feeling. Even though the lyrics are being sung by a woman, it doesn't mean a man can't identify with the sediment.

    I love the part of the song that says..."when I was very young, the world was younger than I as merry as a carasole, the circus tent was strong...above the ring I love so well...now the young world has grown old..gone are the tinsel and gold....

    For me I relate that to when I was a child and everything was fun not a care in the world, the carasole was my home a safe haven something my father and mother worked hard to obtain and the tent is my father strong committed to his family and a protector. Then when you reach the age when you first leave home the young world has gone and with it the tinsel and gold and you realize your all grown up and your looking for your true love to share the rest of your life with..then it seems you will never find the right person "your hope is getting slender".....

    I find it a very sentimental song.
    Jarred, Carpe diem and GaryAlan like this.
  7. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Little Girl Blue --- everytime that that song comes on and my mom is around, she thinks that I've got a Christmas album on. It doesn't have to be Lovelines...it could be Interpretations or another compilation album that features the song and she'll think that I'm playing a Christmas track --- even when it's the middle of July.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I'm with Rick, I love this song, Little Girl Blue,
    not typical Carpenters, but poignant.
    I rather like Peter Knight's arrangement and orchestration for the song.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I love the section that begins “no use old girl...”. The timing of Karen’s phrasing is at odds with the rhythm track, which I always found slightly disorientating but intoxicating.
    Jarred likes this.
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Would've improved "Kind Of Hush" for sure. The whole situation concerning that song is very weird. Karen's reading off the lead sheet is so good and the song so suited to her voice and style, you'd think that Richard would make it a priority to immediately build an arrangement around it, record it, and put it on an album. If he thought it wasn't suitable for "Horizon", keep it in the can for the next album (Hush). Cannot understand how it was able to fall through the cracks like that. Ordinary Fool was another example.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Can you believe Richard said he would never have released this track if Karen hadn’t passed away?
  12. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Don’t get me wrong. I do like ‘Little Girl Blue’ as a song, and Karen sounds amazing. I just never had it on obsessive ‘repeat’ like the rest of the album. :) I’d love to hear it stripped down with just Karen, piano, drums and bass.
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Neither did I. I just love that bit :laugh:
  14. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I once had a cassette tape I used to record the TV special with Little Girl Blue. I listened repeatedly, probably since it was a new song featuring Karen. No one else in the 70’s could replicate her perfection. Some will belt out songs and others sing every song the same, but Karen sang focused on the meaning of a song with her voice giving the song an individual life with celebrated clarity and pure sound. It’s one of the reasons I was a fan who was never affected by the goodie image for who else could achieve such heights when recording. I loved it then and still love it and happy for a recording with renewed clarity.
    The classic orchestrated sound is seldom heard in music today and with Christmas music the classical influence is forgiven and usually welcomed.
    Karen is at her best with this song - some would say ‘like butter’.
  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    You know, I was just reading the liner notes for ‘Lovelines’ and I saw that Richard wrote that ‘Kiss Me’ was a favorite Of his. Makes you wonder why it hasn’t appeared on compilations. Plus, how long into the production of “MIA” was Kiss Me? I noticed that it has bv’s by Karen.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I’ve always wondered that too. I guess it’s so similar to Touch Me When We’re Dancing that it’s never going to show up on 1-CD compilations where that song is already featured, but I’m surprised it hasn’t made more multi-disc set.
  17. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    A number of the Lovelines tracks haven't appeared on any compliations after the album's release though. I think only 'Where Do I Go From Here?', 'Little Girl Blue', 'If I Had You' and 'When I Fall in Love' have cropped up occasionally, although 'You're the One' was included on the 1990 UK 12"/CD single for 'Merry Christmas Darling'. Presumably none of the tracks has been favoured enough to secure a spot on the more recent compilations ahead of all the other possible choices in their catalogue.
  18. You're The One also appeared on Interpretations (UK).
  19. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Good record. “You’re the One” is a standout. Richard’s playing is good and he’s more restrained than usual in the string department. No oboe is always a good sign. I just wish Karen had a better lyric to work with. She makes it work and gives it life.

    The Karen solo cuts are great and Richard largely knew what to do with theme. He was right to push the vocals further forward on “Loveliness” and to replace the whispered vocal work the more substantial one on “If I Had You.” Also love that he ended that tune Acapella instead of letting it fade out like Phil did. Far more effective.

    “Kiss Me” is another one with a decent lyric that Karen can sink her teeth into but it’s overproduced and over-arranged a la “Made in America”. Never a dull moment. His vocal arrangements are perfection though and I like Siedah Garrett back there. She really adds some soul.

    “Where Do I Go” is another one that’s overproduced and over-arranged though Karen sings it beautifully. That’s a running gag with a lot of their stuff. Ditto on “Uninvited Guest”.

    “When I Fall” is just lovely and I love the verse no one uses. Same for “Little Girl Blue”. She could have done an album of stuff like that and nailed it.

    The rest I can pretty much do without, honestly. Still, not a bad ratio at all for an album.

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool and Jeff S like this.
  20. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    I made a Lovelines Plus playlist and included Making Love in the Afternoon and some better KC tracks, ending with Richard's Calling your name again. I have to say, I wish Lovelines had come out in 1983, rather than Voice. Funny, I can't really hear any Voice songs on Lovelines, nor vice versa
    Geographer likes this.
  21. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    I'm glad that many of the Lovelines songs came out later due to the greater care and production put into them. For the most part the material on Lovelines is much better than VOTH, with better lead vocals too. Overall it has a much richer, warmer sound sonically. Richard wasn't able to give the full Carpenters treatment to the '83 album so used the choir and all that and the production suffered from being rushed.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I know Richard was keen to get back into the studio after Karen’s death, but I think VOTH suffers from being made too soon afterwards. I think he was still too close to it emotionally and that comes across in some of the material, which is awash with syrupy choirs and strings and bleak in its overall feel. Lovelines, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish. The material is well produced and the songs flow great together. I can’t imagine any of the songs from Lovelines sitting comfortably on VOTH. They’re two completely different albums in terms of concept, mood and production.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    I look at VOTH as more of a reflection album and looking at it from that aspect I believe Richard created a great final album. Thank goodness it wasn’t to be the final album. If one were to erase VOTH and replace it with Lovelines in 1983, while a great album I think the material would have been too soon after Karen was gone. Part of the healing process for me was being able to reflect on what just happened and the real tragedy in not having Karen record any more material. Tracks like NOW, Look To Your Dreams, At The End Of A Song and Ordinary Fool...these allow me to remember the memories that took me through my life up to this point. It would not have had the same impact for me if the material of Lovelines was used at the end of 1983.

    If it wasn’t for the great write up from Richard on each track on Lovelines most of the public would never know it was a collection of tracks recorded at different times in their career. They flow and feel as if they were recorded in one session.
    newvillefan likes this.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I think Richard’s remixes of the solo tracks really help them fit in with the rest of the material. They gained warmth and ambience as a result, where the original tracks are quite dry and not mixed well enough to show off Karen’s sensuous lead vocals. When I first heard the opening track on the solo album (years after I’d first heard Richard’s remix), I was shocked at how Karen’s lead was virtually buried under the backing vocals at the end of the first chorus (“cos lovelines never fade/lovelines don’t fade my love”). It made me appreciate the work Richard had done to spruce them up.

    I remember playing Lovelines and Remember When Lovin’ Took All Night from the Carpenters album for an aunt of mine and her commenting how great they sounded. I also had a friend at school who borrowed my box set and absolutely loved If I Had You and My Body Keeps Changing My Mind, saying that they stood out from everything else on it. Richard must have painstakingly trawled through the solo session tapes to find the alternate vocal takes for that song when remixing it for this album and it must have been strange hearing the studio chatter from Phil and the other musicians on the tapes when it had always been Karen and him.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  25. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    I hadn't really thought of the fact that Richard had to go and listen to all of the chatter. It must have been bitter/sweet to hear Karen so enthusiastically banter with all involved.

    Richard did an AMAZING job with those solo tracks. Wish he would have given the same treatment to the whole album and not used the original as approved by Karen. The KC tracks do sound really "earthy" as Karen put it. But the "added ambiance" to the album is the perfect description. Lovelines to me is in my TOP 2 Carpenters albums, second only to A Song For You. Imagine if you were stranded on a desert island and you only had 2 albums, which would you choose that would represent the totality of their career?

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