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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 13 18.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 37 52.9%
  • ***

    Votes: 11 15.7%
  • **

    Votes: 8 11.4%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.4%

  • Total voters
    70

Geographer

Well-Known 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
Lovelines is the superior of the posthumous releases. This album was SO GOOD compared to Voice of the Heart (which I rank down around A Kind of Hush). At least four potential single releases on that album. This should have been the album (sans Karen solo songs) that came out in '83 instead of the weak, VOH.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Richard, I think, from things I read and watched, he was trying to put together 2 albums to satisfy a contract with A&M. It would have been nice to have them in a different order, but thankfully we have them, and it seems people have been asking for Thank You For The Music since 1999 according to the last get together that is now on YouTube.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known 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?
I think most fans agree that the cold ending of 'If I Had You' on the remix on Lovelines is an improvement on the original version, but I think it's important not to over-state the amount of work that was done to the four solo tracks on the album. Richard didn't do anything to 'If We Try' or 'Remember When Lovin'...', and his remix of 'Lovelines' is a bit mixed - it's nice to hear Karen's vocals a bit more upfront, but it also takes away the slightly dream-like feel of the original mix that's quite key to the song's arrangement, and the editing down of it by over a minute seems unnecessary.

The same is true of his remix of 'My Body Keeps Changing My Mind' on From the Top - it's interesting to hear, but I don't think it really makes any improvements compared to the original mix.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The same is true of his remix of 'My Body Keeps Changing My Mind' on From the Top - it's interesting to hear, but I don't think it really makes any improvements compared to the original mix.
I remember reading that My Body Keeps Changing My Mind was slated to be the opening track on side 2 of the album, until he changed his mind and picked Remember When Lovin’ Took All Night. I think he made the right decision on that. The former is too out-and-out disco for the album and would have spoiled the theme and great sequencing.
 

LondonRobert

Active Member
I really like the lovelines album but i do slightly prefer VOH. Lovelines feels as though it's tracks from all different time periods and to me a little bit like it doesnt flow that well. However, VOH feels like an album that was conceived and when i bought it when it came out i had no idea it wasn't all new tracks that were unreleased and ready for a new album.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
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.
“Body” and Loveliness” are the only Richard remixes I don’t love. He just slathered reverb on “Body” and he edited down “Loveliness”. I do like that he moved her lead vocal further forward as leaving it where it was feels like a mistake and not an artistic decision. “If I Had You” is far better. He replaced the lead (as you said) and came up with an actual ending as opposed to the rather lazy fade-out on the solo album. I never listen to that version.

Ed
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
It must be people's computers or phones set to "auto-correct" but I REALLY dislike reading posts where "Lovelines" has an extra "s" on the end, making it a completely different word, "Loveliness".
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It must be people's computers or phones set to "auto-correct" but I REALLY dislike reading posts where "Lovelines" has an extra "s" on the end, making it a completely different word, "Loveliness".
It is the auto correct. My phone tries to correct it every time, but I always manually change it as “Loveliness” is a pet peeve of mine too :)
 

motownboy

Active Member
I think most fans agree that the cold ending of 'If I Had You' on the remix on Lovelines is an improvement on the original version, but I think it's important not to over-state the amount of work that was done to the four solo tracks on the album. Richard didn't do anything to 'If We Try' or 'Remember When Lovin'...', and his remix of 'Lovelines' is a bit mixed - it's nice to hear Karen's vocals a bit more upfront, but it also takes away the slightly dream-like feel of the original mix that's quite key to the song's arrangement, and the editing down of it by over a minute seems unnecessary.

The same is true of his remix of 'My Body Keeps Changing My Mind' on From the Top - it's interesting to hear, but I don't think it really makes any improvements compared to the original mix.
I actually like Richard's mixes of the solo album tracks better than the originals. I am surprised that the song "Lovelines" in it's original mix was used because you can barely hear Karen on the verses. It is Karen's voice that draws one in to the song. What I don't like about the solo album version of MBKCMM is that slap echo given to some of the instruments. Richard gave it a lush more exciting mix, which to me, is more in keeping with the mood of the song. Still I can enjoy both the original and Richard's mixes.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
What I don't like about the solo album version of MBKCMM is that slap echo given to some of the instruments. Richard gave it a lush more exciting mix, which to me, is more in keeping with the mood of the song. Still I can enjoy both the original and Richard's mixes.
Richard just bathed the whole thing in reverb which, to my ears, is far more unpleasant. I do agree that the drums could use something to make it sound a bit more upfront and less pristine but drowning the whole thing in hall reverb wasn't it.

Ed
 

ullalume

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.
I recall seeing an article and posting on here that Karen met one of the writers of the song in Vegas in '75 when the song was written and performed by the lady in question. Karen always liked it and presumably brought it to the table in early '80 when they were planning MIA.

As for the BG vocals, I get the impression that there's "some BG Karen" but not all. At times it seems it's just Richard, at times she's doubled, and also Siedah Garrett does a great job of mimicking her style.

I would have released this as the last single from MIA ( replacing TGOD and Beechwood). You could also edit out 15 secs between 2:33 - 2:48 which would have made it more radio friendly and brought it in at around 3:45.

I really like it.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Siedah Garrett does a great job of mimicking her style.
Siedah Garrett is an amazing session singer and songwriter. She wrote “Man In The Mirror” and was told by Quincy Jones when she presented the cassette to him that it was the best song he had heard in ten years.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that she sounds like Karen. She probably did that intentionally. She was a master at mimicking Michael Jackson as well. If you listen to their duet on I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether it’s her or Michael singing.

Kiss Me is a firm favourite of mine too Neil :righton:
 

LondonRobert

Active Member
Richard just bathed the whole thing in reverb which, to my ears, is far more unpleasant. I do agree that the drums could use something to make it sound a bit more upfront and less pristine but drowning the whole thing in hall reverb wasn't it.

Ed
That's the main thing I don't like about the remixes. Richard lost the true, natural, uniqueness of that voice in its honest delivery when he smothered it in reverb and echo. I won't last a day at the beginning just has a huge amount of reverb.
I was excited to get now and then side 2 without the dj but then its got the awful artificial kick drum and tons of reverb.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I recall seeing an article and posting on here that Karen met one of the writers of the song in Vegas in '75 when the song was written and performed by the lady in question. Karen always liked it and presumably brought it to the table in early '80 when they were planning MIA.

As for the BG vocals, I get the impression that there's "some BG Karen" but not all. At times it seems it's just Richard, at times she's doubled, and also Siedah Garrett does a great job of mimicking her style.

I would have released this as the last single from MIA ( replacing TGOD and Beechwood). You could also edit out 15 secs between 2:33 - 2:48 which would have made it more radio friendly and brought it in at around 3:45.

I really like it.
Karen's definitely back there on "Kiss Me". Siedah was used like Carolyn Dennis was - an additional texture that worked incredibly well. The string arrangement is just made for the elevator, though, and it ensures that it never would have gotten on the radio at that point had it been released. I like the tune but I'd like it a whole lot better if it were stripped of some of that production.

Ed
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Karen had me at the opening line.
The opening lines of this and Look To Your Dreams are very similar.

- “To say I’m romantic would be quite semantically true”
- “Serenade me by the light of the moon/let’s sing and dance as lovers do”

Both songs start out with rhyming lyrics about love, romance and serenades - but they take off in two completely different directions. The former is wistful, heavy with choir and features a downbeat chorus and doleful interpretation by Karen. The latter, on the other hand, features a sparkling arrangement, a sensuous lead, great backing vocals (thankfully including Karen, which makes all the difference) and a great, soaring hook in the chorus.

Imagine if Richard had included Kiss Me on the 1983 album and given it the same arrangement as Look To Your Dreams, with the syrupy choir and all? It would have completely killed the song. This is what I meant the other day when I posted about the 1989 album - and Richard’s production of it - having benefited from a healthy distance from Karen’s death and how that made it a much better collection.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Again, this is analogous to comparing apples to oranges:
Look To Your Dreams was finally recorded during the Christmas Portrait sessions,
as it was composed/written in 1974, it was arranged by Peter Knight.
The song was most certainly given its sequential placement on the VOH album intentionally--
that is, as the final song of the album,
with the addition of the piano solo and chorus (OK Chorale) ---both added on in 1983....
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Again, this is analogous to comparing apples to oranges:
Look To Your Dreams was finally recorded during the Christmas Portrait sessions,
as it was composed/written in 1974, it was arranged by Peter Knight.
The song was most certainly given its sequential placement on the VOH album intentionally--
that is, as the final song of the album,
with the addition of the piano solo and chorus (OK Chorale) ---both added on in 1983....
Absolutely. The ornate arrangement of 'Look to Your Dreams' was clearly deliberate in keeping with its slightly 'show tune' feel and was quite appropriate both for the song itself and for its placement as the final song on Voice of the Heart.

'Kiss Me...' wasn't that sort of song and wouldn't have worked at all with that arrangement - indeed, as ThaFunkyFakeTation noted earlier, it would probably have benefited from an even leaner production than it was given to remove some of the MOR feeling that is evident. It's a step in the right direction production-wise, but would have been all the better if more restraint had been shown (ironically, I think the same is true of the production on the similar-sounding 'Touch Me When We're Dancing').
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The song was most certainly given its sequential placement on the VOH album intentionally--that is, as the final song of the album, with the addition of the piano solo and chorus (OK Chorale) ---both added on in 1983....
That’s my point though - the finishing touches were put together in 1983 and given that treatment for inclusion on the album once Karen was gone. When they originally recorded it in 1978, it would have consisted of just bass, drums and piano and probably sounded very different. If he’d finished it off in 1989, who knows what it would have sounded like.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Absolutely. The ornate arrangement of 'Look to Your Dreams' was clearly deliberate in keeping with its slightly 'show tune' feel and was quite appropriate both for the song itself and for its placement as the final song on Voice of the Heart.

'Kiss Me...' wasn't that sort of song and wouldn't have worked at all with that arrangement - indeed, as ThaFunkyFakeTation noted earlier, it would probably have benefited from an even leaner production than it was given to remove some of the MOR feeling that is evident. It's a step in the right direction production-wise, but would have been all the better if more restraint had been shown (ironically, I think the same is true of the production on the similar-sounding 'Touch Me When We're Dancing').
All of the stuff from "Made in America" is atrociously overproduced. The songs can't breathe underneath the stuff Richard suffocated them with. Everything's got an orchestration - even "Want You Back" which is an 80's dance thing. It's not just a string issue, though that's most of it. Richard just wouldn't allow the songs to stand on their own on this record. Worse yet, Karen as the centerpiece of very little of it. She was a cog in the machine. That's certainly true of "Kiss Me" from "Lovelines".

Ed
 
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