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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. ****

    36 vote(s)
  3. ***

    9 vote(s)
  4. **

    8 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    There isn't a lot of info out there on the aborted 1978/1979 album (I don't think Richard's ever spoken about it as an entity), but I think it was essentially nixed because Richard had to go into rehab. Looking at that list of tracks as well, it doesn't look much to me like the tracklisting for a finished album. For instance, some of the songs were recorded for TV specials rather than specifically for a forthcoming album.

    That does still leave the question open of why 'I Believe You' was released at all at this stage, given that (I suspect) they were still a long way off having a completed album for which it would be a lead single at that stage, plus the fact that it was coming out alongside a Christmas album it had nothing to do with - and also that Richard and Karen were in no shape to promote it either (and didn't).
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Album: Lovelines
    Date of Release: 10/31/89

    Happy Birthday....one of my favorite albums....
    No inner sleeve, what a pity.
    Recollection:1989, One copy in retail outlet. I bought it.
    Never saw another copy offered in a retail setting.
    What a pity.
    Great album.
    Geographer and newvillefan like this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is Billboard Magazine, 12-09-1989, page 72, Recommended Album Review:
    "PRODUCERS: Richard Carpenter; Phil Ramone
    A & M 13931
    This collection of unreleased tunes is amassed from Karen Carpenter's
    sessions with Phil Ramone and songs recorded by the brother and sister act
    over the years. One listen and it's clear that no one (the closest is
    Gloria Estefan)-has filled the void left after Karen's death in 1983.
    There's a good reason why some of the syrupy material was never
    released, but other tracks, like first single "
    If I Had You," the classic
    When I Fall In Love," and "Where Do I Go From Here," instantly recall
    why the duo was one of the most successful of the '70s

    Billboard,11-25-1989, page 9, Chart Beat:
    And in the better -late- than -never department,
    Karen Carpenter has the week's Hot Shot Debut on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart with "If I Had You," a track from a solo album she recorded a decade ago with Grammy- winning producer Phil Ramone. The album was completed in early 1980, but was never released. Carpenter died three years later. "If I Had You" is one of four tracks from the solo project included on a new Carpenters album, "Lovelines."
    newvillefan likes this.
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Just two more examples of reviews which singled out If I Had You for praise. I remain convinced to this day that this song would have been a chart success and is the one which would - and should - have been released in early 1980, either as the lead single from the solo album or to test the water when A&M were against its release.
    John Adam and Mark-T like this.
  5. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    "Syrupy" is the LAST word I'd use to describe Karen's solo work- if that's what's being singled out.
  6. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    "If I Had You" is great. Oddly, it's the only one in total where I prefer Richard's mix to Phil Ramone's. His acapella ending is far superior to Phil's simple and basic fade-out. I do prefer the vocal take Phil used to Richard's. Richard went with a very safe vocal performance while Phil went with a whisper-y delivery that was very un-Carpenters-like. Phil's mix of "Lovelines" just isn't very good as whole but I do prefer what he did with the intro of the song. Richard's intro is very standard.

    The album as a whole is the last really good one we got from them. How Richard managed cohesion with all these disparate elements is entirely beyond me...but he did it.

    Edit in: I love that I made the last statement 4 years ago in this very thread. I just saw it and had a laugh. Heck, it's likely I've already said all of these things in here already. LOL!!

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
    John Adam and Geographer like this.
  7. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    The Uninvited Guest is easily the best Carpenters song for Halloween. Especially the line "A ghost is there", just sends chills down the backbone.

    Hard to believe that it's been 29 years since Lovelines was released. 2019 will be it's 30th anniversary.
    (Mod, just noticed on page 1 of this thread, "If I Had You" has no B-side listed, even though "The Uninvited Guest" was the B-Side in North America)
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
    John Adam likes this.
  8. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I've always been impressed by Richard's ability to make the album sound as cohesive as it does, given that the tracks come from such a disparate range of sources, time periods and circumstances.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Agreed !
    Now, regards
    If I Had You.
    I was listening to the solo version and the Lovelines version.
    Now, I have always loved how Richard Carpenter altered the arrangement a bit.
    And, I believe in the context of the Lovelines Album, that that alteration made sense.
    Even so, as I listen to the solo version of the song--sequenced as it is on the solo album--
    if you listen to its structure , that is, how Karen begins as a 'whisper,' then sings the lyric 'lullaby,'
    (before the first 'If I Had You') then the progressively stronger build-up in vocal-volume as she sings of
    the sun....well, you get it. Next verse begins, again as a whisper...followed by another strong vocal build-up.
    So, the structure of this song really stands out as the song progresses.
    And, the finale, those increasingly prevalent background harmonies,
    the modulation toward the fade,
    Wow !
    newvillefan likes this.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry the pic is so small and blurry but it's the only one I have ever seen.
    It looks like a promo ad for the hit song "If I Had You"
    So nice to see Karen being promoted for this track.

    goodjeans, AnnaSock, GaryAlan and 3 others like this.
  12. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    A 4-star album in my opinion. Not as strong on material as some of the others, but we get a fully-realized Karen vocal style at this point, with all the poise, prowess and grace that we have come to expect in post-1972 recordings. When you put into perspective that some of her greatest vocals were recorded at only 22, 24, 26, 28 years old, it boggles the mind. It's ironic that this particular offering showcases such ahead-of-its-time talent with selections that were recorded in years past.

    Steve Ferguson's You're The One is the standout performance and composition here in my opinion. The first time I heard it, it literally brought me to my knees. If the right woman ever comes along, I want this to be our wedding song. The only thing that keeps this from being a solid 5 in my opinion is the inclusion of If We Try and Remember When Loving Took All Night. I just don't think they fit in here style wise. I tend to give Lovelines a pass because it's a better song and I like it as a more upbeat track one side one. If I Had You is another slight departure as one of Karen's solo tracks, but it's another decent song with those fabulous Heatwave vocals.

    My opinions change over the years as I wise up. I originally hated this album as a whole, for reasons that were probably independent of the actual offering and more due to heartbreak, as this was the first new Carpenters album I ever owned, as well as the first period. I was reeling from her being gone, a lot more than I am today, and was bitter that this was possibly it. Then there was the whole emotional rollercoaster of the As Time Goes By release but I won't get into that here.

    I always believed Richard's inclusion of Karen's solo tracks in this album was a way of admitting that it wasn't all bad, and maybe the beginning of coming to peace with how the whole solo album thing went. His recent comments about how it was more about family politics than the quality of the offering confirm that in my opinion. Quite a few of us can relate to Richard's predicament at this point in his life, where he has an abundance of yesterdays to look at, but a mere pittance of tomorrows. When you reach that point, perspective becomes clearer, egos are softened and you realize that it is far more important to your legacy that you have something to say, and not just something to show.

    So at this point, just like with Karen's solo work, I look at what Lovelines has to say, and not just what it has to show.

    [MOD: Comments in small print above relate to fake information posted elsewhere.]
    John Adam likes this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    What can I say, Lovelines is one of my favorite albums.
    A great album. What a pity that
    Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night
    is not anthologized, as it appears ONLY
    on the original Lovelines and the remastered classics cd.
    By the way, that is a remastered classics cd I do not have--
    now, on the hunt for....

    Little Girl Blue is a stand-out for me, as Karen sings it so captivatingly.
    You're The One and Where Do I Go From Here are majestic masterpieces,
    and, the cold-ending for If I Had You is a stroke of arranging genius a word I shy away from).
    The four solo pieces are refreshing, to say the least.

    Anyway, a fantastic album,
    it should be better known.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    That continues to baffle me to this day. I cannot understand why it has never been anthologised, when it is far, far superior to many tracks which have been. Are there any other album tracks which fall into this category? There can’t be many.
    leadmister likes this.
  15. leadmister

    leadmister Well-Known Member

    It must be an oversight on Richard's part. No other reason. It's an exquisite performance.
    Mark-T and newvillefan like this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Apologies if this was already posted in this thread, but I love it. If I Had You, yet again, featured right up front.

  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I wish I had seen that commercial when it aired on television,
    as the photograph of Karen which begins the commercial shows how incredibly beautiful she was.

    I listened to the album (beginning to ending) this morning.
    What a great album !
    I note, Honolulu City Lights is not anthologized very often, either.
    The single HCL/I Just Fall In Love Again is a fantastic 45...
  18. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    How odd that the video is in B&W but the ending cover art comes in as color. :laugh:
  19. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Agreed. Much better than the one on Karen's album. This is the only one I listen to.

  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Makes you wonder why “If I Had You” wasn’t issued as 45 nine years earlier. But listening to the commercial on my iPhone (just speakers, not headphones), I was wondering if there was a mono mix of “If I Had You” made in 1989 for TV commercials, since while there was STEREO TV back then, a lot of commercials were MONO because some stations were still broadcasting in mono. Of course it could be that the commercial was just recorded on a MONO VHS or Betamax.

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