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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 18.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 41 54.7%
  • ***

    Votes: 12 16.0%
  • **

    Votes: 7 9.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.3%

  • Total voters
    75

Jarred

Well-Known Member
“Where Do I Go”, “When I Fall In Love”, “You’re The One” and “Little Girl Blue” I found to be the weakest tracks on ‘Lovelines’. The album starts with such a BANG with “Lovelines”, but LGB is a whimper of a closer (of course it was probably put there for the LP and works with the LP’s dynamic range at that part of the record).
I’m surprised to hear that because I think those ballads all sound so inspired, fresh, rich and topped with amazing vocals. I don’t get the big disdain some many here have for LGB, it’s of my favorite C’s tracks in general but people don’t like it.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
...Aside from Karen’s solo tracks, 4 stand-out tracks are the ‘Made In America’ outtakes, “The Uninvited Guest” & “Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night”! Why these were shelved in 1981 for the songs like “Strength of a Woman” and “Because We Are In Love” is perplexing.
"Kiss Me..." and "Uninvited Guest", are both better than just about anything on "Made". That album is a real dog for me and "Kiss Me..." in particular would have made for a very helpful addition. "Uninvited" is dragged down by the OK Chorale (they send everything they appear on straight into the elevator, IMHO) but who knows if they'd have been there had it been finished for "MIA".

I'm with you totally on "Strength...". The song is an ironically-named hot mess. The premise of the lyric is absolutely awful and the opening of the tune is a complete rip on the Stylistics "Betcha By Golly Wow". My only real issue with "Because We Are In Love" is that it just doesn't fit on the album. It's elevator-y for sure but it's fine for the purpose for which it was written.

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
“Little Girl Blue” sounds more like a Christmas track than a non-seasonal track. I first heard it on “Interpretations”, which I bought on October 31, 1997. Heading into the Christmas season the Melody was nice but it really was meh.

Funny thing with “Little Girl Blue”, in June 2000 Much Music here in Canada (back when they actually ran music videos and music related programming) had a program on talking about the “Hot New CD Releases” coming out and ‘The Singles 1969-1981’ CD made the list, and the video they played was the “Little Girl Blue” video and even the audio, and yet the song appeared nowhere on that CD. I’m not sure what was up with that, whether that was the only video they had at the time, or Universal had sent that out to promote the CD as backing video. Anyway, it was weird.

But with ‘Lovelines’ I’m surprised that “The Uninvited Guest” doesn’t get anthologized more. It’s only appeared on the PBS set, and yet it was the B side to “If I Had You”. Same with the title track considering that was the B side in Japan.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
"Kiss Me..." and "Uninvited Guest", are both better than just about anything on "Made". That album is a real dog for me and "Kiss Me..." in particular would have made for a very helpful addition. "Uninvited" is dragged down by the OK Chorale (they send everything they appear on straight into the elevator, IMHO) but who knows if they'd have been there had it been finished for "MIA".

I'm with you totally on "Strength...". The song is an ironically-named hot mess. The premise of the lyric is absolutely awful and the opening of the tune is a complete rip on the Stylistics "Betcha By Golly Wow". My only real issue with "Because We Are In Love" is that it just doesn't fit on the album. It's elevator-y for sure but it's fine for the purpose for which it was written.

Ed
With “Because”, it’s also not the version used at Karen’s wedding. I remember reading that the one at the wedding contained different lyrics. I surprised that one hasn’t been released on a comp.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I guess I like that LGB has those kind of orchestral flourishes that the Xmas songs have (they were recorded at the same time), but it’s still not directly seasonal because of the subject matter and there’s no jingle bells heard.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
England Dan & John Ford Coley's version of 'Where Do I Go from Here' pales in comparison to Karen and Richard's version. You can hear why Dan and John didn't release this version as a single, yet Richard obviously heard the potential in the song and recorded it the next year, to much greater effect. It's clear in Carpenters' version that the talents of both Karen and Richard combined to result in a magnificent recording.

 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
"I'm with you totally on "Strength...". The song is an ironically-named hot mess. The premise of the lyric is absolutely awful and the opening of the tune is a complete rip on the Stylistics "Betcha By Golly Wow". My only real issue with "Because We Are In Love" is that it just doesn't fit on the album. It's elevator-y for sure but it's fine for the purpose for which it was written.

Ed
I think using the intro of 'Betcha By Golly Wow' at the beginning of 'Strength of a Woman' is actually clever, because this provides a kind of preface for the song and allows you to connect background to the situation that the character is singing about. Think of the lyrics to 'Betcha By Golly, Wow', "Betcha, by golly, wow! You're the one that I've been waiting for forever, And ever will my love for you keep growing strong....keep growing strong. There's a spark of magic in your eyes. Candy land appears each time you smile...." and you realise that this woman is in total fantasy land. She's not prepared to let go of her dream that her partner is the tops. This explains why she's prepared to put up with "that time again when you have the need for someone else" and, with more than a touch of disillusionment, asserts that "Sometimes it takes the strength of a woman to understand the weakness of her man". At least, that's how I interpret the whole idea. (Having said that, it depends on your personal head-set as to how a relationship might work - some people are more traditional and some people aren't very traditional at all - so the whole idea of whether or not she should put up with the situation and really is being strong depends on your perspective).

However, like many others, I don't like 'Strength of a Woman' much at all and don't think the song warrants going to all this effort in setting up, (or analysing, for that matter). It would have to be among my least favourite Carpenters songs.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
England Dan & John Ford Coley's version of 'Where Do I Go from Here' pales in comparison to Karen and Richard's version. You can hear why Dan and John didn't release this version as a single, yet Richard obviously heard the potential in the song and recorded it the next year, to much greater effect. It's clear in Carpenters' version that the talents of both Karen and Richard combined to result in a magnificent recording.
Barry Manilow did it too. He moved briskly through it so it's not much either.


Ed
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I’d go as far as saying I believe this song is harder to sing than Solitaire. Karen’s breath control, phrasing and measured vibrato in those elongated sections are just stunning. Listen to the line -

You’ve grown so deep inside of me
You’re everything I feel and see


It’s just two lines right? Try singing it in one go at the same tempo as the song. Karen sings for a full THIRTEEN seconds without taking a breath.
Agreed! She’s a vocal marvel. That’s one of my favorite Karen ‘moments‘.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
A few observations come to me as I read the posts above:
(1) Even though England Dan & John Ford Coley did not release their version of Where Do I Go From Here
as a SINGLE release, does NOT imply that they somehow missed the boat on the song--at least they released it !
Their version is a fine album cut and they showed good sense in recording and releasing the song at the time.
Richard chose to keep Carpenters' version off of any release until the Lovelines album ! Why was it withheld from release for that long ?
(2) Strength of A Woman: I happen to like this song a lot. It is a gutsy move on Richard's part.
Karen does a fantastic job of vocal interpretation. It is not to everyone's taste, yet still a grittier move for its inclusion on the MIA album.
It is a stand-out track for me.
(3) Little Girl Blue: A great Karen Carpenter vocal and great arrangement (Peter Knight).
Love it.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
^^ "Why was it withheld from release for that long ? "

Good question GaryAlan! The song was a winner from the get-go!!
What shocks me most is that Richard has said that they would have left these songs behind and moved on to new material if they’d continued into the 1980s. Had Karen lived, we may well never have even heard this and many other gems.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
A few observations come to me as I read the posts above:
(1) Even though England Dan & John Ford Coley did not release their version of Where Do I Go From Here
as a SINGLE release, does NOT imply that they somehow missed the boat on the song--at least they released it !
Their version is a fine album cut and they showed good sense in recording and releasing the song at the time.
Richard chose to keep Carpenters' version off of any release until the Lovelines album ! Why was it withheld from release for that long ?
(2) Strength of A Woman: I happen to like this song a lot. It is a gutsy move on Richard's part.
Karen does a fantastic job of vocal interpretation. It is not to everyone's taste, yet still a grittier move for its inclusion on the MIA album.
It is a stand-out track for me.
(3) Little Girl Blue: A great Karen Carpenter vocal and great arrangement (Peter Knight).
Love it.
I just meant, to my ears, England Dan and John Ford Coley's version of 'Where Do I Go From Here?' is not as catchy and all-round right for a single as the other songs they had hits with - whereas, it could have been perfect for a single, albeit a different type of single from their usual work. Also, while their version is OK, Karen and Richard transform the song into something magical. You don't hear the full potential of the composition in ED&JFC's version, whereas K&R do it perfectly. Their version is full of pain, disillusionment and despair, (due to a wonderful combination of Karen's masterful vocal and Richard's arrangement). What they produced is delectable. That is, if you go for the style that they have done the song in. (I do).

I agree about 'Strength of a Woman'. The subject matter means that it's in a different category from other songs on the album and from their earlier recordings, so you could call that adventurous. You could almost see it as an attempt to move away from what some saw as their squeaky-clean image. It's territory that 'Superstar' might have been in if Richard had left the phrase, 'I can hardly wait to sleep with you again' in the song. Mind you, their version of 'Superstar' is perfect.

As I said, I do like the idea of the 'Betcha By Golly, Wow' intro in 'Strength of a Woman'. If my analysis above is wrong, another reason for including this intro might be to show that the woman, (the character in the song), has been jolted from fantasy-land to hard reality, and has accepted the change - from a place where "Candy land appears each time you smile - I never knew that fairytales came true, but they come true when I'm near you" to a place where she's aware that her partner is sneaking around without being honest with her and has "the need for someone else". I really do think Richard has been clever in adding this back story. (I said it wasn't worth analysing the song, but now I'm doing it more).

Apart from that, Richard is also giving the nod to a great Philly vocal group, (The Stylistics).

There are other parts of this song that I like, I must admit - certain phrases that Karen sings - and I like most of the bridge, etc.

For me, 'Strength of a Woman' has its positives and its negatives.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
With ‘Lovelines’, it’s interesting how it mirrors ‘Made In America’ in the way that it was marketed. You had the lead single (“Honolulu City Lights/I Just Fall In Love Again” vs “I Believe You/B’Wana She No Home”) issued 3 years before the album (1978 for “I Believe You” to 1981, and 1986 for Honolulu to 1989). Both singles also featured a B side taken from the 1977 album “Passage” (although in Japan the 1986 CD single for Honolulu had featured “Slow Dance” (which had not appeared on any album as of 1986, as it’s B side, although Honolulu had appeared on the 1985 “Anthology”, and the 45 featured “When You’ve Got What It Takes” from MIA, so in 1986 the single would’ve been in support, in Japan, of Anthology). But in America, neither single did much on the charts.

And then the next singles (“Touch Me When We’re Dancing/Because We Are In Love” & “If I Had You/The Uninvited Guest”) were released close to the album’s release and did pretty well on the A/C charts.


And both albums have 10 tracks. But that’s where the similarities end. While ‘Lovelines’ sounds complete, and doesn’t really feel like a vault album, ‘Made In America’ sounds more like a posthumous release, like it was compiled from tracks that were rejected.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
With ‘Lovelines’, it’s interesting how it mirrors ‘Made In America’ in the way that it was marketed. You had the lead single (“Honolulu City Lights/I Just Fall In Love Again” vs “I Believe You/B’Wana She No Home”) issued 3 years before the album (1978 for “I Believe You” to 1981, and 1986 for Honolulu to 1989). Both singles also featured a B side taken from the 1977 album “Passage” (although in Japan the 1986 CD single for Honolulu had featured “Slow Dance” (which had not appeared on any album as of 1986, as it’s B side, although Honolulu had appeared on the 1985 “Anthology”, and the 45 featured “When You’ve Got What It Takes” from MIA, so in 1986 the single would’ve been in support, in Japan, of Anthology). But in America, neither single did much on the charts.

And then the next singles (“Touch Me When We’re Dancing/Because We Are In Love” & “If I Had You/The Uninvited Guest”) were released close to the album’s release and did pretty well on the A/C charts.


And both albums have 10 tracks. But that’s where the similarities end. While ‘Lovelines’ sounds complete, and doesn’t really feel like a vault album, ‘Made In America’ sounds more like a posthumous release, like it was compiled from tracks that were rejected.
I think the marketing similarities you note were just coincidence. In both cases the 'lead single' from both albums wasn't meant to be the lead single from either album at the time of its release.

'I Believe You' was due to be part of a different album that never came to pass. I'm still not at all clear why 'Honolulu City Lights' was released as a single in the US in the first place. There was no project it was attached to - I'm sure many people had no idea it had been released at all, and when Lovelines was put out, no mention was made of it having been a single (other than the unspecific oblique reference in the liner notes to two tracks having been previously released, which, as was noted above, didn't really help the listener in working out which the two previously released tracks were!).

The fan club newsletter from early 1987 states that it was released as part of the A&M 'Memories' series, which has the ring of being a reissue line of old hits on the label - is that right? If so, that would seem even more strange...
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I too was baffled with "Honolulu City Lights" when I heard it played on a slushy Musak-like easy listening station. I couldn't even get the name of it as there were no DJs.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Didn’t know if you meant at the actual time the single was released, though. I wouldn’t have thought that even that kind of station would have pulled out a randomly released Carpenters single to play. But if it’s new and easy listening than I guess it’s tailor made in one sense.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Honolulu City Lights definitely got airplay at the time--as I even called the radio station in Central Florida upon hearing them play it.
I asked about how to get the recording---but, they did not know of a way for me to get it.
Wish I had written A&M records at the time.
But, it was glorious to hear it over the radio.
I love it to this day.

Billboard Magazine mentioned the release on December 20, 1986:
"AC Picks
CARPENTERS Honolulu City Lights
PRODUCER: Richard Carpenter, WRITER: Keole Reamer
PUBLISHER: Niniko, ASCAP A&M AM -8667
Import airplay prompted release of this orchestrated country/MOR
ballad, previously unavailable in the U.S.; a flashback to calmer days."
 
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GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
It was first released on the Japanese only “Treasures” collection, that Richard personally told me I should get after his Garden Grove Christmas Show and dinner. It had remixes and new material including Slow Dance on it. I was amazed at how cool the set was. I later heard HCL on a high desert MOR station you can get in your car between Barstow, Ca. and Las Vegas. It was the perfect station for 40-70 year old travelers between LA and Las Vegas. Soft Rock, Crooners, light jazz. Perfect for the 3 hour drive through the desert. It broadcasts on 2 different frequencies depending on your location, one was stronger than the other. FM doesn’t travel as far as AM does. I was shocked that they played it at all, wondering how they got it in the first place. Then I found the single at Musicland. Okay picture sleeve. It definitely got airplay in some markets.
 
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tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
It was first released on the Japanese only “Treasures” collection, that Richard personally told me I should get after his Garden Grove Christmas Show and dinner. It had remixes and new material including Slow Dance on it. I was amazed at how cool the set was. I later heard HCL on a high desert MOR station you can get in your car between Barstow, Ca. and Las Vegas. It was the perfect station for 40-70 year old travelers between LA and Las Vegas. Soft Rock, Crooners, light jazz. Perfect for the 3 hour drive through the desert. It broadcasts on 2 different frequencies depending on your location, one was stronger than the other. FM doesn’t travel as far as AM does. I was shocked that they played it at all, wondering how they got it in the first place. Then I found the single at Musicland. Okay picture sleeve. It definitely got airplay in some markets.
Actually it’s first release was on the “Anthology” collection that was released in 1985 on LP in a limited fashion and then put into wider, general circulation in 1989. And then in 1986 it was included in the 1986 CD Collection as a CD single with “Slow Dance”. “Honolulu Lights” was never on “Treasures” Japan or UK.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Yes HCL on Anthony vinyl set, and Slow Dance on Treasures. Thank you Harry and Tom for that clarification.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I too was baffled with "Honolulu City Lights" when I heard it played on a slushy Musak-like easy listening station. I couldn't even get the name of it as there were no DJs.
HCL actually got airplay in 1987?
That was the first "new" song from the Carpenters I remember hearing on the radio. (On my Mom's AC station in 1986.)
I am thankful for that moment as it led me to buy "Lovelines" when the album (finally) came out, and to buy The Singles 1969-1973, and discover what the Carpenters were all about.
 
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