• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 17 20.2%
  • ****

    Votes: 45 53.6%
  • ***

    Votes: 14 16.7%
  • **

    Votes: 7 8.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    84

Another Son

Well-Known Member
'Honolulu City Lights' is another of my favourite Carpenters tracks. I don't know if anyone has mentioned that the fan club was selling the single in the 80s. I'm fairly sure that I received mine from the club in 1986. That was the first time I had heard the song and loved it at first hear. It's something a bit different - the guitar intro, the relatively simple vocal arrangement with just one track of Karen singing, the story-telling feel and, of course, the visions of Hawaii. And, naturally, Karen's vocal is beautiful. It was great, at that time, to be able to get the single as I'm fairly certain it wasn't released in Australia... although it was later to be heard on the 'Lovelines' album.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I'm still not at all clear why 'Honolulu City Lights' was released as a single in the US in the first place. 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...

I've got a single of 'Honolulu City Lights' with 'When You've Got What it Takes' on the 'B' side. I was wondering if the song had been released on two separate pressings around the same time in the US but just looked up on the internet and discovered that this is a Japanese release.

I actually think that the 'Memories' version of 'Honolulu City Lights' in the US may have been released mainly for the fans.....and maybe to try out to see whether there was a re-surgence in interest in unreleased material, following the semi-success of the 1984 and 1985 'Yesterday Once More' compilation albums and video. Yes, I agree that it's a bit strange that it was released straight to the 'Memories' label.
 

goodjeans

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.
Karen's vocal is sexy, sophisticated and excellent. The lyric is rather unfortunate but still, I really like this track.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
There are some really strange background vocals throughout the album. Where Karen sings certain harmony lines, there’s often another harmony that’s almost identical, but either just flat or sharp of the other, to the point where some of the notes clash with each other. You can hear it on If I Had You, Remember When Lovin’ Took All Night, Guess I Just Lost My Head, Still Crazy After All These Years, Lovelines, My Body Keeps Changing My Mind and If We Try. The above two videos are excellent examples of it, particularly the choruses of My Body Keeps Changing My Mind. Somehow it works but that sound is unlike anything I’ve ever heard on Carpenters recordings.
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Jazz chords!

The closest thing I can equate it to - despite this being a totally different musical style and pace - is this Bette Midler tune, which has always been a favourite. Some very interesting vocal harmonies going on in this, and interestingly I noticed this is all Bette Midler’s vocals. Some people knock her but it takes some doing to actually sing jazz chords like that.

 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
There are some really strange background vocals throughout the album. Where Karen sings certain harmony lines, there’s often another harmony that’s almost identical, but either just flat or sharp of the other, to the point where some of the notes clash with each other. You can hear it on If I Had You, Remember When Lovin’ Took All Night, Guess I Just Lost My Head, Still Crazy After All These Years, Lovelines, My Body Keeps Changing My Mind and If We Try. The above two videos are excellent examples of it, particularly the choruses of My Body Keeps Changing My Mind. Somehow it works but that sound is unlike anything I’ve ever heard on Carpenters recordings.

It's dissonance. Richard almost always arranged in a choral style. Rod arranged in a jazz style. Very different approaches and execution. I never understood why Richard (and others) complained about "Carpenter-esque vocal sounds on her solo album". Other than Karen overdubbing her own vocals, the approaches are totally different. Karen proved adept at both approaches so major kudos to her. Rod Temperton vocal arrangements in particular are not easy to execute.

Ed
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
The closest thing I can equate it to - despite this being a totally different musical style and pace - is this Bette Midler tune, which has always been a favourite. Some very interesting vocal harmonies going on in this, and interestingly I noticed this is all Bette Midler’s vocals. Some people knock her but it takes some doing to actually sing jazz chords like that.


A lot of this is just triads. Not too tough. This is fun but it's pretty messy too. The tempo is all over the place and her harmonies aren't exactly together a lot of the time. Still, it's fun to listen to so I get it.

Ed
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
This is one example of Rod was already doing before he hooked up with Karen. The vocal arrangement style on her album is absolutely his style and he'd carry it on past her album to others too.


Ed
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
That’s absolutely it! Thank you for posting this - I’ve never heard this track before but very reminiscent of the solo album vocal arrangements.

I've not heard that track before - really nice and I too can hear some of the similarities with the vocal arrangements Temperton did for the solo album.

The whole 'they stole the Carpenters sound' criticism of the album is another one like 'they went and did disco when they shouldn't' that was raised before the whole album was released but is largely without foundation. The similiarity is that Karen rather than another singer did the backing vocals on the solo album, but the approach taken was completely different. If Phil and Karen had been copying what the Carpenters' songs of the time had been doing, then half the solo tracks would have had the OK Chorale on them - can you imagine(!?).
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
... You're The One is a flawless vocal. Listen- to-listen I hear utter brilliance at Karen's mastery of her instrument. Listen to her breath control, diction, phrasing, power. Remarkable. Should I intro the new recruit to an impeccable Karen Carpenter delivery this tune would surely say it all. Really guys, find a quiet spot and give this song a quick study. I'm willing to bet you'll be stumbling for glorious adjectives as I am.
OK, 7 years later as I discover it belatedly this is a sentiment I agree with fully and wholeheartedly - elsewhere recently I wrote this:

" ... from the standpoint of displaying the sheer, unadulterated beauty of her incredible voice nothing she ever recorded exceeds her vocal performance on this lovely song - the power, the resonance, the clarity, the gorgeous timbre of her voice are on full, awesome display here! This song defines Karen Carpenter, the incomparable singer..."

The melody for this song is lovely and we could debate at length about the lyrics and their possible or alleged "over-romatization", but in terms of her singing - of just how well she belts this one out - this is my candidate for her best recorded vocal performance ever...which is saying tons...
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
I just want to add to this lengthy thread (which I haven't read in it's entit
Fantastic album! How Richard managed to create a cohesive statement from this disparate pieces, I'll never know. Great tunes with only a couple of duds that are still interesting to hear regardless. Richard's remixes of the solo tracks make sense too. The album design is also aces. Excellent record!

Ed
Catching up on this thread 6 years later I found that you already said exactly what I've been thinking for some time now, and so I have to agree fully.
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
I've not heard that track before - really nice and I too can hear some of the similarities with the vocal arrangements Temperton did for the solo album.

The whole 'they stole the Carpenters sound' criticism of the album is another one like 'they went and did disco when they shouldn't' that was raised before the whole album was released but is largely without foundation. The similiarity is that Karen rather than another singer did the backing vocals on the solo album, but the approach taken was completely different. If Phil and Karen had been copying what the Carpenters' songs of the time had been doing, then half the solo tracks would have had the OK Chorale on them - can you imagine(!?).
Yikes.
The oaky corale.
 

Donn

Active Member
I am very lucky to have two promo copies of Honolulu City Lights, both with picture sleeves. Along with Little Altar Boy (which I have only with of), it's probably the rarest of promo 45s.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
Best place I can find for this post. Richard interviewed by Terry Wogan in the UK on this day in 1989, a couple of weeks after the release of "Lovelines" - I find it odd that the album was not mentioned, any ideas? Was it released a little bit later in the UK? "Lovelines" didn't chart in the UK until mid-January 1990 so maybe?

It's sweet how Richard donated the Carpenters Compact Disc Collection to the BBC charity Children In Need.
 
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