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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)

    10 vote(s)
  2. ****

    34 vote(s)
  3. ***

    8 vote(s)
  4. **

    8 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That's what my ears have always heard too. We debated this very line a while ago, it was probably on this very same thread...
  2. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Thanks. That's a line I never understood either. I heard it as "I should leave you, but I only know it doesn't make sense." And that didn't.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Speaking of 'making sense',
    given that Lovelines really is a superb album (IMHO),
    Why was relatively little done to market this album ?
    Was the marketing effort purposefully kept low key to detract from
    those Solo pieces which ended up on the album ?--in other words,
    as was pointed out in at least one major magazine music review, the Solo
    songs on this album were held in high regard along with the
    traditional Carpenters' ballads.
    Did Richard Carpenter give any major interviews to promote this Lovelines album ?
    (As, say, Larry King was used for promotion of Yesterday Once More.)
    I believe this to be one of Richard Carpenter's best Album Productions: that is,
    sequencing and song selection, cover artwork. The music production values are high,
    thus, my lack in understanding why there was no major push....it could have been ready
    for release the week of the CBS-Movie, for instance....
    K.C. Jr and Chris May like this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I neglected to include my reasoning for even asking the above question:
    This stems from the treatment of the album in the 1994 Coleman Biography.
    It is mentioned on Page 329, which I remind the reader of:
    "...three ballads redeemed an average batch...
    responding to many requests from fans Richard included four songs from
    the Phil Ramone-produced album...these inferior tracks proved the wisdom of the
    earlier decision to stop the (solo) album."

    And, so, this is in print in 1994 ! I assume authorized (e.g., read by) Richard Carpenter.
    Here was an opportunity to market the Lovelines Album !

    Are those Coleman's words ? Do they echo Richard's sentiments ?
    Like Horizon before it in 1975, is (or,was) Richard dis-satisfied with this album---easily one of the best
    Carpenters' albums.
    K.C. Jr likes this.
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I can't begin to tell you how much I disagree with that statement, whether it's from Ray Coleman's pen or Richard's mouth. They made the album.
    Murray and Mark-T like this.
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I wonder if Karen ever considered "Lovelines" as the title for her solo album?
    I know usually when a solo artist releases their first solo album it is usually just self titled. I always thought that was a great title for a studio album. We identify it with a Carpenters album title but I think it would have played equally as well being used on her solo album, Karen Carpenter "Lovelines"
    newvillefan likes this.
  7. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    If I Had You with the added superb vocal layering that was added with the alternate take that Richard included is what makes the song a song. I am surprised that it was left off the solo album intentionally. I wonder if it had been added if the brass at A&M would have had a different feeling toward the album. I understand it was more of a business decision rather than a matter of taste, so probably not, but we will never actually know. When I first heard it, I could not stop listening to it. I was captured by the same attraction I was captured to the earlier Carpenters treats. For the other songs, I would have rather heard, My Body Keeps Changing My Mind, instead of Remember When Lovin Took All Night, but might like it better if the vocal layering was brought out more in this one, too! For my taste, it is too much in the background. The same is true for me with the Lovelines title track. The Love Boat feel of it might not be a prominent with the vocal layering more forward in the sound. I really like both of the standard tracks and it was nice to replace the old cassettes I had recorded from the old television specials. Karen could sing all styles and was a diverse singer and her extensive range was part of that mix. I have always felt that Richard mixed Karen's voice better than Phil Ramone. It seems that Phil liked a dryer sound, so I guess it is just a matter of taste. But Phil Ramone challenged Karen, and I sense it even helped Richard in the long run. There is no doubt to the lasting effect it had on Karen's vocal style, as well as, her personal life. If We Try is a track I listen to often and enjoy the soft treatment, but again, I wish it had more layered vocal presence heard louder in the mix. Sometimes, in the solo tracks I miss hearing Richard's voice mixed in, but I understand it would have changed the songs. One last observation, I can't see how Richard could have waited to release all of these tracks, planning a album years before its release. I actually think a 1979 album would have helped, but without a tour planned it was probably an added reason to shelf some songs. So, keeping songs on a list, first in 1979, and again in 1983, shows how the artist is different from the listener. I would be so excited that I would want the world to hear immediately!
    Maybe, I feel it would have been a treat if both Richard and Phil would have worked on Karen's solo work as Peter Knight and Richard did on past albums. From what we heard on you tube videos, I feel Karen would have returned the favor by acting in movies or tv shows for which he developed music or offered musical support in return for any other musical effort of his choosing. I guess it all comes down to the business side of things as most have stated in this topic. We certainly know that each of them, Karen and Richard had high respect and love for each other and always wanted the best for each other and protect each other. We have had years of music that we celebrate with what Richard has brought forward, so we don't feel the deep tear that his family does with her early passing. After all, they probably felt they had their whole life left to record. as anyone would in their situation. So, when it comes down to it...thank you for the project Lovelines! Each track is a treat, regardless of the behind the stories factoids.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Ironically, My Body Keeps Changing My Mind was almost included on the album and switched by Richard at the last minute.

    I agree about the backing vocals on Remember When Lovin' Took All Night - the song would have really benefited if the backing vocals had been a bit more prominent in the mix. I'm surprised Richard didn't do that when it came to preparing the tracks for the Lovelines album. If you use the OOPS effect and listen to the song, the backing vocals in the choruses really jump out at you and show the beauty of Rod Temperton's arrangement in all their complicated glory.

    There's a lot more going on vocally in the solo tracks than people give Karen and Rod (and Phil) credit for. It was, dare I say it, as good harmonically as anything Richard did with Karen, actually better in some instances - If I Had You being a perfect example. Richard's begrudging comment in the Coleman book that it was the "possible exception" that might have been a hit single from the album speaks volumes to me. I think he knew damn well it was good and would have been a standout choice for lead single. All Karen needed was one and sales for the whole album would likely have followed suit.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
    Jeff, Jamesj75, CraigGA and 1 other person like this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another mystery to solve:
    According to at least one Newspaper report ,
    December 31st,1988, a Carpenters' album
    was to be released in conjunction with the CBS-TV Movie.

    My assumption:
    This album was
    The Mystery:
    Was the album ready at that time ?
    Was it "in-the-can" and then intentionally held back from release, so as to not appear to be capitalizing ?

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search ยป
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Listening to Made In America invites comparison to
    thus, I am revisiting this--one of my all-time favorite LP's---
    then on to the song....
    When I Fall In Love,
    and its variants--the original LP version and the "remixed,1990" version.
    (for instance, between the original LP and Interpretations cd).
    And, thanks to Chris May for the insightful breakdown of the variations.

    My question being:
    Was there a pressing reason to "remix" this song away from the Lovelines version ?
    I prefer the Lovelines version and would not have altered that recording.
  11. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I have said on many threads that I am eternally thankful for all the unrealesed goodies. Of course, had Karen lived we would have heard new songs, but I think we would still have seen these gems released one day as an unrealesed hits from the vaults kind of promotion, probably around the time A&M was sold. After all, the cost of making them had already been covered. On one project, I think it was Treasures, Richard explained in those liner notes that some tracks were re-recorded due to tape noise caused by tape deterioration. I always assumed the bass lines on If I Had You were for the same reason, but it makes sense that Joe Osburn play them as he is associated with the Carpenters. One thing is for certain. The Carpenters have loyal fans and even account executives of A&M liked them. So, those goodies would have had a strong chance of being shared. After all, how did they get out in the first place? We still have unrealeased stuff floating around begging to become a finished product. And I believe the intent was for sharing their music as fans, not for financial gain. Only those who leaked them actually know the truth, but I believe in the wholesomeness of Carpenters fans.
  12. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Actually I believe he had Joe re-cut the bass lines because this tune was closest to what would have resembled Carpenters, not to mention one of Richard's favorite tracks from Karen's solo work. Joe's style, which obviously was a remarkable fit for the Carpenters' sound, also fit well on this tune, and Richard could better tie it into the Lovelines tune stack. :)
    CraigGA likes this.
  13. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    If I had to guess who it most sounded like I would pick Chicago since it gives a horn blast after most phrases in the chorus. If I had you (blast) again (blast) I wouldn't be the fool if been, if I had you (blast) etc., well, from memory anyway. It might not be the instrument, I actually need to re listen. But it has that Saturday in the Park feel. Anyway, I am most pleased we have it since it gives us an inside look at the intricate vocal efforts with a Manhattan Transfer (vocalise) feel to it.
  14. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Another thing I've always said about this album is what an astounding job Richard did on the whole to bring it together in terms of its continuity and cohesiveness.

    The way he completed the charts for the remaining outtakes (The Uninvited Guest, Kiss Me, Slow Dance etc.) in such a way as to not risk giving them a "dated" sound, but stay true to form while still keeping current with the pulse of what was happening in pop music at the time, was amazing. This is not an easy thing to do, not to mention adding the tracks from Karen's solo project, which carried an entirely different genre and sound yet somehow melding all of this together so well, really showed his ability to produce with incredible insight.

    I think Lovelines is a highly underrated album for this reason alone, not to mention it is chock full of some great cuts that otherwise should have been released prior to '89.
  15. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Regardless of the tremendous effort to create a cohesive sonic quality to all of the songs on this great album, when listening to it, I will preselect Carpenters songs. The songs taken from the solo project were not intended to be mixed up on a Carpenters album. 10/10 for effort, but leaves one wondering why the solo project was included. (Huge fan of the solo recordings)
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I still remember the shock (and pleasure) of reading the glowing review of Lovelines,
    1990 in Rolling Stone Magazine.
    And, here, from an article in
    LA Times (author Paul Grein ):
    ......."Even Rolling Stone came around eventually.
    In 1990, the magazine ran a positive review of "
    a collection of previously unreleased Carpenters and solo recordings.
    "Voices like Karen's never really go out of style," wrote critic Rob Hoerburger. "

    'Lovelines' reveals just a few of the avenues that would have been open to her. "
    "But sadly . . . she died before she could shed the goody-two-shoes image that shrouded her immense talent."
    A rave in Rolling Stone? The irony was not lost on one reader who wrote in: "I found the review for the latest and last Carpenters album to be bittersweet. To have the publication that made it a stigma to enjoy their music finally extol its virtues proves that we cannot appreciate what we have until it is lost forever

    Trust Us, This Is Real : Fourteen alternative-rock groups have recorded versions of their favorite Carpenters songs. : Is this a joke? Not to them. The dark side of the Carpenters' American Dream isn't joke material.
  17. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I tend to agree with this. I suspect there was a push from the label - possibly out of guilt with regard to Karen's stuff, and/or a marketing angle in order to sell more units.
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    For all of the above reasons, this is why Lovelines is my all time favourite Carpenters album.
    Chris May likes this.
  19. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I'd say the exact opposite - the solo tracks are essential to the coherence of the running order of the album. They add an element of brightness and upbeatness to the flow in order to offset and break up the largely downbeat 'Carpenters' tracks on there, particularly with two ornate and old-fashioned songs ('When I Fall in Love' and 'Little Girl Blue') and only one ('Kiss Me the Way You Did Last Night') that's even vaguely a non-ballad (and really it's mid-tempo rather than uptempo).
    Brian likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I concur, as the solo songs really set this album apart from a "true-blue" Carpenters' album.
    (1) Those four solo songs are (largely):
    produced by (the great) Phil Ramone, arranged by (the great)Rod Temperton, or Bob James,
    and feature not only Karen's lead vocals but fantastic Karen Carpenter background vocals.
    (2) Two of the songs seem to be (largely) a product of a television Special:
    When I Fall In Love and Little Girl Blue--
    these two arranged and orchestrated by Peter Knight , drums by Cubby O'Brien.
    (3) Two--are very much in the OK Chorale vein--Honolulu City Lights and Uninvited Guest.
    (4) Two--Where Do I Go From Here and You're The One seem to me very Carpenteresque-ballad-like.
    (5) One, Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night--with additional backing vocals by Siedah Garrett--
    is fantastic; although I question the need for additional backing vocals.
    (6) One,Slow Dance, beautifully sung, does have the nice flute solo (not Bob Messenger,but John Phillips).
    Thus, of the twelve songs on this album, Richard Carpenter arranged (6) 50% of them.
    And, of the twelve songs, purely Karen and Richard background vocals appear on only
    Two songs according to the Liner Notes (You're The One and Slow Dance).

    So, again, this is one of my favorite albums--but, a typical Carpenters' album it is not--
    and, that may be the reason it is such a stand out.
    Surely, a Made In America- Volume Two, would have been less effective.
    But, on the other hand, Richard Carpenter put this one together beautifully.
    Mark-T and Brian like this.
  21. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Although generally not a fan of the solo efforts, I do agree that the four 'Karen Carpenter' songs on 'Loveliness' lift the feel of the album. For me, though, if I were to order the recordings from favourite to least favourite, the Carpenters tracks would mostly be at the top - songs like 'Honolulu City Lights', 'You're the One', 'Where Do We Go From Here', 'When I Fall in Love', 'Little Girl Blue', 'Slow Dance' and 'The Uninvited Guest'. I don't like 'Kiss Me the Way you Did Last Night' as much. Of the solo efforts, I probably like 'If We Try' the best, although the song itself is quite dull. I like a lot of the vocal harmonies, instrumentation and arrangements on the other solo recordings but don't like the out-of-Karen's-range feel of the high sections of the tracks or the over-affected way that Karen performs them, in certain sections. She's sort of overly-sweet in places, a bit vocally weak in others and sounding more than a little contrived. Overall, though, I think that Richard did a brilliant job of tying all the songs together. This is probably one of the most consistently good Carpenters albums. (When I judge a Carpenters album as 'good', I am usually judging the elements of Carpenters recordings that I love, such as Karen's voice, the vocal harmonies, the melodies and Richard's instrumentation and arrangements. I usually don't really consider lyrics, inventiveness, creativity in terms of boundary pushing or new things explored or artistic ideas in terms of left-of-centre stuff, because these weren't strengths of Karen's and Richard's work). 'Lovelines' is probably one of my favourite Carpenters albums, but only if I'm in the mood for that type of listening experience. And, let's face it, you do have to be ready for a fair old hit of sugar.
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Other than "Remember When Loving Took All Night" and "Little Girl Blue" I really like this album!
    Chris May likes this.
  23. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I'm a little sheepish to admit I haven't heard Lovelines the entire way through. As I start thanks to this lovely discussion, I'm comforted by the warmth of Karen's vocals on "Carpenters" tracks and pleasantly surprised by its flavor on the solo tracks. "If We Try" remains my favorite as a whole and of the solo efforts. I have a soft spot for "When I Fall In Love", and "Kiss Me..." is really good.
    Mark-T likes this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    While I may be in the minority, Little Girl Blue
    remains a favorite of mine. I actually applaud
    Peter Knight's arrangement on this song.
    One caveat: The mix--if that's the correct word--
    seems different from the others on the LP.
    Is this due to it's being recorded for a television special ?
    Or, am I imagining a difference that does not exist in reality?
    Graeme likes this.
  25. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I adore this song and it's arrangement. I never noticed a difference from memory. I will re listen to be certain. To me, in general, one album may be equalized different from another, so the songs from them have that "color". Maybe that's what is heard. And likewise sometimes the remix sweetened the voice differently like the song 'A Song For You' which sounds a shade different on several of the compilations which seems to match the other songs on the album. On the 40/40 CD all the songs have a stronger bass presence than the Gold. And it could be the way my blueray player digital to analog converter picks things up. All these slight differences don't really alter my listening. The only one that did were the versions of Top Of The World that appeared in the 80's until the SACD version. The single and the SACD are the only versions I listen to TOTW. These are USA albums and England only. ( I don't own any of the great Japanese imports except for the Karaoke CD.). I like all the cut sweetings on the Lovelines CD.

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