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Official Review [Album]: "MADE IN AMERICA" (SP-3723)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 1, 2013.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    13 vote(s)
  2. ****

    15 vote(s)
  3. ***

    29 vote(s)
  4. **

    22 vote(s)
  5. *

    3 vote(s)
  1. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Yeah, there’s a difference. “Strength” is, quite ironically, a song of great weakness. It speaks to a woman who is so weak of character as to accept any fault of her husband - even if that fault is consistently cheating on her. I know I wouldn’t want to be involved with a woman like that. I want a confident lady by my side, one who knows her worth. The woman in that song seemingly has very little self-worth as she’s willing to stick around while he continually seeks the affections of another.

    Th woman in WYBIMLA is not a weak woman; she’s decisive. She’s also the one responsible for losing his affections. In SBL, she’s likely in the momentary state many of us know all too well. She doesn’t want to let go but inevitably knows she has to. I believe that she will, sooner than later. The woman in SOAW likely never will and that’s truly a sad state of affairs.

    Rumbahbah likes this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Nice analysis ! Ed !
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  3. Kencarpenterfan

    Kencarpenterfan LOVE THE CARPENTERS

    This is great album !
    Geographer likes this.
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Record World
    Those Good Old Dreams Single Review
    Nov 21, 1981

    GaryAlan and Carpe diem like this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Carpenters Fan Club Newsletters:
    #69, February 1981:
    "being mixed as this is being written, final pressing process takes six weeks."
    "Those Good Old Dreams, is a close contender for first choice of single..."
    "photo sessions are in progress."
    #70, June 1981:
    "The first single,Touch Me When We're Dancing, has already made its debut...
    Affiliates outside the USA have chosen, as their first single,
    Want You Back In My Life...Brazil
    Those Good Old Dreams...Europe
    Beechwood 4-5789...Japan.
    In America, Richard feels the follow-up singles will probably be...
    Those Good Old Dreams, Beechwood, Back In My Life or, Strength Of A Woman.
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I was lucky to find an original sealed copy MIA a while back and indeed the vinyl is mint. I have been enjoying listening to this album on vinyl lately and it struck me how different the material and choice of songs is on this album. Most of these songs are written by other people with only 2 by RC & JB.

    Some of the material on this album makes one think, wow the Carpenters have really grown up. We have songs about a woman trying to keep her man who she feels has the need for someone else. Then we have a song about a Lyin' relationship in this case Karen the singer sings about a man whose been lyin' and making fun of her dreams, then says their both are lyin'...is it just because there too much in love? Then we have a song about having a freckled little girl, bringing a baby into the relationship. Then we have a song about a frightened woman who realizes she's about to get married. Wow...such grown up personal topics. There are 2 songs that I don't think I will ever like or enjoy, Strength of a Woman and Somebody's Been Lyin'....these just don't sound like the Karen I want to remember.

    It seems like the songs that have that Carpenters appeal are songs like, Those Good Old Dreams, Back In My Life Again and Touch Me When We're Dancing. So as I give this album more rotation on vinyl...I'm finding I enjoy most of the album but not all of it and unfortunately the album suffers from some poor writing material and choice of song material. A big plus is that I'm hearing sounds much clearer such as percussion, drums, oboe as well as Karen's vocals on my vinyl that have been somewhat lost or not as pronounced on CD's.
    Bobberman and GaryAlan like this.
  7. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    I think that Lyin' is one of the best songs on here and Karen's hushed performance of it is beautiful. I always love the dark tinge of how the strings mimicking the tip toeing of lovers around each other in the beginning and end. Adds to the atmosphere of the tune and lyrical subject.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Yes, while I am not really behind the arrangement for
    Somebody's Been Lying,
    Karen's vocals are superb on this song. Karen's vocals make this song.
    And, compare it to the "original" artist/composer:
  9. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It is a good vocal from Karen (particularly compared to Carole Bayer-Sager's version), but to have both it and 'Because We Are in Love' on the album was too much, particularly on a comeback release. Having two show tune-style songs on a 10 track album was at least one too many.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation and Mark-T like this.
  10. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Two too many. SBL is a decent song with a great twist in the lyric at the end. And Karen sings it beautifully, but the only cut in that style that I really really like is Look to Your Dreams.
    Rumbahbah likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Of course, I am as far from the consensus as possible !
    Outside of
    When It's Gone (my favorite off the LP)
    Those Good Old Dreams (which, I love) and Touch Me When We're Dancing (which, I like alot),
    my other favorites are:
    Strength Of A Woman (which, I love--very good arrangement and lead)
    Somebody's Been Lying and Because We Are In Love (I like both vocally;with caveats: alter the arrangements).
    I Believe You and Got What It Takes--both good, but not beefed-up enough arrangement-wise,
    I can do without Beechwood and Want You Back (I like both, but too "airy", too thin lead vocals).

    So, as we see, my favorites on the LP are:
    When It's Gone, Those Good Old Dreams, Strength Of A Woman.
  12. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Since MIA was recorded after Karen recorded her solo album and she must have learned a new style of delivery with Phil at the helm. Does anyone else hear a different delivery in Karen's vocal style on MIA that has similarities in her solo album? There are times on certain songs like Strength of a Woman that I hear a different Karen in her pronunciation and vocal style.
  13. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    The more jazz influenced vocal delivery seems absent from MIA. Perhaps the songs chosen didn't need it. But it might have improved the album quite a bit.
    Jarred likes this.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That always struck me as really odd, since Richard was back from a hiatus of over twelve months and supposedly all refreshed and raring to go. So why only two songs from him on the album? It's not as if there's a whole host of others that just didn't happen to make it to the album. Of the MIA outtakes on VOTH and Lovelines, there's only one more Carpenter/Bettis track - At The End Of The Song. I'm wondering if John Bettis was out of the picture and had already moved to Nashville by this time?
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member


    "...In 1981 the Carpenters released their final album as a duo recorded during Karen’s lifetime,
    Made In America.
    Since Karen’s passing, Richard has said it was both his and Karen’s favourite album that they made together.
    It includes their final top 20 single, ‘Touch Me When We’re Dancing’, which reached No. 16 on the Hot 100.
    Ironically it may be the weakest track on the album. Among the standout tracks are Burt Bacharach
    and Carole Bayer Sager’s, ‘Somebody’s Been Lyin’."
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Who writes this rubbish? Just because Burt Bacharach is co-author doesn’t mean it’s among the strongest of tracks on the album.
    Bobberman and David A like this.
  17. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Probably it could possibly be because Burt Bacharach was still associated with A&M at that time and whoever wrote it was probably copying it from a press release just my opinion
  18. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    SBL does become a bit too much with the orchestra flourishes at the end, but I still love the shaded, dreamlike arrangement. Very sophisticated and mature. Not made for radio but much better than the singles that were released, bar TGOD.
  19. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Must say I made a point to listen to it in my earphones tonight. Better than I remembered and much better than the wedding song.
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I'd disagree. Somebody's Been Lyin' was toooooooo much like I Believe You, When It's Gone (It's Just Gone) and Strength Of A Woman. I Believe You didn't make much headway in 78, and should've just remained a 45 release, and appeared on some "Best of" albums.

    In a way Touch Me When We're Dancing, Beechwood 4-5789, (Want You) Back In My Life Again all seem so out of place on this album. It's almost like they started recording one way for a new decade, but then decided to go with the slow stuff from the previous decade. Had they included more upbeat songs like Prime Time Love, Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore, If I Had You, Remember When Loving Took All Night, then I think the album would've worked better as a "New" album for the 80's.
  21. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Somebody’s Been Lyin has always been my favorite off the album. If the end of the song ended shortly after Karen’s last note it could have been a stronger song for radio. Melissa Manchester had a string of hits with lush love songs and it’s possible it could have worked given a simpler orchestration.
    I am in the minority I know, but I can’t stand to hear When It’s Gone. The music is drone and goes on and on and on into boredom. It is the only Carpenters song that I like least. (I do like the last minute of it.) I don’t mind Those Good Old Dreams but it belongs in 1973. Because We are In Love is a great read by Karen but the orchestration is too trite and bombastic. This is my least favorite album and the only songs I ever listen to is Somebody’s Been Lyin and Touch Me When We’re Dancing. Every few years I’ll even listen to When You’ve Got What It Takes for I enjoy Karen's lyric and the inflections in her voice on the first few lines of Strength of A Woman, but I agree with tomswift2002 that there were better selections made for this project that could have been used. Beechwood is a cute song, but that was done in 1974. This album does need more original songs as others have pointed out. I just expected more than fluffy songs for the 80’s in their 30’s. Instead we got all filler songs forced into Carpenters land sound with few exception. Passage was much more enjoyable for me. Made In America was a step back to A Kind of Hush, which I like better, than Made In America. I know it may not have sold but I would have loved Music Music Music on LP. Now that’s classic Carpenters with a touch of tribute thrown in all orchestrated in a delightful and tasteful fashion: the Bacharach songs, especially, and Karen was at her top! As an aside, I like more of the direction in songs Karen was taking with Phil Ramone and always thought they needed a little input from Richard, in retrospect of course, since at the time we knew nothing of them. Maybe that’s why they are in the Complete Catalog selection packages? By the way, I thought John Bettis always lived in Nashville?
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Responding to Newvillefan's question, "who writes this rubbish ?" (post #841 above):
    Words: Richard Havers...
    "Havers was the author of The Rolling Stones: In The Beginning, and he compiled and edited the band’s official anniversary book in 2012, Rolling Stones 50, also writing the sleeve notes for 2016’s Blue & Lonesome album. He was a trusted source at The Beatles‘ Apple Corps organisation and a voice of authority in the fields of jazz and blues, writing such definitive tomes as Verve: The Sound of America and the 75th anniversary history of Blue Note, Uncompromising Expression..."
    In Memory Of Richard Havers
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    While not my favorite track, I really love the vocal fry Karen gives on that last word on SBL.
  24. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    I remember seeing a documentary where John was talking about the creation of "Top Of The World" in the early 70's and he was already living in Nashville at the time.
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Never realized Carole Bayer Sager wrote/co-wrote (at least) two
    Rita Coolidge songs:
    I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love and Fool That I Am.
    Those two songs not only fall within Karen's lower register,
    they seem better selections, than a song such as Somebody's Been Lying, also written by CBS.

    Interesting how Rita Coolidge, another A&M artist, had more success in those 1977-1983 years.
    Her successful singles in that time-frame were very much ballads in the lower-register.

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