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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 15.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 20 22.5%
  • ***

    Votes: 30 33.7%
  • **

    Votes: 22 24.7%
  • *

    Votes: 3 3.4%

  • Total voters
    89

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Karen Carpenter knocked MADE IN AMERICA out of the park!

P.S. I'm going to revise and redraw my respect factors regarding Karen and Richard Carpenter's magic. Each survey I change my vote to the very best!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I don’t know what park your in, but MIA was a dud. 1st base maybe with “Want You”, “Touch Me” and “Beechwood”, but her finest performances of their era were left in the clubhouse for reasons unknown.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Forum members that know me...realize that your comment is just way too easy bait and I'm not bitin'.
Oh and Tom, regarding which park I'm in...perish the thought and put mind to ease cuz you've already missed the game.
I'm referring to the game where Karen Carpenter knocked MADE IN AMERICA out of the park. In CarpenterSland there are two types of fans. Those that HEAR and that are simply here.
 
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After reading others' comments on this album's mixing, especially vocals, I did some experimenting.
It's well known how effective the SACD's mixing was, even for the [two] MIA songs.
Well, when playing back in 'downmix to stereo' mode, the vocals really come forward.
I also decided to go one step further, and turned on the dynamic processer on my reciever [in 'night' mode], producing a heavier, 'wall of sound' effect.

I can't call this method 'better' from a Hi-Fi perspective, but it shows how well some systems can enhance surround mixes

Here:
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Original Stereo Downmix
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Processed 'Night-mode' Mix
 
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ullalume

Well-Known Member
After reading others' comments on this album's mixing, especially vocals, I did some experimenting.
It's well known how effective the SACD's mixing was, even for the [two] MIA songs.
Well, when playing back in 'downmix to stereo' mode, the vocals really come forward.
I also decided to go one step further, and turned on the dynamic processer on my reciever [in 'night' mode], producing a heavier, 'wall of sound' effect.

I can't call this method 'better' from a Hi-Fi perspective, but it shows how well some systems can enhance surround mixes

Here:
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Original Stereo Downmix
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Processed 'Night-mode' Mix
Wow Sean. I own the SACD and that's the closest I've heard it duplicated in stereo.
Good work sir.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Yep. Nice work Sean. I had the same revelations when I did just about the same thing, allowing my equipment to downmix the SACD to essentially two channels, and reveling in the results. As I type this, I'm listening to the "Calling Occupants" downmix and getting goosebumps all over again, just like in 2012, when I posted about it here:

Center recordings....from SACD
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
After reading others' comments on this album's mixing, especially vocals, I did some experimenting.
It's well known how effective the SACD's mixing was, even for the [two] MIA songs.
Well, when playing back in 'downmix to stereo' mode, the vocals really come forward.
What strikes me about this (same as on the isolated SACD tracks posted on YouTube) is that there’s virtually no reverb on the vocals whatsoever, including Karen’s lead. Why is that? Would it have been caught by another channel on the SACD?
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
So looking forward to the RPO mix of Touch me when we're dancing and Those good old dreams.
This would be the first time they've been remixed.
I wonder if any criticisms fans have found over the years about MIA's mix will be taken into account
(Not saying Richard has read these, but perhaps he'll bring Karen's voice more forward).
We'll have to see and compare by the end of this year. :)
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I was listening to Somebody's Been Lyin'......I like Karen's interpretation and
the background vocals. The strings, too.
But, I also very much enjoy the 2018 RPO versions of Touch Me When We're Dancing
and I Believe You.
Which brings me to an idea:
An RPO version, along with re-mix, of this entire album.
I would love to hear that !
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
After reading others' comments on this album's mixing, especially vocals, I did some experimenting.
It's well known how effective the SACD's mixing was, even for the [two] MIA songs.
Well, when playing back in 'downmix to stereo' mode, the vocals really come forward.
I also decided to go one step further, and turned on the dynamic processer on my reciever [in 'night' mode], producing a heavier, 'wall of sound' effect.

I can't call this method 'better' from a Hi-Fi perspective, but it shows how well some systems can enhance surround mixes

Here:
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Processed 'Night-mode' Mix
The compression when the chorus comes in is rather jarring and the whole thing is pretty off-balance. In fact, the "pumping" is all over the place. That's just the effect of the processing that your system was doing to it. The guitar is louder though so that's interesting.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Call me crazy, but, a completely re-arranged
Because We Are In Love,
would make my day !
I still believe this is a good song,
with great Karen Carpenter lead-vocals,
wrapped-up in a lousy arrangement.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
After reading others' comments on this album's mixing, especially vocals, I did some experimenting.
It's well known how effective the SACD's mixing was, even for the [two] MIA songs.
Well, when playing back in 'downmix to stereo' mode, the vocals really come forward.
I also decided to go one step further, and turned on the dynamic processer on my reciever [in 'night' mode], producing a heavier, 'wall of sound' effect.

I can't call this method 'better' from a Hi-Fi perspective, but it shows how well some systems can enhance surround mixes

Here:
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Original Stereo Downmix
Touch Me When We're Dancing ~ Processed 'Night-mode' Mix
Wow! Karen’s leads are way more upfront. Love it! Thanks for your work on this and for sharing it
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Let Go...Let God (ONJ)
Listening to the DBX-LP release of MIA, which was sourced from 2-track/master tapes rather than LP-cutting tapes, what *should* have been the cleanest/highest quality source for the 'album'/'synthy @3:36' version of 'Those Good Old Dreams' is actually sourced from the remix used for all single/digital releases without the extra synth. From its mention in Autumn 1981 Billboard articles detailing MIA as one of A&M's new DBX-LP's, this means that Richard had already completed this remix way ahead of November's 7" single release - and maybe that Richard had made his mind up that he wanted to release this single mix only, and would avoid letting the original/synthier get out if he could help it.

Playing Those Good Old Dreams by Carpenters - picosong

An interesting anomaly to add to the song's page in carpenters.amcorner.com
I missed this post...thanks...I really like this DBX version, pretty cool!!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Internet handles are just that - handles. Rick changed his awhile back.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The discussion regarding the song "Now" has me listening to the LP Made In America.
Some of the softer (and higher) vocal leads are found on this album.
Somebody's Been Lyin gets rather quiet in places (and the "lows notes" are devoid of strength).
Songs such as Beechwood and Want You Back in my Life Again are airier, thinner.
On the other hand, the initially discarded Uninvited Guest, while soft, is incredibly haunting.
When You've Got What It Takes (my least favorite) has nice background harmonies,
but its arrangement is too elevator for my tastes (higher notes: ending "when you've got it").
Comparison of Karen's higher notes in her solo song "If I Had You,"
to higher notes found in later material, perhaps you will hear the weakness evident in
"Now."
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Worth another read (for many a reason):
Billboard Magazine, June 20, 1981 Top Album Picks (page 76):
CARPENTERS -Made In America, MM SP3723. Produced by Richard Carpenter.
"The duo returns here to the mellow MOR pop which has brought it 18 gold singles and albums since 1970.
The LP is an about -face from the duo's last studio collection, 1977's "Passage," which flirted with
rock rhythms and failed to be certified gold. Included are pretty ballads by Burt Bacharach and Roger Nichols,
who composed the pair's first two hits, "Close To You" and "We've Only Just Begun." The duo also returns to the Marvelettes' songbag, which brought its most recent gold single, "Please Mr. Postman," for "Beechwood 4- 5789."
Daryl Dragon of the Captain & Tennille, once the Carpenters' chief rival for the MOR crown, contributes the synthesizer programming to "(Want You) Back In My Life Again," a punchy, mid-tempo Doobie-esque rocker which would be a strong second single. Best cuts: "Touch Me When We're Dancing," "I Believe You," "Those Good Old Dreams," "Because We Are In Love."
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I remember reading that review in ‘81 and being so excited for WYBIMLA to be released as the second single. I loved it and so did everybody I knew that heard it, thanks to me. :) I was shocked it only got to #72. Still love that song.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I remember reading that review in ‘81 and being so excited for WYBIMLA to be released as the second single. I loved it and so did everybody I knew that heard it, thanks to me. :) I was shocked it only got to #72. Still love that song.
I don’t think Richard (or Karen for that matter) has ever gone on record about his thoughts on the chart performance of their singles from the album. It’s almost as if they kept putting out song after song, hoping the next one would do something and the chart listings got progressively worse. Putting Beechwood out in March 1982 was just a waste of time and money. The album was nearly a year old by that point and they weren’t even a functioning unit able to promote it. I also wonder why no video was made for (Want You) Back In My Life Again when all the other singles had one.
 
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CarpentersToYou

What I feel has come and gone before...
It is interesting hearing Richard say that it is his favorite album. In many ways, I agree. Though I feel that The Wedding Song doesn't really fit on it very well.
 
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