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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 14.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 21 22.1%
  • ***

    Votes: 34 35.8%
  • **

    Votes: 22 23.2%
  • *

    Votes: 4 4.2%

  • Total voters
    95

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Doobie Brothers/Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Robbie Dupree. All stole the similar beat. Disco light synths. It worked for most of them at the time. Then got old.
Robbie just barely avoided plagiarism for "Steal Away". That song is so close to "What A Fool Believes", it's a near rip-off. Which Christopher Cross tune are you referring to here? I'm curious as I don't remember anything that was "What A Fool Believes"-lite.

Ed
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
That’ll be Ride Like The Wind. Listen to the intro from 0:20.

I figured you might be referring to that one but wanted to make sure. It's just two repeated chords and neither are in "What A Fool Believes". The song is also in a different tempo and in a different key too. Of course, it does feature Michael McDonald in the background but that's the only similarity I'm picking up unless I'm missing something more obvious (which is possible...LOL!)

Ed
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Funny, outside of it being "midtempo" I never thought of "Ride Like the Wind" being anything at all like "What a Fool Believes." RLTW is more of a driving beat, WAFB is a bouncy pop number. "Ride" is in a minor key, "What" is mostly in major keys. The structure of the songs are completely different.

As for his singing.... well, he's no Frank Sinatra, but he's got a pleasant tenor voice. I still enjoy some of the hits when they pop up on the radio (although I have always hated "Sailing."). He had a later song "Charm the Snake" which I thought was really catchy but it never went anywhere.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
Funny, outside of it being "midtempo" I never thought of "Ride Like the Wind" being anything at all like "What a Fool Believes." RLTW is more of a driving beat, WAFB is a bouncy pop number. "Ride" is in a minor key, "What" is mostly in major keys. The structure of the songs are completely different.

As for his singing.... well, he's no Frank Sinatra, but he's got a pleasant tenor voice. I still enjoy some of the hits when they pop up on the radio (although I have always hated "Sailing."). He had a later song "Charm the Snake" which I thought was really catchy but it never went anywhere.
I heard him "live" once. Very puzzling!
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Yeah, it's no 'rocker', that's for sure! But I do remember hearing it being played on an AC station around Labor Day of '81. After it ended, the DJ said, "That's the Carpenters. That's a nice little twist for them!"
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I heard him "live" once. Very puzzling!
As for his singing.... well, he's no Frank Sinatra, but he's got a pleasant tenor voice.
I always liked his voice (the theme tune to Arthur is a treat) but it was laden with double tracking and heavy processing so I’ve always had doubts his true vocal quality was that good. The arrangement on Ride Like The Wind is exceptional, especially the orchestration.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I always liked his voice (the theme tune to Arthur is a treat) but it was laden with double tracking and heavy processing so I’ve always had doubts his true vocal quality was that good. The arrangement on Ride Like The Wind is exceptional, especially the orchestration.
The choruses are doubled but the verses aren't. Richard had Karen double-track her voice all the time. He also put reverb on her - sometimes a lot of it (those remixes...LOL!) Didn't mean she couldn't sing. Don't hear the heavy processing you hear. I honestly don't think I've ever heard anyone dog Christopher's voice before now. These posts here are a first for me. I always thought he had a very sweet tenor voice. These days, his voice is sadly shot but when he had it, he had it.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I have remained baffled all these years, as I think Christopher Cross has a terrible voice and the song arrangements are terrible.
His vocals are choppy and short, no depth to his voice whatsoever. The arrangements are unremarkable to my ears.
In fact, when I listen to Richard Carpenter's Time LP, I feel Richard's songs are superior to Cross in every conceivable manner !
(And, even then I do not much care for Richard's lead vocals !).

Ride Like The Wind, I think, was tied into a highly-successful movie, thus its popularity at the time.

Music is a funny thing !
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I have remained baffled all these years, as I think Christopher Cross has a terrible voice and the song arrangements are terrible.
His vocals are choppy and short, no depth to his voice whatsoever. The arrangements are unremarkable to my ears.
In fact, when I listen to Richard Carpenter's Time LP, I feel Richard's songs are superior to Cross in every conceivable manner !
(And, even then I do not much care for Richard's lead vocals !).

Ride Like The Wind, I think, was tied into a highly-successful movie, thus its popularity at the time.

Music is a funny thing !
Wow... Yet more things I've heard heard said before. Michael Omartian is responsible for the production and quite a bit of the arranging and keyboard playing on the things we know best from Cross. Michael is an absolutely legendary producer who has been successfully working for fifty years producing a wide range of artists. He's worked with nearly everyone who's ever mattered in a wide variety of genres as well. He was also first-call piano/keyboard player who's on records like "The Nightfly" by Donald Fagen. Fagen was notoriously difficult and if your playing made it into one of his records, your chops were proven. Michael's chops in all areas aren't even in question.

Forgive me. I don't mean to come across as difficult (or even as a huge fan of Cross...LOL!) but I'm absolutely astounded by the above. Cross picked up every conceivable Grammy you can win for his first record. There's no real way to compare Cross with Richard. Apples and doorknobs, really as Richard never had even a modicum of solo success. Cross flamed out commercially after that but that was likely an image thing. He didn't have the look and once MTV showed up, you had to have a look and he couldn't make the transition. In spite of all of that, "Sailing" is a classic in modern canon and Cross has sustained a career since then. Hard to argue with that kind of longevity.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Ed, glad you chimed in on my post ! Always enjoy your honest commentary.
Except to say that my opinion on Christopher Cross is entirely subjective,
I have never been able to listen to his music (e.g., his vocals). Never did understand all of those Grammy wins !
He won Best New Artist Grammy , then suffered the so-called "curse."
On the other hand, what I will do---since I am not without a change of opinion--
is listen to his other albums and decide if those other albums are comparable to the initial album.
Carpenters also won as Best New Artist --they did not suffer the "curse."
I still prefer Richard Carpenter's lead vocals to Christopher Cross vocals.


Billboard:
"The sweep practically invited people to say, "Oh, he's not that good." Instead of bringing people to his side, the sweep turned many people off. Cross was a talented pop artist -- not a groundbreaking artist, but a skilled hit-maker, the kind who might have had a solid,
five-year run of hits. The Grammy sweep may have actually shortened his career..."
Source: Christopher Cross' Grammy Sweep: Will The Same Happen To Billie Eilish? | Billboard
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Ed, glad you chimed in on my post ! Always enjoy your honest commentary.
Except to say that my opinion on Christopher Cross is entirely subjective,
I have never been able to listen to his music (e.g., his vocals). Never did understand all of those Grammy wins !
He won Best New Artist Grammy , then suffered the so-called "curse."
On the other hand, what I will do---since I am not without a change of opinion--
is listen to his other albums and decide if those other albums are comparable to the initial album.
Carpenters also won as Best New Artist --they did not suffer the "curse."
I still prefer Richard Carpenter's lead vocals to Christopher Cross vocals.
Again, though, I don't think this is down to "the curse". I think this is down to the lack of both visual appeal and overall pizzazz. He was just a regular guy who wrote songs and sang them. He's also one heck of a guitar player - that's his solo on "Ride Like the Wind"). This was the beginning of the "MTV Generation" and you had to have a look or a sparkling personality in order to succeed. He had neither one. I think that's what ended his run at the top. His fall was quite dizzying - soften only slightly by the unexpected success of "Think of Laura" from the second record (thank you, General Hospital).

Billboard
:
"The sweep practically invited people to say, "Oh, he's not that good." Instead of bringing people to his side, the sweep turned many people off. Cross was a talented pop artist -- not a groundbreaking artist, but a skilled hit-maker, the kind who might have had a solid,
five-year run of hits. The Grammy sweep may have actually shortened his career..."
Source: Christopher Cross' Grammy Sweep: Will The Same Happen To Billie Eilish? | Billboard
That's certainly possible too. It raised expectations beyond anything he was able to deliver. He wrote pleasant songs and had a pleasant voice. He was never intended to be a superstar but he became one and no one quite knew why.

Ed
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
I agree that it likely should have just remained as a single on its own because of how long ago it had been recorded. They certainly had plenty of other tunes to choose from to include. "Kiss Me..." would have been a fun inclusion instead of an older tune that didn't really do anything.

Ed
Yes, a fun inclusion and potential strong single.
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
Again, though, I don't think this is down to "the curse". I think this is down to the lack of both visual appeal and overall pizzazz. He was just a regular guy who wrote songs and sang them. He's also one heck of a guitar player - that's his solo on "Ride Like the Wind"). This was the beginning of the "MTV Generation" and you had to have a look or a sparkling personality in order to succeed. He had neither one. I think that's what ended his run at the top. His fall was quite dizzying - soften only slightly by the unexpected success of "Think of Laura" from the second record (thank you, General Hospital).



That's certainly possible too. It raised expectations beyond anything he was able to deliver. He wrote pleasant songs and had a pleasant voice. He was never intended to be a superstar but he became one and no one quite knew why.

Ed
His looks did not match up to his voice. Thus, no pic on album cover. It is that simple.
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
I have remained baffled all these years, as I think Christopher Cross has a terrible voice and the song arrangements are terrible.
His vocals are choppy and short, no depth to his voice whatsoever. The arrangements are unremarkable to my ears.
In fact, when I listen to Richard Carpenter's Time LP, I feel Richard's songs are superior to Cross in every conceivable manner !
(And, even then I do not much care for Richard's lead vocals !).

Ride Like The Wind, I think, was tied into a highly-successful movie, thus its popularity at the time.

Music is a funny thing !
And having a friend like Michael McDonald.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Yes, a fun inclusion and potential strong single.
Richard's arrangement would have kept it from mattering on the charts, IMHO. It was still way too "elevator" (oboe, harp, etc.). The chorus is incredibly strong. I just wish he wouldn't have arranged it to death like he did. "Touch Me..." was arranged similarly and it only got to #16.

Ed
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
I have remained baffled all these years, as I think Christopher Cross has a terrible voice and the song arrangements are terrible.
His vocals are choppy and short, no depth to his voice whatsoever. The arrangements are unremarkable to my ears.
In fact, when I listen to Richard Carpenter's Time LP, I feel Richard's songs are superior to Cross in every conceivable manner !
(And, even then I do not much care for Richard's lead vocals !).

Ride Like The Wind, I think, was tied into a highly-successful movie, thus its popularity at the time.

Music is a funny thing !
^^^^^ Yes! Exactly this! ^^^^
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Does anyone have the cassette-tape version of this album ? If so, have you listened to it recently ?
I listened to my 1981 cassette-tape, Made in America, this morning. Firstly, it sounds crisp and clear.
Secondly, it seemed as if all of the songs are ever-so-slightly "sped-up." Had the cassette-tape
not sounded a bit faster-than the vinyl, this would have made a nice listening experience.
(By the way, the cassette version of the KC solo album also seemed to be "sped-up." That was not a listenable experience).

So, my question is this:
Are the cassette tapes not a faithful representation/reproduction of the music on their vinyl counterpart?
 
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