Some of the songs where Karen is straining to hit the higher notes on 'Made in America' aren't actually set that high - it's just that the illusion is created because she is straining. For instance, I was listening to 'Touch Me When We're Dancing' yesterday. Karen sounds strained in the chorus - when she sings the title line and the 'know' of 'You know you've got that loving touch', yet the main melody line is not particularly high and she reaches notes like that comfortably on other albums. She also sounds strained on the higher parts of 'Those Good Old Dreams', 'When You've Got What it Takes', (when she sings, "When you've got it..."), and 'Strength of a Woman'.I always was puzzled because a lot of the songs on this album had Karen's lead vocals recorded in a higher register? Richard's one complaint about Karen's solo LP was she was recorded into a too high register! Loved the album but the hated the cover. The inner sleeve photo was way better. BTW knowing what we do now BWAIL should have been left off of this album.
Some of the songs have quite a bit of range. 'Because We Are In Love', I think, has around the lowest note that Karen ever reached on a recording - somewhere around 'D' below 'Middle C', I think - although the lowest note in her range is sometimes stated as 'E' below 'Middle C' - yet it also has a high note - not sure what it is - haven't listened in a while - in the 'Because' after the chorale sings - and the 'love' of "Where love abides, there is a place we'll keep....." - which she reaches beautifully, by the way.
There are other songs with brilliant low notes, beautifully sung - 'Those Good Old Dreams', 'Somebody's Been Lying', 'When You've Got What it Takes', 'When It's Gone (It's just Gone)', the aforesaid 'Because We Are in Love' and 'Touch Me When We're Dancing' has a reasonably low note.
There's just a little straining going on in a few places on this album, but, generally, in my opinion, the songs on 'Made in America' are much better suited to Karen's voice than most of the songs on the 'Karen Carpenter' album. Many of the harmony vocals on 'Karen Carpenter' I like and they sound good but, for some reason, the lead vocals are disappointing, on the whole. I think it's the way that Karen is choosing to sing on the solo album, or having to sing because of health factors, (I'm assuming) - just doesn't sit right, to my ear.
I've always thought that 'Because We Are in Love' is the most beautiful recording on 'Made In America'.