• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 13.3%
  • ****

    Votes: 24 22.9%
  • ***

    Votes: 40 38.1%
  • **

    Votes: 22 21.0%
  • *

    Votes: 5 4.8%

  • Total voters
    105

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I agree 100%. After waiting nearly FOUR years for a non-seasonal new LP from Carpenters, we finally got one with 10 songs included. And, horror of horrors, one of them was a song we already had on a 45. Obviously, both Karen and Richard felt very strongly about 'I Believe You', but I wasn't very happy to see it taking up space on the new LP. It's a good song, but it wasn't fresh like the rest of the album.
In a way, MIA wasn’t even I Believe You’s debut album, that would’ve been the 1978 Classics. Sure it was only released in Asia, but I wonder how many copies were imported to the US/Canada or other countries.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
By the way, looking at the detailed radio add-ons by region, from the June 1981 Billboard,
it seems to be a miracle that Touch Me When We're Dancing reached #16 !
Compared with the other two songs, TMWWD was hardly "added" to very few radio playlists.
See pages 18, 24, 26 and 28 in the issue that I linked to above.
A miracle that it reached #16.
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I've been catching up a bit on this thread. I do have disagreement with trashing this record.

I can see where fans are coming from. It's funny to me that we forget how Karen and Richard thought the same musically.
You don't think Karen had anything to do with musical decisions about this album?
After being an associate producer on virtually every album too?

We don't often credit Karen for the instrumentation she provided. As well as her own production chops added into every album.

"Beechwood" was just as much Karen's idea as Richard's. And "strength" isn't a song that Richard was choosing for himself to do obviously, neither "because we are in love." That was for Karen and Richard and Bettis would listen to Karen's thoughts about what she would like to sing and perform on Carpenters records.

It was always thought of with Karen in mind --- especially so in the latter part of the 1970s.
Songs like "I need to be in love" and many others were tailored for Karen, and she loved them.

If she didn't like what Richard was doing do you not think she would raise her hand and say something?
I envision Karen being hands on with any album she was making.

There's always been back and fourth about whether Karen chose to sing softer as years went on out of stylistic choices or whether it was related to personal issues. We don't know that. I think the illness might be part of the vocal condition because obviously by the time of MIA she wasn't "looking fit" as stated on radio stations at the time.

It's hard to say if solo album ordeal or rocky marriage had a lot to do with song selection and production at that time.
In some ways definitely both of those events did.

At Karen's urging, it was asked to have "because we are in love" and even compromise with a recording of "Make believe it's your first time."

What my point is that even though Karen didn't often credit herself she was still the other half of the duo.
It was Karen that would request songs like "Look to your dreams," "sweet sweet smile," and many others.

So before making assumptions about this album I think there are some things for fans to consider.

This was never intended as a final album, nor was it perhaps the comeback exactly as we'd like to think. They were enhancing their sound. Basically picking up from where they left off.
I suppose it is disappointing in ways, but I felt MIA takes off from what Passage was doing in ways with the choir and added backing vocalists, etc.

It was quite an interesting time of recording for the Carpenters. We have other selections like "Uninvited Guest," "At the end of a song," "Two Lives," "Rainbow Connection." on and on. They overrecorded as usual and thankfully we get to hear a lot from the MIA sessions!

I don't think Karen would approve something if she didn't like it. They both were fans of whimsical musical productions like in Disney films, for example. And both were dreaming about being involved with film in some way or emulating that sound.
So, I think there's other ways to think of this album. They were working together as they always had on this collection of music.

They were never trendy. That's not the idea. If you're thinking trendy, then you're not thinking like the Carpenters.

They chose what is considered beautiful music to work with and something light and fun.
Easy listening, adult contemporary, soft rock or pop.

I don't really think of MIA as a pop record. I think it's adult contemporary and a very fine production and sound with the machinery they had at that time.

Had KC lived of course you know, they would have redeemed themselves had Karen had her hand at "Something in your eyes" or performing "Now" and having her voice added to a movie soundtrack. Things like that and certainly having Karen's voice more upfront.

I suppose that's not what was in mind for MIA or what was left on the budget. I have no idea. Still sounds sonically pleasing to my ears.
I don't think it's a bad record personally, but I think there's Two Sides. And while criticism isn't wrong per say they were really just getting back in the game and trying to go at what they loved to do more sensibly. They're still human after all.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I've been catching up a bit on this thread. I do have disagreement with trashing this record.

I can see where fans are coming from. It's funny to me that we forget how Karen and Richard thought the same musically.
You don't think Karen had anything to do with musical decisions about this album?
After being an associate producer on virtually every album too?

We don't often credit Karen for the instrumentation she provided. As well as her own production chops added into every album.

"Beechwood" was just as much Karen's idea as Richard's. And "strength" isn't a song that Richard was choosing for himself to do obviously, neither "because we are in love." That was for Karen and Richard and Bettis would listen to Karen's thoughts about what she would like to sing and perform on Carpenters records.

It was always thought of with Karen in mind --- especially so in the latter part of the 1970s.
Songs like "I need to be in love" and many others were tailored for Karen, and she loved them.

If she didn't like what Richard was doing do you not think she would raise her hand and say something?
I envision Karen being hands on with any album she was making.

There's always been back and fourth about whether Karen chose to sing softer as years went on out of stylistic choices or whether it was related to personal issues. We don't know that. I think the illness might be part of the vocal condition because obviously by the time of MIA she wasn't "looking fit" as stated on radio stations at the time.

It's hard to say if solo album ordeal or rocky marriage had a lot to do with song selection and production at that time.
In some ways definitely both of those events did.

At Karen's urging, it was asked to have "because we are in love" and even compromise with a recording of "Make believe it's your first time."

What my point is that even though Karen didn't often credit herself she was still the other half of the duo.
It was Karen that would request songs like "Look to your dreams," "sweet sweet smile," and many others.

So before making assumptions about this album I think there are some things for fans to consider.

This was never intended as a final album, nor was it perhaps the comeback exactly as we'd like to think. They were enhancing their sound. Basically picking up from where they left off.
I suppose it is disappointing in ways, but I felt MIA takes off from what Passage was doing in ways with the choir and added backing vocalists, etc.

It was quite an interesting time of recording for the Carpenters. We have other selections like "Uninvited Guest," "At the end of a song," "Two Lives," "Rainbow Connection." on and on. They overrecorded as usual and thankfully we get to hear a lot from the MIA sessions!

I don't think Karen would approve something if she didn't like it. They both were fans of whimsical musical productions like in Disney films, for example. And both were dreaming about being involved with film in some way or emulating that sound.
So, I think there's other ways to think of this album. They were working together as they always had on this collection of music.

They were never trendy. That's not the idea. If you're thinking trendy, then you're not thinking like the Carpenters.

They chose what is considered beautiful music to work with and something light and fun.
Easy listening, adult contemporary, soft rock or pop.

I don't really think of MIA as a pop record. I think it's adult contemporary and a very fine production and sound with the machinery they had at that time.

Had KC lived of course you know, they would have redeemed themselves had Karen had her hand at "Something in your eyes" or performing "Now" and having her voice added to a movie soundtrack. Things like that and certainly having Karen's voice more upfront.

I suppose that's not what was in mind for MIA or what was left on the budget. I have no idea. Still sounds sonically pleasing to my ears.
I don't think it's a bad record personally, but I think there's Two Sides. And while criticism isn't wrong per say they were really just getting back in the game and trying to go at what they loved to do more sensibly. They're still human after all.
You raise good questions, @WYBIMLA. It only points to the need for a Volume Two on the Legacy book where Richard can speak even more about what went on in the planning of these albums. Calling @Chris May :)
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
You raise good questions, @WYBIMLA. It only points to the need for a Volume Two on the Legacy book where Richard can speak even more about what went on in the planning of these albums. Calling @Chris May :)
Well I definitely agree with @WYBIMLA as far as Karen being more than involved with the decision making musically. She had a lot more "say" in things than people realize. If I can be totally honest here, I think this is where Little Girl Blue created some unfortunate misconceptions as to the different facets of Karen's personality.

In fact, even [John] Bettis himself told me that whereas he agrees with it biographically speaking, and feels it belongs on the shelf right alongside the others, it was still very much a "one-note-samba" as far as Karen's personality is concerned. She could be very demanding and matter of fact when she wanted something—even with Richard, and was very capable of making her own decisions, even in times of disagreement.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Interestingly enough, I can remember way back in the 1970s and 1980s, going to the record-retail outlets
looking for those Carpenters' albums and singles...and, I can tell you from experience that the record stores
never knew where to place those albums...in the 'rock' section ? in the 'pop' section, in the 'easy listening' section ?
in the 'adult contemporary' section, in the 'vocal' section ?..... get the picture ?
It was hard to locate those albums in the late 70s and 80s, I remember.
This album, Made In America,
was the most difficult to locate ! If it was stocked at all !
During its day, 1981, No one, and I mean NO ONE, was thinking "Carpenters,"
they had become past tense by 1981, which is sad to contemplate now.
So, yes, Made In America gets a bad rap, for no good reason,
but, I do not see where a different album at that time would have performed differently.
Let's face it, Juice Newton's 1981 Queen of Hearts is no work of art compared to 1981's Touch Me When We're Dancing.
And, Queen of Hearts scored better than Sweet, Sweet, Smile---of which it is reminiscent.,
Alabama gets a top hit with the same song--Touch Me When We're Dancing-- in 1986--
and their version pales in comparison to Carpenters' version.
So, I really do not blame it on Karen or Richard, what happened with this album, in 1981.
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
Well I definitely agree with @WYBIMLA as far as Karen being more than involved with the decision making musically. She had a lot more "say" in things than people realize. If I can be totally honest here, I think this is where Little Girl Blue created some unfortunate misconceptions as to the different facets of Karen's personality.

In fact, even [John] Bettis himself told me that whereas he agrees with it biographically speaking, and feels it belongs on the shelf right alongside the others, it was still very much a "one-note-samba" as far as Karen's personality is concerned. She could be very demanding and matter of fact when she wanted something—even with Richard, and was very capable of making her own decisions, even in times of disagreement.
Yes, that's where part of my comments are based from John Bettis adding in another dimension to Karen's character.

A lot of this has been repeated in documentaries too. It's not always overt, but when you see the liner notes in various complications it's apparent that The Carpenters worked so that both siblings had their talents compliment the other.
There's times where there's overlap and I can see how Karen's part in production might be a bit lost.
You're just seeing "lead sister," but that's not all there is to it.

I think part of it is that Karen really didn't credit herself too. Not sure if it's due to self-esteem, part of media training or personal preference. But, yeah compared to other artists that are mostly sticking to the part of "just the singer" Karen would have had to be more involved in her art.

It's just that over the years there are other people chiming in speaking for Karen. We have a lot of gaps there because it would only be Karen that would know exactly what her experience was. Since there wasn't any kind of raw, unedited kind of documentary back then we just don't know. At that time TV didn't allow room for a kind of 'tell-all sit down with Karen Carpenter.'

Perhaps had she lived. By the 1990s I would theorize that she would have opened up about a lot of aspects. Most definitely.
Music, relationships, illness, family. She was an honest person. I'd think she would at some point in her career open up to fans.

And the whole thing with music selection at that time is MIA is happening in the context of many other albums and TV specials preceding it.

I wouldn't think that they weren't creatively exhausted, but there's reason and justification behind 'why those songs in 1981.'

I'd think once KC and RC have their "Carpenters hat" on, so to speak, they're both coming up with selections, playing instruments, adding backing vocals, communicating with other musicians, engineers and so on.

We forget that Karen was not only a singer, musician but an artist too. They both always chose an assortment of music, eclectic even, that would challenge them and fit what they felt was right for Carpenters.

So, when we're talking down about this album it's activity that not only paints Richard in a negative light but it's also not so kind to the memory and legacy of Karen too.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Well I definitely agree with @WYBIMLA as far as Karen being more than involved with the decision making musically. She had a lot more "say" in things than people realize. If I can be totally honest here, I think this is where Little Girl Blue created some unfortunate misconceptions as to the different facets of Karen's personality.

In fact, even [John] Bettis himself told me that whereas he agrees with it biographically speaking, and feels it belongs on the shelf right alongside the others, it was still very much a "one-note-samba" as far as Karen's personality is concerned. She could be very demanding and matter of fact when she wanted something—even with Richard, and was very capable of making her own decisions, even in times of disagreement.
What was the term bettis used?....."they had olympian rows" or words to that effect. I obviously didn't know these two people but if either was to lay down the law, I'm guessing it was Karen.

With the exception of "rainbow connection " which, rightly or wrongly, I assume to be the "session from hell", according to a hungover Joe Osborne, I think the siblings were very much on the same page.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Many of us seem to like to rant about how bad MADE IN AMERICA is, but how many of us would take drastic action and toss it in the trash, or sell or give it away, never to listen to it again? I think very few. It's part of the Carpenters' canon and it's really not as bad as some make it out to be, myself included. While I don't care for "The Wedding Song", I do listen to it occasionally. I think my biggest beef with it is that it drags on too long, and I'd rather get on with something better.

Many seem to like to dismiss "Back In My Life Again", "Those Good Old Dreams", "I Believe You", "Touch Me When We're Dancing", and especially "BEechwood", I find all of those as highlights on the album. The other songs are pleasant filler but nothing special.

For sure, this thread and this album generate a lot of words, mostly we fans attempting to second-guess and to fix what we perceive to be a defective album.
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
I think they made the music they wanted to make, and weren’t focusing on making big hits. True that they may have overestimated the potential of some of the songs, based on their huge success in the early 70’s, but ultimately I think they chose what they wanted over the commerciality of it. And they were lucky to have a record company who allowed them to do that. It could likely have been that had Karen lived, once Herb and Jerry were out of the picture, they would have been released from A&M or whatever iteration it was. And very likely, they would have done what many others have done….find another label who valued them and moved on to continue to record for years to come.
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
Many of us seem to like to rant about how bad MADE IN AMERICA is, but how many of us would take drastic action and toss it in the trash, or sell or give it away, never to listen to it again? I think very few. It's part of the Carpenters' canon and it's really not as bad as some make it out to be, myself included. While I don't care for "The Wedding Song", I do listen to it occasionally. I think my biggest beef with it is that it drags on too long, and I'd rather get on with something better.

Many seem to like to dismiss "Back In My Life Again", "Those Good Old Dreams", "I Believe You", "Touch Me When We're Dancing", and especially "BEechwood", I find all of those as highlights on the album. The other songs are pleasant filler but nothing special.

For sure, this thread and this album generate a lot of words, mostly we fans attempting to second-guess and to fix what we perceive to be a defective album.
I treasure my “cut out” copy, purchased in 1984. You can almost see through the vinyl it’s been played so many times (joking about the vinyl, of course).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Many of us seem to like to rant about how bad MADE IN AMERICA is, but how many of us would take drastic action and toss it in the trash, or sell or give it away, never to listen to it again? I think very few. It's part of the Carpenters' canon and it's really not as bad as some make it out to be, myself included. While I don't care for "The Wedding Song", I do listen to it occasionally. I think my biggest beef with it is that it drags on too long, and I'd rather get on with something better.

Many seem to like to dismiss "Back In My Life Again", "Those Good Old Dreams", "I Believe You", "Touch Me When We're Dancing", and especially "BEechwood", I find all of those as highlights on the album. The other songs are pleasant filler but nothing special.

For sure, this thread and this album generate a lot of words, mostly we fans attempting to second-guess and to fix what we perceive to be a defective album.
Those Good Old Dreams & I Believe You were filler as well.

But what I got from John Bettis in the 97 Close To You documentary was that Karen was defeated after her solo album was shelved, and she really did MIA in defeat, especially when she had her brother and people that she thought of as friends turn on her, even though other people at other levels of the company that were acquaintances, were cheering her on and figured that they had a hit album in their hands. And she let Richard lead the production.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I like MIA- minus The Wedding Song - but that's just because I tend not to care for that Big Broadway style. (Look to Your Dreams is the exception.)
The production may seem a lot at times, but it's a pretty beautiful listen. Even with Karen's softer, lighter voice.
Given all that was recorded for it, I find the other selections that ended up on Voice of the Heart and Lovelines overall stronger.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
On a different note, I think the gap between non-holiday albums did their career more damage than a less than spectacular album.
Plus, at least for me, my expectations were through the roof after so long.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Those Good Old Dreams & I Believe You were filler as well.

But what I got from John Bettis in the 97 Close To You documentary was that Karen was defeated after her solo album was shelved, and she really did MIA in defeat, especially when she had her brother and people that she thought of as friends turn on her, even though other people at other levels of the company that were acquaintances, were cheering her on and figured that they had a hit album in their hands. And she let Richard lead the production.

It's pretty clear that he did. Karen couldn't have been involved in a production that consumes her the way this one does. I drag the record because it just isn't good enough. Karen is, as we've all said numerous times, the single greatest female Pop singer in the history of music. As such, she deserves only the best. "MIA" isn't the best...at least not IMHO. It's weak writing and bad found songs coupled with severe overproduction and somewhere swimming in the muck is Karen. Instead of being the featured star, she's a cog in Richard's machinery. Why she didn't do anything about that mystifies me. She had ears. She had to know it was happening.

The truth is though that if these mistakes ended up on the cutting room floor, we'd be moving heaven and earth clambering to hear them. I hate that we didn't get all of Karen that we could have so I'll take what we got...even this record. That doesn't stop me from wishing it was as good as it should have been.

Ed
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
To add, it doesn't quite work to isolate one event in Karen's life and say that contributed to her mood or illness.

It's true that if you take an overall look at the early 80s you can say the solo album shelving, marriage troubles, lacklustre sales (by Carpenters standards), mother issues, feeling responsible for Richard's issues, image problems as a brother/sister duo, squabbles over business, wanting a 'normal life' while balancing artist lifestyle, critical reviews, therapy not helping enough and treatment being argued over, etc.
That's a recipe for disaster on top of other issues I won't get into and detail or speculate.

Those all contributed over time and factor in. Not one thing in particular, and I don't necessarily believe MIA was so much a negative experience for Karen after one of their best specials Music, Music, Music.
She didn't have plans to disband the group or anything like that and wanted to keep working.

If discussion is going to be hyper critical, as strange as this sounds, it almost feeds into Karens own demons.
She may have had serious self-doubt and that's the worst place for an artist to be.

I wouldn't even want to know what Karen's internal dialogue was at that time. It might even echo a lot of what fans are doing here in this thread.

I'm just voicing that it doesn't make much sense to me on a fan board. I get it that fans don't have to like everything The Carpenters did. And sure we can all agree on something like "Man smart, Woman smarter" and a few other selections wouldn't be the first thing we'd refer a first time listener to.

It isn't doing anybody any good to keep trying to blow out someone else's candle. The Carpenters were surrounded by all sorts of rumours and critiques about them. No doubt that they were bothered by this stuff more than we realize.

It's also bad Carpenter-ology.

If you don't put on your Carpenters hat, then you're not doing good Carpenter-ology.

^ That should be on a T-Shirt someplace. :razz:

In other words, it's easier to see the expansiveness of their career when thinking through the lens of Carpenters as a brand/act.

On a project like this I'd think a listener needs to have more perspective than based upon personal opinions/thoughts/heresay limited to "I don't like that song," "I don't like that instrument in that part" or "I don't like that video because of that jumpsuit."

It really closes off discussion and negates so much of the other parts of their career like TV specials, touring, outtakes, radio shows, photoshoots, interviews.

Consider what they're thinking of in the context of a Carpenters album in 1980-1981.
Not a punk album, dance album, rock album, Olivia Newton John album, Streisand alum, KC album or RC album.

It's a brother/sister duo that had already spent a decade working at their craft. Really hadn't stopped working at all.
These days artists can take maybe 3-4 years before coming out with a new album or even longer. A year and a half wasn't really a long time off.

Then, they went back in 1980 to TV specials and recording a lot of music that may have been used on subsequent releases and trying to plan a life beyond music.

So, there's a lot going on there and I'm saying this in a gentle, kind manner to remember that they're human doing the best they can.
They'd already achieved a lot in their career and everything we love now is still very much generated by most of what they did in the 70s.
Richard stated himself at times how hard it was to come up with a Carpenters album. It's a lot to live up to and I think they both did a great job on MIA.

Ultimately, A & M approved MIA and certainly the Carpenters had a hand in creating it for the fans.
It's ironic to me how so many years later something that was done for the fans is so widely-panned as subpar or lacking in every which way.
Karen wouldn't have anything to do with a Carpenters album if she didn't like the music and this is exactly what the label feared for her solo album.
Yet, fans continue to do heavy criticism even on a Carpenters record. It just boggles my mind sometimes. Lol
 
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WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
I think there's been a lot lost on this album in this thread. Really getting away from adding in anything that contributes to the discussion about the album, lyrics, musicianship, composition, vocals or anything else.
Not in a helpful way or adds in anything interesting to the legacy of Carpenters.
I'm seeing how the conversation devolved into losing sight of how much Karen did work on MIA and enjoyed MIA.
I hope this may helps re-direct the thread.
And honestly it's rude because both she and Richard are thinking "I did this for you," you know? It's really not so much of a drag. It's for the fans.

 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
There are always a few songs off any Carpenters album that I am not a fan of so Made in America is no different. I do like and enjoy most of the album, except for "Strength of a Woman" and "Beechwood" I don't think I'd ever like Strength but Beechwood is ok but I still feel they should not have put an oldie on this album. Just because someone doesn't like several songs off an album doesn't mean it's a bad album, I just feel it could have been better. I also think it was their marketing team that promoted "comeback album". I could be wrong.

There are songs off some of Olivia's albums that I'm not a fan of either doesn't mean I don't enjoy the album for the other tracks. Dare I say this without offending anyone....but just because an artist says I made this album for you and this is what I wanted on it doesn't mean I am forced to like it. It's OK if Karen wanted Beechwood or any other song on this album but it's still OK if it's not my favorite. The same applies for Olivia.

It is rare that I will find an album from any artist that I love every single song and play it all the time from beginning to end and never skip a track. Those rare albums would be both Carpenters Christmas albums, Karen's solo album and Olivia's Physical album. If I could only have those for the rest of my life I would be content. I can play those over and over...every track and never tire of listening to them.
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
^ and that's fair.

I don't want to argue on the ins and outs of subjective listening experiences.

It's just that this can get into this nitpicking area, and that's not a good look. I've seen it happen on other fan boards and groups (not only specific to Carpenters fans).

I mean, yeah you have to have once in a century record like Thriller and say you can hear it all the way through. Even that people nitpick too and ask all sorts of questions about live versions, song selection and which outtakes being better than what was on Thriller.
Greatest selling album of all time and people can still find something they don't like about it.

I find it fascinating.

Could be Eagles greatest hits of Saturday Night Fever... whatever it is. There's always something.

I just want to come back to the makings of the album, and recognizing the fullness of this project. To me I don't just focus on what's on the album. I like to think of those sessions and how Carpenters were digging in to songs that they liked. Songs either they wrote, agreed upon or it was given to them through their team or A & M staff, etc. I don't think you can get much more Carpenters than that.

I mean different strokes for different folks and that's cool.

Just want to restore some balance to this review thread. :)
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I think this is why I enjoy these discussions- people have different opinions, and more than once I’ve given a song a fresh listen or reconsideration or even found new artists I like because of all our input. So, thanks everyone!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Regards Made In America, I note in the new Legacy book that
Richard Carpenter states: "it's loaded with vocals, very clever arrangements, really well recorded,
and Karen sounds absolutely great
...all in all, it's a damn good album" (page 210).
Also, Richard is of the belief that the "image thing" impeded the chart success of I Believe You. (page 211).
 

Jarred

Your resident analyst right around the corner.
Richard’s complete devotion to I Believe You speaks volumes, and the fact that it’s never waned. He blames their image for why that failed, really? Not the fact that it’s a cute, but overdone and wildly out of touch pop single in 1978? That record was doomed from the start, and while it features a lush Karen vocal, the silly lyrics and heavy orchestration killed any chance for it get noticed (yes, CTY had cloying lyrics but it’s rescued by an innovative arrangement and Karen darkening the meaning of it all). Plus, he knew damn well by 1978 that the public didn’t want anything resembling their classic sound, hence Passage’s colorful experimentations. It’s confounding as it is fascinating.

I think the only real song with guts to it on MIA is When it’s Gone. Perhaps could be shortened, but it’s maturity of subject matter and Karen’s committed vocal (she sounds adrift elsewhere on here) with an interesting arrangement makes for a sound that’s much closer to the magic and introspection of the early days.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Richard’s complete devotion to I Believe You speaks volumes, and the fact that it’s never waned. He blames their image for why that failed, really? Not the fact that it’s a cute, but overdone and wildly out of touch pop single in 1978? That record was doomed from the start, and while it features a lush Karen vocal, the silly lyrics and heavy orchestration killed any chance for it get noticed (yes, CTY had cloying lyrics but it’s rescued by an innovative arrangement and Karen darkening the meaning of it all). Plus, he knew damn well by 1978 that the public didn’t want anything resembling their classic sound, hence Passage’s colorful experimentations. It’s confounding as it is fascinating.

I think the only real song with guts to it on MIA is When it’s Gone. Perhaps could be shortened, but it’s maturity of subject matter and Karen’s committed vocal (she sounds adrift elsewhere on here) with an interesting arrangement makes for a sound that’s much closer to the magic and introspection of the early days.

Agreed. "I Believe You" was all wrong. Karen's vocal on it is incredible but it's musically wrong. It's way too "elevator" to make any real dent on the charts. "Freckled little girl"...really? The record it eventually landed on is utterly toothless. I don't understand Richard's devotion to that song or to "MIA." It's only redeeming quality is that it gave us more Karen vocals - neutered as they are too often.

Ed
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
"Freckled little girl" seems to torment many of the fans on this board. The song is loaded with other lyrics, yet *that* phrase is often brought up as the major offense.

I wonder if there's something psychological going on there. But I'm not a psychologist and I don't play one on TV.
 
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