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Official Review [Album]: VÉRONIQUE BÉLIVEAU - "VÉRONIQUE" S/T

What is your favorite track?

  • I'm Gonna Make You Love Me

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • House Of Love

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Just Another Dream

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • All My Tomorrows

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I Want To Get Close To You

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • One Of Us

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • A Touch Of Paradise

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • Falling In Line

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • What Kind Of Love?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Angel In My Eyes

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • All Those Years Ago

    Votes: 4 28.6%

  • Total voters
    14

Murray

Well-Known Member
If A&M thought she was the next Celine Dion, they were misguided. She’s not even in the same league. Still, all that effort on her part and the album didn’t even chart? What do you have to do to garner a few sales, for heaven’s sake? Was she just not that popular a vocalist on her native soil or was it maybe the association with Richard that scuppered her chances?
Actually Stephen, the only one who was misguided was ME it would seem! I momentarily forgot that Celine's English language debut, Unison, was released in Canada a few months after the Veronique album! :oops: In my defense, it was nearly thirty years ago! :laugh: The rest of what I wrote is accurate, as I followed her career at the time, and I once had a brief conversation about the album with a former A&M Canada employee, some years after A&M closed it's Canadian office. Veronique Beliveau was an established star in Quebec in the 1980s, as was Celine. In an effort to expand her audience beyond the limited Quebec market, A&M urged Veronique to record an album in English, Borderline (her third album for A&M), in 1987. The single from that album, Make A Move On Me, charted somewhere in the 40s, and album sales, though not spectacular by any means, were high enough that A&M wanted her to make a second album in English. Management hoped that by pairing her with a well-known American producer, that her next album would be her "breakthrough" into English Canada, as well as into the US market. It just so happened that this was the year, 1989, that Richard was producing other artists, so he was approached, and agreed to work with her. What's really sad is that this "breakthrough" album sold even more poorly than it's predecessor, and ended Veronique's recording career.

The following year, 1990, Celine Dion released her English debut album, and went on to become an international superstar. After that, many French-Canadian singers made albums in English, hoping that lightening would strike twice. It didn't.
 
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Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I'd agree with all of the above - but what a waste of the man's talents. He could have gone on to do so much more. Imagine if it was he who had passed away and Karen had only gone on to record a couple of dud singles and albums with low-profile artists that the general public had never heard of. People the world over would be asking: WHY? But then, that's the difference in the public's perception of Karen versus Richard. She was the Carpenters. He was seen as just the back up.

Professionally, I don't think Richard ever successfully managed to let go of the Carpenters after Karen died. It was all he'd ever known. Conversely, I don't think there were any mainstream artists queuing up to work with him given his ego and reputation in the studio either. When Petula Clark said of the experience that "it's good, but it's not easy", I believe by her hesitation and body language that she was being extremely diplomatic and understated out of respect towards him. His magic worked one time, and one time only. And the only person who could relate to him - almost telepathically - and put up with all his foibles and idiosyncrasies, was the one who had spent her entire life with him.
Richard has gone on record several times as saying that he and Karen were born to work together, and I wonder if perhaps he really meant that, rather than it being used as a justification as to why he wasn't impressed by Karen's solo album. Perhaps he really didn't want to work with anyone else. In the rather awkward 1981 Good Morning America interview, he doesn't seem at all bothered when the question is put to him about doing outside projects, whereas Karen is quite animated about branching out and doing different things.

Perhaps it wasn't the same experience producing for other artists, not only because he and Karen were so used to each other's ways, but also because he'd been acknowledged as 'senior member' of the team right from the off. With more high-profile artists, he might not have been able to follow the working patterns he'd become used to.

As you say, it is a shame - in my opinion, both of them were quite capable of achieving new things in their own right rather than always as part of a duo, but that's not to say that both of them actually wanted to do so.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Listening to All Those Years Ago (above) and,
re-listening to Akiko--- How Could I Ask For More---
and (especially)
Dusty Springfield on Something In your Eyes,
These are all very good recordings (imho).
In particular, I am reminded of the fiasco in lack of credit for Dusty on the 45-Single,
when that song was marketed. So, I wonder, really, why the chart-action was so dismal.
The lack of even moderate single-success for these songs is mind-boggling.
Dusty really garnered attention (late 1987), but, with the Pet Shop Boys !
Even so--Something In Your Eyes--should have reached those same stratified heights on the charts.
It did get airplay in Ocala !

And, Richard still has a few great ones...Christmas Turned Blue...springs to mind.
 

Jarred

Active Member
Personally, I think the album is crap. I'm not huge on a lot of 80s pop/AC so maybe this album was never going to work for me, but it sounds nothing like the pop that I do like from this decade. Most 80s pop sounds dated today but there are plenty of hits/songs that still sound fresh and invigorating today - none of them exist on this disc, however. The album just sounds cold and mechanical, none of the timeless arrangements that he's known for, or even did with Akiko.

However the one track that's worth keeping is All Those Years Ago, a song that she does a beautiful job with and sounds as timeless as anything Richard did with Karen. I just wish it was longer, it really could have been a classic tune. This track for me shows that Veronique is a much more appealing and emotional a singer than Celine, I can't see the latter finding nuances of feeling and intimacy in a simple ballad.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Listening to All Those Years Ago (above) and,
re-listening to Akiko--- How Could I Ask For More---
and (especially)
Dusty Springfield on Something In your Eyes,
These are all very good recordings (imho).
In particular, I am reminded of the fiasco in lack of credit for Dusty on the 45-Single,
when that song was marketed. So, I wonder, really, why the chart-action was so dismal.
The lack of even moderate single-success for these songs is mind-boggling.
Dusty really garnered attention (late 1987), but, with the Pet Shop Boys !
Even so--Something In Your Eyes--should have reached those same stratified heights on the charts.
It did get airplay in Ocala !

And, Richard still has a few great ones...Christmas Turned Blue...springs to mind.
This will look bad, I know, but the reason was simple. Pet Shop Boys were cool then and Richard wasn’t. They were having hits. Carpenters weren’t.

Ed
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
My favorite VERONIQUE track is the third one on the disc, "Just Another Dream". I can easily hear Karen singing lead on this.

 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Actually Stephen, the only one who was misguided was ME it would seem! I momentarily forgot that Celine's English language debut, Unison, was released in Canada a few months after the Veronique album! :oops: In my defense, it was nearly thirty years ago! :laugh:
Love your honesty Murray, :laugh:

Personally, I think the album is crap.
Again :laugh:

Perhaps it wasn't the same experience producing for other artists, not only because he and Karen were so used to each other's ways, but also because he'd been acknowledged as 'senior member' of the team right from the off.
All hilarity aside, this is probably the most astute observation and summation I've ever read about Richard's post-Carpenters career and own psyche.
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
I think it's the best of the three from 1989. AKIKO is only so-so for me, Scott Grimes is not my cup of tea, so VERONIQUE comes out on top. And I genuinely enjoy the album.
 

Jarred

Active Member
I think it's the best of the three from 1989. AKIKO is only so-so for me, Scott Grimes is not my cup of tea, so VERONIQUE comes out on top. And I genuinely enjoy the album.
I find Akiko's the most appealing, likely because it could have largely been recorded in any era and they are songs that would have fit Karen like a glove.

And I swear to god I can hear Karen not only on the lead vocal of "Only the Angels Know" but on the backing ones. It's like her spirit was channeled and she found her way into that recording.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
That's what I don't like about AKIKO. The Karen-channeling is too spooky.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
I find Akiko's the most appealing, likely because it could have largely been recorded in any era and they are songs that would have fit Karen like a glove.

And I swear to god I can hear Karen not only on the lead vocal of "Only the Angels Know" but on the backing ones. It's like her spirit was channeled and she found her way into that recording.
I agree with this for sure...I really enjoy Akiko's album and I also hear Karen in certain spots. I also agree that the material is just something I can hear Karen recording from a Carpenters album. The Reply is one of the top cuts off that album for me...I always get choked up when I hear that, the lyrics and haunting melody have Karen written all over it. If it wasn't for Akiko's accent I could swear Karen had a mic in that studio transcending from heaven.

I still think Akiko's singing..."the pages of our memories are turning in Berlin" :hide:
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I'm a fan of Akiko and the album particularly, Only the Angels Know.
I love Richard's arrangements on the disc. Actually I have a harder time listening to Rumor of Harriet.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
I can’t listen to any of that stuff recorded to try and sound like Karen. If it’s not Karen, I’m not interested.
My sentiments exactly. I've just never been much interested in the Karen "sound-alikes". I couldn't rule out going to a Carpenters tribute show just for the curiosity factor though; if the opportunity presents itself at some point in my life. I would never be under the expectation that the Karen impersonator would be anywhere near the real deal.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
My sentiments exactly. I've just never been much interested in the Karen "sound-alikes". I couldn't rule out going to a Carpenters tribute show just for the curiosity factor though; if the opportunity presents itself at some point in my life. I would never be under the expectation that the Karen impersonator would be anywhere near the real deal.
Years ago, I saw a tribute by Wendy Roberts and Phil Aldridge and they were the closest I think anyone could come. All other online videos of other tributes that I've seen don't even come close. Some of you may recall that they performed at the London Palladium and Richard had actually seen their show at one point and commented how good it was. They subsequently used his quote on their tour posters. In their show, they did an amazing, full-length rendition of Calling Occupants complete with orchestra, which really impressed me. Some tribute acts don't try to sound like Karen, they concentrate more on it being simply that: a tribute. Wendy and Phil's show, on the other hand, really went out of its way to recreate the sound. Wendy's voice was reminiscent of Karen, but for a die-hard who knows every second and every nuance of every one of their records, it wasn't a satisfying experience for me. I found myself thinking "that's not how Karen sang that line" or "that's not the way the instrumentation is on that part of the song". So since then I've steered clear of any more tribute acts :laugh:

If anyone is curious, below is a short clip of Wendy Roberts performing. It's since morphed into a show without her previous partner Phil Aldridge. The notes accompanying the post are interesting:

Only one performer has ever received the ultimate accolade – a glowing endorsement by none other than Richard Carpenter. Describing Wendy Roberts’ depiction on national TV as a “very accurate and a faithful portrayal”, Richard confessed to being “flattered” by the songstress’ depiction of his sister Karen’s velvet vocals. Star of theatre’s seminal revue production Tribute to the Carpenters, Wendy’s performances of chart-topping hits Top of the World, We’ve Only Just Begun, Goodbye to Love, Please Mr Postman, For All We Know and Only Yesterday were, at the time, critically acclaimed worldwide – performing here to full houses throughout the country culminating with a storming appearance at the London Palladium. At the height of her popularity, Wendy hung up her microphone to begin a family. Since then few shows have offered the depth and authenticity of Wendy’s incredible voice. Tempted out of retirement for one final tour, it’s a chance to genuinely relive the timeless quality or Richard and Karen’s music. . . songs that are as relevant today as when The Carpenters enjoyed their first hit Close to You in 1970. The Carpenters’ Songbook is heading your way – it’s Yesterday Once More.

 
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Jarred

Active Member
I agree with this for sure...I really enjoy Akiko's album and I also hear Karen in certain spots. I also agree that the material is just something I can hear Karen recording from a Carpenters album. The Reply is one of the top cuts off that album for me...I always get choked up when I hear that, the lyrics and haunting melody have Karen written all over it. If it wasn't for Akiko's accent I could swear Karen had a mic in that studio transcending from heaven.

I still think Akiko's singing..."the pages of our memories are turning in Berlin" :hide:
Wait, then what is Akiko saying in that line because that's what I hear too?! Akiko does an amazing job herself on that song with such longing and tenderness and the arrangement is simply gorgeous. Karen would have done equally as great a job with it, as well as all the other songs on the album. Aside from this final track, all of the songs still retain timeless appeal while incorporating subtle contemporary 80s sounds, and they are just the kind of arrangements that would have fit Karen had they continued through that decade. It's the only thing I like that Richard did after her death because he wasn't trying to be something he wasn't; he knew this kind of sound and arrangement stylings like the back of his hand.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
By far my favorite Akiko performance is a duet that she did with Corinne Drewery (of Swing Out Sister) on the classic Jobim song, "Waters Of March"


Fun record! And here she sounds absolutely nothing like Karen Carpenter.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
Wait, then what is Akiko saying in that line because that's what I hear too?! Akiko does an amazing job herself on that song with such longing and tenderness and the arrangement is simply gorgeous. Karen would have done equally as great a job with it, as well as all the other songs on the album.
It's nice that someone else hears this too and I'm not crazy. lol
I have Akiko's CD from Japan with OBI and the booklet inside does contain the lyrics. The lyrics read "the pages of our memory are turning and burning"

It's also interesting to note that Richard is listed as providing backing vocals on all tracks except The Reply. There are other reasons why I really enjoy Akiko's City of Angels CD, Richard's backing vocals really sound great against Akiko's vocals. We have John Bettis and Joe Osborn on here as well. Akiko also recorded an album called A Song For You in 2003. 11 Carpenters tracks and when I saw the list I was super excited however I was totally let down that she sounded totally different and nothing like City of Angels.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
In case anyone is interested, CD Japan and Neowing with Universal still has 30 sec samples of Akiko's A Song For You album, so it gives you an idea how she sounded. She is performing with a full orchestra. I'm not sure the link will work here as it translates the page from Japan to English and then you have to click on one of the samples which then opens a separate window with all the track samples under a web cache jplayer window. It's also interesting to hear the song Lovelines with a full orchestra, could Karen have sung this with a full orchestra as part of touring her solo album? It changes the feel of the song a bit but still cool to hear it.

Here is the link, Neowing I believe is a parent company of CD Japan that provides listening samples.

Google Translate
 

Jarred

Active Member
I actually like the songs from that 2002 album where she sings in all Japanese. Unlike her 89 album which she sung well in English, her enunciation on the latter album feels very stiff.

Are there two singers named Akiko because the single that from 2002 "Waters of March" sounds nothing like her.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
By far my favorite Akiko performance is a duet that she did with Corinne Drewery (of Swing Out Sister) on the classic Jobim song, "Waters Of March"

Fun record! And here she sounds absolutely nothing like Karen Carpenter.
Akiko also recorded an album called A Song For You in 2003. 11 Carpenters tracks and when I saw the list I was super excited however I was totally let down that she sounded totally different and nothing like City of Angels.
Are there two singers named Akiko because the single that from 2002 "Waters of March" sounds nothing like her.
"Waters of March" features the same Akiko Kobayashi as on the "City of Angels" album. I bought her "A Song For You" album, and I was very surprised, actually shocked, that she sounded so different than she did on "City of Angels", and I concluded that this had to be her natural singing voice. Obviously, she also possesses a deep alto range, which can be hauntingly reminiscent of Karen, and which Richard used to great effect. I'd say she sounds so much like Karen on "City Of Angels", because of Richard's production - he must have directed her to use her lower range, influenced her phrasing etc. Couple that with Richard's backing vocals and arrangements, and it sounds like a classic Carpenters album.

Now imagine if Richard would produce a Harriet album... my whole body tingles at the thought!
 
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Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
Murray your exactly right, it goes to show how Richard was able to produce Akiko to bring the best out of her vocals. I would imagine he taught her techniques in delivery, timing and breathing that Karen knew from heart and with his production and song choices it all came together like a Carpenters album. Listening to her A Song For You album is nice at times but it doesn't have the same touch that Richard is a master at producing.

As I was driving to work today my music was on rotation and up comes "Broken For You" which I had not heard for a while and man that song is terrific, I hit repeat several times and to me it sounds like something Richard could have produced and arranged for Harriet. I kept hearing bits of Karen reflecting from her vocals. Great song!! I wonder if Richard has heard her sing?
 
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