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Official Review [Album]: "VOICE OF THE HEART" (SP-4954)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 30, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    14 vote(s)
  2. ****

    22 vote(s)
  3. ***

    26 vote(s)
  4. **

    6 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I agree with GaryAlan that 'Voice of the Heart' has some stellar moments. 'Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore' is in my Top 10 favorite Carpenters tracks. The vocals are top-notch and the arrangement is equally impressive. The trumpet solo just before the bridge is pretty incredible. Makes me wish they'd used the trumpet more often in a solo capacity.

    I feel the same way about 'Two Lives'. It packs a lot of punch, and Karen's vocals are dramatic and right on the nose....especially the line, 'Truth or consequences, which one will it be?' Doesn't get much better than that!
    K.C. Jr likes this.
  2. I love that "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore" was included on the 40/40 compilation as well as GOLD here in the US.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I've never understood the praise for this song. It's one of the few 1980 work leads that actually sounds like a work lead. Karen sounds strained and out of tune at certain points in the song.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^interesting !
    I really love this song, Two Lives.
    Perhaps, that it is a 'work lead' provides for some variance in allowing for any imperfections ?
    Although, I must confess, the vocals sound fine to my ears !
    I place it beside Strength of A Woman as a superb showcase for vocals and lyrical content.
  5. I agree with this, something about her vocal here feels sour to me. I think it's the strain and out of tune-ness rather than her not much feeling into it. Though I love the haunting way she sings, "I can't believe it's over. It's over...".

    Why did Richard have her sing so high on these outtakes? This goes for YBDLYA - "Yoouuurr baby...!" It sounds so strained and high for her, though she sounds great when she isn't singing the hook, and in her more comfortable range.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    ^To keep it in perspective...
    If you call that strain for Karen Carpenter...
    I mean, I've heard what strain sounds like in other vocalists and her strain is still good sounding--if it is indeed strain. I thought some of her solo outtakes had a bit more of that struggling sound and obviously that's reason why she wouldn't have liked to know they were leaked.
    It is perplexing to think how she does sound like she was singing higher in some of those later Carpenters sessions.
    I agree the verses like "At the end of a song" or "Your Baby" sound on par with how they always sounded.
    I don't hear "out of tune" on "Two Lives". Can someone give an example?
    Mixed with the choir and the fact that these were outtakes it does make you think there was something missing...
    Probably something she may have wanted to correct for a master track recording to give added power in the choruses we're used to hearing.
    I wonder, was it because of her solo work that she incorporated some higher tones in later work?
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, too, it seems to my ears as if Karen may have been singing
    Two Lives
    more in a country-tinged vein, thus,it does sound different.
    To wit: Comparison of the 1972 (country-tinged) and 1973 (totally pop) Top Of The World.
    In regards singing higher notes--of which Made In America abounds,too--
    having that phenomenal "basement voice" in your ear all the time is a hard act to follow,
    so, Karen's higher notes (here, and elsewhere) simply do not sound as 'natural'
    as what we are 'used to' !
    (But, then, I hear no vocal 'straining' on any of the solo-material "high-notes").

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    Perhaps it's not strain or struggle, but it's not what we're used to and they were left incomplete. I mean, the posthumous stuff did receive a lot of production work, yet still not how Karen would have left it if she had the chance to get another take other than just laying it down for musicians to hear.
    She still sung them well! Critical thinking is good, but you got to hand it to her...
    Not much changed from how she could go in studio and lay a track down like Superstar, not have time to between touring and such to do anymore takes... and it was gold.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The line "lately I can hardly see the sun" sounds out under pitch to me, it's not quite right. I can't work out whether there isn't enough emotion or effort there on that line, or whether she didn't take a deep enough breath before singing it.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Compare and Contrast at your leisure !
    Bonnie Raitt's Two Lives:
  11. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    This is fantastic analysis and shows why "Voice of the Heart" should have been delayed. An album that combined the best of "Voice of the Heart" and "Lovelines" would have been an impressive release in January 1989. A&M and Richard should have waited for the release of "An Old Fashioned Christmas" as the first posthumous album.
    newvillefan likes this.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, I do wonder---had A&M Records and Richard Carpenter have waited until January 1989--
    which Songs would they have chosen as "the best" combined of Voice of The Heart and Lovelines ?
    To read of Richard Carpenter's change of heart (subsequently)regarding the songs on Heart, he believing that
    all save Now should have been shelved ! So, I am thankful we got Heart LP when we did.
    Most of those songs are far too good to remain shelved.
    Given the almost non-existent promotion given to Lovelines in later 1989,
    I shudder to think how waiting for anything---for the "right" time to release--could have helped.
    And, too, Voice of the Heart was originally intended for a much earlier (Summer) 1983 release,
    thus, it was rushed to completion much earlier, only then to be held back until October 1983 release.
    Had changes be wanted in 1983 for that LP, it could have been accomplished.
    Again, we got what we got--when we got it.
    I like them both.
    I really love Lovelines....but, that's another story.....


    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I never knew Bonnie Raitt sung "Two Lives" first.
    I wasn't sure where that one came from, but I like the tune.
    Also, I don't think it's a pitch issue... I think that has to do with support of breath.
    Like I said I believe Karen may have corrected something like that if it were released during her lifetime.
    This wasn't intended at first to be released. Either they'd have looked at it again for a future release or moved onto some other material.
    I know KC was a perfectionist. If her re-recording the leads for Top of the World and Ticket to Ride are any indication.
  14. This is one of my all time favorite albums, for one thing, in October 1983 none of us had any idea that there would be any more music released by Carpenters. We didn't have the internet or any thing like a direct line into A&M. I was so glad to have at least one more album to enjoy and to treasure. I have been a major fan since 1969, and I still listen to their music every day.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  15. I love this album! When I first began listening to carpenters, I searched all the music shops for this album. I rate it very well. It has loads of stand out tracks particularly 'now' and make believe it's your first time. It's an album that I play a lot. Also I feel that Look to your Dreams serves as a finale to the album especially with Richards fading piano at the end. The artwork itself is lovely and I believe it's from Karen's solo album. The back cover with Richards words are lovely too and it's easy to tell how much he valued Karen as a sister and a musical partner. So all in all a great album.
    Jamesj75 and Mary Beth like this.
  16. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    One of the best examples of how Karen's voice evolved during her career is to listen to the 1969 recording of Someday and then compare it to the 1980 recording. The 1969 version shows Karen straining vocally, where as by 1980 she knew how to control her instrument, an amazing transformation, didn't happen over night, but what a joy to hear it develop over the years.
  17. Technically, she was more measured and refined on the 1980 recording, but I don't hear the yearning she displayed on the earlier one. This became a problem later on when she began focusing too much on the lyric/phrasing and less on conveying a direct, soulful feeling. I take emotional feeling over technical finesse any day. Her style became soft to the point where I missed that hit to the gut. Of course, I'm not saying this was the case for all post-1975 recordings or that she lacked emotion, but generally her style changed and it wasn't *always* for the best.
    LondonRobert and newvillefan like this.
  18. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Listen to Karen in 1980 singing Make It Easy On Yourself, it's a masterpiece of vocal control and emotion.
    WYBIMLA and Mark-T like this.
  19. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    That was interesting. May have to purchase that version. For me, this is one of the more interesting tracks on the Voice Of The Heart album. It has an energy and vibe similar to Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again. Personally, I don't hear any tuning issues here and I love the way Karen sings the chorus a little bit differently each time, playing with the melody. It's more contemporary and natural sounding than some other performances from the later years where she had a tendancy to perhaps sing a little bit too precisely if that makes any sense at all. I don't even have any issues with the Ok Chorale who are more restrained than normal!
    WYBIMLA likes this.
  20. Oh yes, I agree. That's why I said it wasn't always the case. That's one of her best mini performances, both vocally elegant and she hits those low notes was passion. I'm saying with a song like Someday, it needs more power.
  21. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    1000 times LIKE.
    Chris Mills and Mary Beth like this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    True, but it sounds too light and airy to me. Far too soft. I like Karen's early, gutsier vocals on the Bacharach numbers.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I'll be in trouble, here, but, I am not a big fan of very many of the Bacharach tunes.
    Took me quite a while to warm up to Close To You !
    Any Day Now , on the other hand, is a song I do love.
    The 1980 version of Make It Easy On Yourself, while technically a perfect vocal ,
    is a far cry from the earlier version (IMHO). I'm simply not too keen on any of the
    Medleys--no matter how great they were performed.
    Back to Voice of the Heart LP,
    I much prefer Karen's vocal delivery on the solo Make Believe It's Your First Time.
    Again, her vocals on the later version --while very well done--are weaker to my ears.
    Perhaps, intentionally so; but, just too soft for me--let alone as a Single release in late 1983.
  24. I'm with you. That belting power she displayed on them perfectly brought out the feeling sizzling under their lush surface.
    newvillefan likes this.
  25. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I vaguely remember that Ev or Rosina actually alerted me that Tide "may have been the next single" when I Believe You came out... So it was indeed recorded much earlier... I need to find that note and get 100% assurance I'm not hallucinating. Thank you for the Music was also under consideration at some point... I truthfully never liked that one...
    Mary Beth likes this.

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