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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 17 20.5%
  • ****

    Votes: 27 32.5%
  • ***

    Votes: 31 37.3%
  • **

    Votes: 7 8.4%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    83

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Voice of the Heart
Stereo Review Feb 1984


This article nails it better than any I’ve ever read. He’s more or less saying that even by 1983, they were miles out of step with whatever else was going on around them. That’s largely down to Richard and the material he chose for Karen from 1980 onwards. I honestly believe that had Karen lived, and they’d gone down this road throughout the 1980s, that they would have died a slow death as a successful commercial act. The decline had already begun anyway.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Yes, the above "Stereo Review" review of VOH
says it all: both the positives and the negatives regards the album-- and the duo !
That was an insightful review of the Album's strengths.
I do like to see Two Lives on someone's radar ! A great song.....
 

Kristopher

Active Member

Catalogue Number: A&M SP-4954
Date of Release: 10/17/83
Chart Position: U.S.: #46; U.K.: #6; JAPAN: #41
Album Singles: "Make Believe It's Your First Time"/"Look To Your Dreams"
"Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore"/"Sailing On The Tide"
Medium: Vinyl/Cassette/CD
Can a mod change this? I have two copies on 8-Track and that’s missing as one of the Mediums. Thanks
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
^^
It's heartbreaking to read this review above...even in death, Carpenters still got bad reviews. How in the world could a reviewer of an album say Karen was a unsensational pop singer? Questionable taste to release this album? I beg to differ, this album lifted my spirit and brought me closer to the Carpenters music. It was like hearing Karen again for the last time and the closure track from the album still fills me with hope and promise that Karen can still get me through the hardest times in my life that may be yet to come.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Yes, terrible review above, not to say it is also inaccurate.
"...many of these tracks were recorded in the last year of her life..."

We know of Now and You're Enough....in the "last year of her life."
But, of those not recorded in Karen's last year....
Ordinary Fool
Sailing On The Tide
Look To Your Dreams
Two Lives
Prime Time Love....

are all remarkably good songs,
with great vocals.
 

Song4uman

Well-Known Member
I have a copy from when it was first released and a copy from the box set. I found s sealed copy today at an antique mall. $4.50
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Voice of the Heart
Stereo Review Feb 1984


Although I do not agree with a couple of this critic's conclusions, I agree with most, and this is the type of review that actually helps people make informed buying decisions, as opposed to gratuitous slander (or over-the-top praise).

It's been quite a while since I listened to all of VoTH; can someone who has, comment on Karen singing with a "vibrato-less" voice? Karen has always had a mild, very pleasant vibrato, and I don't recall ever hearing a song where she chose to eliminate it.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The Stereo Review from 1984 (post #451) is closest to my own assessment:
"it's unlikely anyone will dismiss these songs as below the duo's pristine pop standards."

Now, let us take pause on that one line.
Richard Carpenter has since altered his view (substantially) upon these songs.
Many fans (not me !) consider the album to be subpar compared to earlier songs.

Eliminate the "personal" events surrounding the album (listen more objectively, if possible).
Listen to the "songs" without benefit of the (almost awful) choral parts.
Concentrate on Karen's (marvelous) readings and Richard's (sometimes great) arrangements.
Remember, too, Jerry Moss was responsible for the album's artwork/photos (quoting
from the book A&M, the first 25 years).

You're Enough, this song should be more widely disseminated !
As with, At The End Of A Song.

Very Good Album, I still say !
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Karen’s voice is mixed well on all of them. I do feel that she would have made a second solo album had she lived. There would have been both duo and solo recordings. At the time of her passing there were about 5 albums worth a material that was shelved. This is not the best of it all but there are more jewels than on Made In America. In fact, I like all the songs and really never skipped over any of them when I used to listen on vinyl. At The End Of A Song and Ordinary Fool are my favorites, with Two Lives and Your Baby Doesn’t Love Your Anymore as my next favorite set, then the others just fall in place pleasantly. If the choir could be eliminated, I would like the album better. I just think they were above Johnny Mathis style arrangements.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Voice of the Heart
Stereo Review March 1984



I find it interesting that they have two separate reviews a month apart for the same album in the same publication. The second review is so short and doesn't bother to critique any of the music and concerns itself mainly to take a few cheap shots at the "image" once again. I don't think the reviewer even bothered to listen to the album. His comments on Karen's vocal abilities are ignorantly comical.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
When the reviewer says "unsensational" could he possibly mean that her public life was not sensational in the dramatic, tabloid sense like so many other pop/rock stars? That her image was squeaky clean and that we never saw the dark truth until she passed?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
This is my LP for the day....as I listen once more.
My recollection is that WDBO-Orlando first played Ordinary Fool
while announcing the release of the album, and off I ran to the nearest "record" store.
The mall outlet (the furthest store) was well-stocked with the LP, and played it for in-store promo,
where (presumably) it sold well (affixed w/sticker "Best Seller").

In any event, I've never altered my view concerning this album,
then--as today--I very much like this album.
Ordinary Fool, who doesn't love those vocals ?
I suppose it is every bit as slow-tempo as Solitaire.
Look To Your Dreams, beautiful vocals, too.
Two Lives, a forgotten gem (at least, a relatively unknown gem).
I place Prime Time Love in the same category--a forgotten gem.
Sailing On The Tide--every bit as happy, and catchy, as Happy.
You're Enough
and At The End Of A Song are very good C/B ballads.

Easy to see I still am quite fond of this album.
Given its circumstances--the time-frame, given the speed with which it was completed,
given the number of true 'work-leads' appearing,
Richard Carpenter (imho) did quite well for his "tribute album." (his words).

 

New Horizons.

Active Member
well we all have our own tastes and I LOVE Ordinary fool and Now.Certainly not weak.I think a person needs life experience to appreciate certain lyrics looking back.As Karens legacy of supposedly last recorded vocal, the end line "I never really knew how until now" and the final 'Now' resonate.I love this album and play it far more than any of the early stuff.In fact anything before As song for you rarely gets played by me these days.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
Sad and sentimental. This one must of been hard for Richard to complete. The man lost his little sister, friend and partner in the Carpenters. And it's time for the show to go on........

The opening track "Now" has one of the saddest musical tracks, and sets the mood for this album. "Voice" is a sentimental favorite, but not a song favorite. This one seems the most disjointed of the posthumous releases. Two standouts for me are "Ordinary Fool" and "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore," which should of been a #1 AC single! I like "Make Believe It's Your First Time," but after I heard Karen's solo rendition, well this one just doesn't have the intimate swagger that the lyrics suggest. The cover shot is beautiful, but Karen looks so much older than she should at age 30. Her time was running out, but her beautiful voice lives on!
 

CarpentersToYou

What I feel has come and gone before...
I don't see how people consider the track "Now" sad. The lyrics are very happy and the song itself is uplifting.

I myself have always wondered if "Now" was really her actual last recording of if they just say it is because it seems more like a fitting last song. I try to listen to the album without thinking about it containing her last recordings. It certainly has more duds than any of their other studio albums, and it is amazing the Lovelines is as seamless as it is compared to this.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I don't see how people consider the track "Now" sad. The lyrics are very happy and the song itself is uplifting.
It's sad to me because I can't help but think about the context of her own life when I hear it. Yes the lyric is uplifting, but hearing Karen sing her heart out in what would become her last recording session - and knowing she would die shortly after this with a failed marriage and aborted solo venture having blighted her final years - makes me feel sad that she didn't experience the happy ending she sings about in the song. The lonely oboe (or is it a clarinet?) which opens the song and Karen's final wistful line which bookends it, just reinforce this bleakness for me.

I myself have always wondered if "Now" was really her actual last recording of if they just say it is because it seems more like a fitting last song.
I think Richard has confirmed on at least one occasion in liner notes that it was the last song she ever recorded.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I kind of hear these lyrics as Karen's embracing God's touch. Finally past all the pain and struggle. So, to me, its also hopeful although I can't escape that it's her last song.

Now, Now when it rains I don't feel cold
Now that I have your hand to hold
The winds might blow through me but I don't care
There's no harm in thunder if you are there

And now, now when we touch my feelings fly
Now when I'm smiling I know why
You light up my world like the morning sun
You're so deep within me, we're almost one
And now all the fears that I had start to fade
I was always afraid love might forget me, love might let me down
Then look who I found

The winds might blow through me but I don't care
There's no harm in thunder if you are there

And now, now, now when I wake, there's someone home
I'll never face the nights alone
You gave me the courage I need to win, to open my heart and to let you in
And I never really knew how, until now, until now

No, I never really knew how
Until now
 

CarpentersToYou

What I feel has come and gone before...
It's sad to me because I can't help but think about the context of


I think Richard has confirmed on at least one occasion in liner notes that it was the last song she ever recorded.
I am wondering if that is true. I am aware that that's what's written by Richard.

I avoid the song because the song itself makes me feel lonely LOL Like I have yet to find the one that Karen is singing about. So sad for different reasons. Guess I am saving it for a day I can listen to it and feel it.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
One thing that strikes me for the first time reading the above lyrics is the strange structure of the song. It goes verse, verse, chorus, bridge, verse. In other words, it ends on a verse, not a chorus the way songs usually do. That’s a very unorthodox structure for a song to have. It makes me think for the first time that the song itself - not just the recording - may have still been at demo stage. It almost reminds me of the half baked version of We’ve Only Just Begun that Richard heard in the TV commercial. He had to ask Paul Williams whether the rest of the song existed.

Another question about that bridge which was borrowed from the first verse (The winds might blow through me but I don't care/There's no harm in thunder if you are there): why didn’t Karen sing that herself?
 
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Mark-T

Well-Known Member
"Another question about that bridge which was borrowed from the first verse (The winds might blow through me but I don't care/There's no harm in thunder if you are there): why didn’t Karen sing that herself?"

What a GREAT question! Never thought of that.
 
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