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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 18 19.8%
  • ****

    Votes: 31 34.1%
  • ***

    Votes: 34 37.4%
  • **

    Votes: 7 7.7%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.1%

  • Total voters
    91

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Richard writes: "Karen asked John and I to write a cross between a standard and a show tune."
That song was requested 1974.
I think Look To Your Dreams is an incredible song for its time (1974).
The vocals by Karen, early 1978, are simply gorgeous.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
My point is this:
Richard and John were not in their regular milieu with this song, Look To Your Dreams.
So, for whatever that is worth, they did fine. I give them a pass as they were out of their 'pop' element, and they did fine with it.
Congratulations to them for trying something different.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Wow.! I think the lyrics are some of the most intelligent in the Carpenters canon! Amazing how we all hear different things. Karen sings them with such meaning. It's one of the songs she does where you REALLY pay attention to the words. The opening phrase is so well written and sophisticated. I agree with Harry that it's intentionally old-fashioned. Kind of a throwback to the '40s, when lyrics were superior to what came after it.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Look To Your Dreams:
How many composer/lyricist teams can come up with..."a cross between a standard and a show tune" !
I would like to see and hear a comparable song, by a pop artist, that comes close to what they (Richard, John and Karen) achieved.
Peter Knight's arrangement is great, also.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
Richard was such a throwback to those days in many ways, that I'm sure he intentionally wanted to structure "Look To Your Dreams" that way. So the old-fashioned lyrics from John Bettis fit perfectly there.
Karen just sings it so fluidly and gives feeling to those lines and binds them.
Her voice has no apologies to make at all. She sounds great on it.
Congratulations to them for trying something different.
On a really un-cohesive collection of tracks, "Look To Your Dreams" really makes it end well. I don't think it would of worked on any other album, including Lovelines. I think it found it's home on Voice Of The Heart, along with all the other misfit tracks we have been lucky enough to have all these years..........
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
One thing is for sure....
You can hear the smile on Karen’s face as she’s singing this song. The initial word in 1983 from Richard was that ‘Now’ was one of Karen’s finest performances ever. But when my college fraternity roommate heard the album, he said, ‘That last song is better than all of them. You sure he didn’t mean that one?’
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I just heard both versions of Make Believe back to back for the first time in a while, and again, I’m certainly in a small minority that largely prefers the C’s version! Something about Karen’s vocal on the solo cut sounds affected. Not just that it’s breathy but how she uses it to phrase words without much strength.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I just heard both versions of Make Believe back to back for the first time in a while, and again, I’m certainly in a small minority that largely prefers the C’s version! Something about Karen’s vocal on the solo cut sounds affected. Not just that it’s breathy but how she uses it to phrase words without much strength.
I prefer the album cut too. I love the background instrumentation in the choruses. I’d love to know Karen’s reaction when Richard proposed they re-record it.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Especially after listening to Bobby Vinton's terrible single (1979), I am convinced that MBIYFT
is simply not a very good song.
Unfortunately, the 1983 version--while sung beautifully by Karen--is too elevator-ish for my tastes
(as is Vinton's version).
The solo version is sparse in arrangement, which really calls for a sparse vocal, which is just how Karen delivered it--
and, that made it the best version to my ears (she neither belted nor whispered it, she hit it just right).
She did sing the Carpenters' version beautifully (the new bridge is in a higher key), but the overall arrangement (choir) destroys the effort.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I prefer the album cut too. I love the background instrumentation in the choruses. I’d love to know Karen’s reaction when Richard proposed they re-record it.
I’m hooked from the early (electric?) flute and keyboard wrapping around her voice. So warm and wistful. I get the hate for the choir and the song would benefit without it, but it never takes me out of the song. Her richer vocal holds me enough that the flaws don’t bother me. She’s trying to sound too much like Olivia on the solo version. She didn’t need to be a lesser-tiered vocalist (I mean, come on it’s true). She just needed to be Karen.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
"Feature Picks, October 15, 1983, Radio and Records Magazine:
CARPENTERS (A&M AM-2585)
Make Believe It’s Your First Time (4:05)
(Music City Music, Inc. — ASCAP) (Bob Morrison and Johnny Wilson) (Producer: Richard Carpenter)
The first Carpenters single since Karen’s tragic death related to anorexia nervosa shows a return to the duo’s early hit period
of soft romanticism. Richard Carpenter’s immaculate production always brought out his sister’s crystal vocal clarity and this is
no exception. An intimate flute and piano opening leads the way into the bailed, with strings, steel guitar, harp and background
vocals filling out Karen's beautiful, haunting soprano
."
R&R October 22, 1983:
VOICE OF THE HEART, The Carpenters , Producer: Richard Carpenter
Completed before Karen Carpenter’s death earlier this year, this LP will probably be the last and most remembered collection of new songs by the brother and sister duo. One cannot help feel sad about the void she has left, but the songs featured on this LP are some of the best the duo has recorded in some time and the uplifting messages in their lyrics demand that “Voice of the Heart” be taken as a message of happiness and
optimism. This is a fond farewell from a great singer who will be long appreciated for her inspirational and strong love for the music she sang. Recommended cuts Include the single, "Make Believe It’s Your First Time,” the nostalgic “At The End Of Song” and the escapist
Sailing On The Tide.”
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
This is a fond farewell from a great singer who will be long appreciated for her inspirational and strong love for the music she sang.
I’ve read this review before and this line always chokes me up. You can’t help wondering what Karen would have thought reading this touching tribute to her talent. It’s such a shame that they only achieved lasting recognition after her death and that she missed out on enjoying the accolades.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I’ve read this review before and this line always chokes me up. You can’t help wondering what Karen would have thought reading this touching tribute to her talent. It’s such a shame that they only achieved lasting recognition after her death and that she missed out on enjoying the accolades.
A quote that always gets to me is from a review of her solo album which states something like “this a collection of music from a woman who was never allowed (any more than) a vacation from her own image.” There’s so much tied up in that sentence.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I’m hooked from the early (electric?) flute and keyboard wrapping around her voice. So warm and wistful. I get the hate for the choir and the song would benefit without it, but it never takes me out of the song. Her richer vocal holds me enough that the flaws don’t bother me. She’s trying to sound too much like Olivia on the solo version. She didn’t need to be a lesser-tiered vocalist (I mean, come on it’s true). She just needed to be Karen.
Karen is singing higher, but not uncomfortably. How she holds the note at the end, on "mine" is really beautiful. I like both versions, in the Carpenters version, the bridge is beautiful. The solo version, I really think she sounds exactly the way she should for that production. It's beautiful in the simplicity of the production. (OMG, I used the word beautiful-now four times in this post!) It's actually one of my favorite KC vocals. I really can't imagine Olivia's voice on this song, this is Karen doing Karen, IMO.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
EXACTLY! 👍👍
Karen all the way in both versions. That last ‘mine’ on the solo version is just spectacular. It’s total perfection and she’s completely in control of her instrument.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Karen is singing higher, but not uncomfortably. How she holds the note at the end, on "mine" is really beautiful. I like both versions, in the Carpenters version, the bridge is beautiful. The solo version, I really think she sounds exactly the way she should for that production. It's beautiful in the simplicity of the production. (OMG, I used the word beautiful-now four times in this post!) It's actually one of my favorite KC vocals. I really can't imagine Olivia's voice on this song, this is Karen doing Karen, IMO.
It’s higher without much resonance, though. For instance that “mine” is held well but it still sounds too airy and thin, like her breath control is about to give out on her shortly. It’s the way she uses her voice that sounds like she’s imitating ONJ. I’m not saying that only Richard out of everyone on earth would know how to utilize her voice, but she wasn’t finding a new facet of strength with people like Phil Ramone and Bob James. She would have found other solo arrangers/producers who could have her try something different from the C’s but still draw out the singular qualities of her voice.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
It’s higher without much resonance, though. For instance that “mine” is held well but it still sounds too airy and thin, like her breath control is about to give out on her shortly. It’s the way she uses her voice that sounds like she’s imitating ONJ. I’m not saying that only Richard out of everyone on earth would know how to utilize her voice, but she wasn’t finding a new facet of strength with people like Phil Ramone and Bob James. She would have found other solo arrangers/producers who could have her try something different from the C’s but still draw out the singular qualities of her voice.
I couldn’t disagree more! That last note is PROOF of Karen’s amazing breath control. She’s singing that way by choice and it works beautifully.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I couldn’t disagree more! That last note is PROOF of Karen’s amazing breath control. She’s singing that way by choice and it works beautifully.
That’s what I was was getting at. She is holding it well but it’s not with much technical richness, it’s too thin and airy. Had she used more of her lower range on this song and that note (out of nowhere) it would stick with me better because of the resonance of that register.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I was just wondering tonight, if Make Believe It's Your First Time was re-recorded in 1980 for possible inclusion in Music, Music, Music. Sure in some places like The Essential Colllection, Richard mentions that it was an outtake from Made In America. But what if he was remembering wrongly and it was an outtake from MMM. I was just thinking of how closely MMM started pre-production to the finishing of Karen's solo album. As has been said here, Lovelines the song & a few others were recorded in January 1980. So the solo album was finished in January/February 1980. But in the liner notes to The Essential Collection, Richard says that Karen's parts for the Karen/Ella Medley were recorded on March 2, 1980; Karen's 30th birthday. The TEC has the Karen/Ella Medley, the 1980 Hits Medley and Make Believe It's Your First Time having been recorded in that order in 1980. Depending on when the Solo album was shelved, could Karen have maybe requested that one of the solo tracks be featured on the special, as a promotional thing, and MBIYFT was chosen because It was the one that would work the best with the rest of the music in MMM. Hence why the arrangement called for a lush arrangement vs the solo album's arrangment. And when the solo album was rejected and shelved, then that was when MGIYFT was reject for MMM and MIA as well.
 
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