• The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available. Use this link to order, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 19 20.2%
  • ****

    Votes: 31 33.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 35 37.2%
  • **

    Votes: 7 7.4%
  • *

    Votes: 2 2.1%

  • Total voters
    94

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Firstly, it made sense to include Now, You're Enough, At The End of A Song and Look To Your Dreams.
The later song "closes" the album and is a great song in its own right.
The other three were some of the very "last" tracks Karen recorded, so that makes good "sense" for inclusion.
Ordinary Fool is a fantastic vocal, so you can not ignore its inclusion.
Sailing On The Tide was virtually complete and is a full-on Carpenters' "background harmony" song,
so it deserves its place.
Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore and Two Lives are also relatively "recent" recordings (as of early 1983),
being work-leads from Made In America, two excellent offerings.
Make believe It's Your First Time was probably a gift to fans for its resemblance to the solo.
Really, only Prime Time Love can truly be called an "outtake."
I may not care for chorales, but on this particular album, it fits.
The choral parts add a bit of "ethereal-ness" to the collection, for good reason.
So, as an album, as a collection, as a TRIBUTE--
a fine offering. Oh, as a #6 in UK, someone liked it.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Just thoughts - with no evidence at all:

Were the songs on VOICE OF THE HEART more easily put together during the year of grief that Richard was obviously going through? Conversely, were the songs on LOVELINES more intricately difficult to finish off, so he held off on putting them together? Were the songs for the telemovie thought of in advance to be saved for that occasion?

Was VOICE OF THE HEART put together for some attempt at a thematic style for a singular album? LOVELINES certainly "hangs together" as an album.
In one of the liner notes about “Slow Dance”, apparently strings and flute were recorded for it in 1983, so “Slow Dance” might’ve been considered for VOTH, but it was saved for 1987’s Treasures where it was released as a 45 for the album. And of course Honolulu City Lights was released on the 1985 “Anthology”, so could HCL have been worked on for VOTH but not completed until 84/85?

But as I’ve said in the past, I can hear Prime Time Love being a single, and it really goes well with Your Baby Doesn’t Love You Anymore. And, really, VOTH is easily a lot better than MIA. For some reason with MIA, Karen and Richard left the best tracks in the vault (aside from Beechwood, WYBIMLA & TMWWD), but those tracks served for some of their best albums, up there with Passage, N&T, ASFY and TTR.

But with VOTH, and I have to agree with GrantGuerrero (Voice of the Heart (1983)) that Richard chose well. VOTH is bright & optimistic, whereas “Lovelines” (which should’ve been MIA) contains tracks that are dark, melancholy and are depressing. Richard was providing a “Celebration of Life” for Karen to the public on disc.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
But with VOTH, and I have to agree with GrantGuerrero (Voice of the Heart (1983)) that Richard chose well. VOTH is bright & optimistic, whereas “Lovelines” (which should’ve been MIA) contains tracks that are dark, melancholy and are depressing.
“Bright” and “optimistic” are not words I’d ever use to describe VOTH. There are four songs on it that are what I’d consider depressing ballads about lost or unrequited love:

Two Lives
At The End Of A Song
Ordinary Fool
Your Baby Doesn’t Love You Any More


The Lovelines album contains three such songs:

Where Do I Go From Here
The Uninvited Guest
Little Girl Blue


What differentiates the two albums however is the arrangements - and therefore overall feel - of the material. VOTH is far too heavy on syrupy choirs and orchestration, whereas Lovelines positively sparkles, helped immeasurably by the inclusion of the solo tracks (even on the ‘lost love’ songs) and there is hardly a choir in sight. The eight Carpenters tracks on Lovelines were readily available in 1983 and Richard could have included some of them, but I’d hazard a guess that they would have suffered the same treatment as the VOTH tracks, because of the grief he was going through at the time. By 1989, you can feel from the arrangements on Lovelines that the gloom has lifted.
 
Last edited:

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Totally agree ! With your observations, you show WHY the two albums are inherently DIFFERENT.
Now, I really LOVE Lovelines album, but do not believe for a moment that it would have been released that way if released in 1983 !
The choir fits well with Look To yOur Dreams and At The End of A Song (and those two songs would not have fit Lovelines album).
So, for their respective PURPOSES, at their respective TIME, the albums are great products emphasizing different things.
How do we "split" the albums VOH and Lovelines up ? That is, switching certain songs on those albums to create
two different albums altogether for release in 1983 and 1989, respectively ? It would not work. They are fine AS IS.
Remember, too, Lovelines has arrangements by others besides Richard Carpenter (Phil Ramone and Peter Knight).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Remember, too, Lovelines has arrangements by others besides Richard Carpenter (Phil Ramone and Peter Knight).
Even Made In America has arrangements and orchestrations by people other thanRichard. Paul Risers did “I Believe You”, and Peter Knight orchestrated “Because We Are In Love” and “Somebody’s Been Lying”.

And on VOTH, Peter Knight arranged “Look To Your Dreams”.

And @newvillefan, with VOTH it’s bright and optimistic since even with songs that are about depressing situations, they are done in a bright and optimistic way, making it feel like you are in the middle of a field on a bright and sunny day. Sure you may be depressed, but the sun will come out again.

With Lovelines, the depressing songs feel like you are hearing them when you are walking through a very dark woods on an overcast day.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
How do we "split" the albums VOH and Lovelines up ? That is, switching certain songs on those albums to create
two different albums altogether for release in 1983 and 1989, respectively ? It would not work.
Very true, and I hadn't considered that before. They are two different albums, released at different times in his life. As you also mention above, one is a dedication and the other is a celebration. Together, they almost stand as a testimony to how Richard's state of mind changed over that period of time, from sad reflection to commemoration.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Arrangements on Lovelines:
Peter Knight arranged and orchestrated: Little Girl Blue, When I Fall In Love.
Rod Temperton: Lovelines, If We Try.
Bob James: Remember When Loving Took All Night
RT and Bob James: If I Had You.
Richard Carpenter: You're The One
and Where Do I Go From Here (both for the CBS-Movie)
The Uninvited Guest, Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night (
both 1980 MIA outtakes).
Honolulu City Lights, Slow Dance (both 1978 Outtakes).

If counting, that is arrangements: 50 % Richard and 50 % others.
None of the songs were written/composed by Richard.


Arrangements Voice Of The Heart:
Richard Carpenter on ALL except Look To Your Dreams (arr: Peter Knight).
All songs produced by Richard Carpenter.
Three Carpenter/ Bettis compositions: You're Enough, At The End Of A Song, Look To Your Dreams.


The differences between the albums should make it clear Why they were "designed" the way they were.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
That is, switching certain songs on those albums to create
two different albums altogether for release in 1983 and 1989, respectively ?
This is kind of my point. There needn't have been "two" albums, per se. Had Richard left Karen's solo album stuff on Karen's solo album and created a 1983 release that was the best of VOTH and LOVELINES, I think it would have been a stronger contender for sales and charting. To be more specific, a lot of the "choir-heavy" VOTH tunes could have been relegated to those stray releases on future compilations or on As Time Goes By...which could have also been a stronger album with left over VOTH tracks rather than with the made-for-TV "filler." Knowing now what was in the vaults in '83, the first posthumous release (whether "celebration" or "tribute") could have looked something like this (or some variation of):

1. Now (Richard was going to include this no matter what);
2. Where Do I Go From Here;
3. Slow Dance;
4. Ordinary Fool;
5: Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night;
6. Two Lives;
7. You're The One;
8. Uninvited Guest;
9. You're Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore;
10. Honolulu City Lights;
11. At the End of A Song;
12. Look to Your Dreams

This would leave "in the vault" songs like: Sailing on the Tide, Prime Time Love (and I agree with Tomswift2002 in his admiration of this song), You're Enough; and Make Believe it's Your First Time; When I Fall In Love; Little Girl Blue; Rainbow Connection; and Leave Yesterday Behind...along with the re-discovered Tryin' to Get The Feeling Again..for inclusion on a future release
(as in As Time Goes By)
"just in case" there would ever be a future release. Nowhere Man and California Dreaming could fill this list out for a complete album sans all the made-for-TV songs. Keep in mind, "at the time" no one knew for sure if there would be another album after VOTH.

Then there is Karen's Solo release, which would have been all Karen, new to fans (except for maybe two or three songs sampled on From The Top/Essential Collection to "wet the appetite"). Thus leaving us with just THREE "studio" posthumous releases (VOTH, Karen Solo, and As Time Goes By) instead of four. Somehow, the way it's been done, we ended up buying FOUR studio posthumous releases with a lot of the same material purchased as much as three times (If I Had You)!

I know this is all Monday-morning quarterbacking, but I've thought of this a lot over the years and, at marveled at how the record company got us to buy FOUR mediocre albums instead of just three great albums?

Let the beatings begin!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
This is kind of my point. There needn't have been "two" albums, per se. Had Richard left Karen's solo album stuff on Karen's solo album and created a 1983 release that was the best of VOTH and LOVELINES, I think it would have been a stronger contender for sales and charting. To be more specific, a lot of the "choir-heavy" VOTH tunes could have been relegated to those stray releases on future compilations or on As Time Goes By...which could have also been a stronger album with left over VOTH tracks rather than with the made-for-TV "filler." Knowing now what was in the vaults in '83, the first posthumous release (whether "celebration" or "tribute") could have looked something like this (or some variation of):

1. Now (Richard was going to include this no matter what);
2. Where Do I Go From Here;
3. Slow Dance;
4. Ordinary Fool;
5: Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night;
6. Two Lives;
7. You're The One;
8. Uninvited Guest;
9. You're Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore;
10. Honolulu City Lights;
11. At the End of A Song;
12. Look to Your Dreams

This would leave "in the vault" songs like: Sailing on the Tide, Prime Time Love (and I agree with Tomswift2002 in his admiration of this song), You're Enough; and Make Believe it's Your First Time; When I Fall In Love; Little Girl Blue; Rainbow Connection; and Leave Yesterday Behind...along with the re-discovered Tryin' to Get The Feeling Again..for inclusion on a future release
(as in As Time Goes By)
"just in case" there would ever be a future release. Nowhere Man and California Dreaming could fill this list out for a complete album sans all the made-for-TV songs. Keep in mind, "at the time" no one knew for sure if there would be another album after VOTH.

Then there is Karen's Solo release, which would have been all Karen, new to fans (except for maybe two or three songs sampled on From The Top/Essential Collection to "wet the appetite"). Thus leaving us with just THREE "studio" posthumous releases (VOTH, Karen Solo, and As Time Goes By) instead of four. Somehow, the way it's been done, we ended up buying FOUR studio posthumous releases with a lot of the same material purchased as much as three times (If I Had You)!

I know this is all Monday-morning quarterbacking, but I've thought of this a lot over the years and, at marveled at how the record company got us to buy FOUR mediocre albums instead of just three great albums?

Let the beatings begin!
I would disagree with leaving Karen’s solo stuff off of “Lovelines”. Really 50% of “Lovelines” contained tracks from other albums, not just the solo album. That’s why it’s curious that Richard did not include “Tryong To Get The Feeling” or even a stereoized version of “Looking For Love” (with maybe some added strings and a few other instruments to create a stereo sound) on “As Time Goes By”. As I said previously Richard pulled Honolulu and “Slow Dance” from compilations and made “Lovelines” their studio album home.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
That’s why it’s curious that Richard did not include “Tryong To Get The Feeling” or even a stereoized version of “Looking For Love” (with maybe some added strings and a few other instruments to create a stereo sound) on “As Time Goes By”. As I said previously Richard pulled Honolulu and “Slow Dance” from compilations and made “Lovelines” their studio album home.
I think the reason he included Honolulu City Lights and Slow Dance on "Lovelines" as legitimate "unreleased" recordings, is that they were unreleased in the USA (and internationally) at the time, having only been issued in Japan. Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again was already released in the UK, USA and worldwide on "Interpretations", so I don't think there was a strong enough case for putting it out again on ATGB (although that's never stopped him before!).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I think the reason he included Honolulu City Lights and Slow Dance on "Lovelines" as legitimate "unreleased" recordings, is that they were unreleased in the USA (and internationally) at the time, having only been issued in Japan. Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again was already released in the UK, USA and worldwide on "Interpretations", so I don't think there was a strong enough case for putting it out again on ATGB (although that's never stopped him before!).
Honolulu was released in the US in 1986 so it was already out. Yeah it had no album, but it was like “I Believe You” 10 years earlier. (Actually, “I Believe You”’s first album was a comp album in Asia before it hit MIA.). Of course by 94, the Singles market in the US for consumers was dead or more of a niche market, so comp albums were taking that spot.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
It’s amazing for an album that fans don’t care for much has garnered over 700 replies and yet Offering/Ticket to Ride has barely 200 posts. Made in America over 1000. :laugh:

What does this show? 🤔
THAT's what I'm talkin' about! Thank you for quantifying it!

So many fans seem to want to "fix" what they perceive as wrongs, that we end up with these speculations and "what-ifs". The songs are all out there. We have the technology to make our own albums. But, if doing these exercises is what floats your boat, then by all means continue. It wont change what is and what was.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I will say this: regardless of what was released, I was going to purchase it, so--
for me--it makes no difference which songs were released in which order, so long as those songs got released !
It just would not have mattered to me, as I buy it if it is a new release of unheard-Carpenters' music.
I still believe VOH and Lovelines are great as they are.
Now, do I think each individual song is of "equal" creativity" ?
Not at all. For example, I do not much care for "Now" or "Slow Dance,"
but, I still want them there to listen to, when I am in the mood.
Trying To Get The Feeling Again was presumed discarded, so, it wasn't getting an earlier release until it was "located."
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Listening to this album--again--all at once (is there any other way to absorb an 'album' ? ),
reinforces a couple of things in my mind:
First:
At The End of A Song is an incredibly beautiful listen.
The lyric, the arrangement, the choir and the lead vocals complement each other nicely.
Second:
Now, is the weakest song on the album. The vocals are too whispery, too high.
Why Richard likes this song as much as he does, eludes me.
I really do not like this song. But, to each his own.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Stylistically, the phrasing is perfect and the lower and mid notes are still good. Even though the high notes sound yearnful, they are still on pitch. After hearing the last tour live, the Top of the World where Karen sounded winded, it’s a total turn around. Maybe he thought there was still hope?
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Now, is the weakest song on the album. The vocals are too whispery, too high.
Why Richard likes this song as much as he does, eludes me.
I really do not like this song. But, to each his own.
I'll volunteer to listen to "Now" for you. And I'll gladly take your share of the goosebumps it provides me.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^ I always feel very sad when I hear the song, Now.
This is the only recorded song among their entire catalogue that
unfortunately drives home Karen's health issues at that time (April 1982).
How to get goosebumps out of this performance eludes me.
But, I am glad you get those goosebumps !
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I don’t feel sad when listening to Now. I hear just another ballad Karen’s voice was made for. It’s not like she thought her life was going to end when she recorded it so why should I feel sad. I love the simplicity of the lyrics. The opening lines always get me....if it rains I won’t feel cold, I have your hand to hold, winds might blow but I don’t care, no harm in thunder if YOU are there. Wow...those lyrics speak of true love.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I always feel very sad when I hear the song, Now.
This is the only recorded song among their entire catalogue that
unfortunately drives home Karen's health issues at that time (April 1982).
I don’t feel sad when listening to Now. I hear just another ballad Karen’s voice was made for. It’s not like she thought her life was going to end when she recorded it so why should I feel sad. I love the simplicity of the lyrics. The opening lines always get me....if it rains I won’t feel cold, I have your hand to hold, winds might blow but I don’t care, no harm in thunder if YOU are there. Wow...those lyrics speak of true love.
Maybe if Karen hadn't died, Richard's instrumentation of this song wouldn't of ended up being so melancholy.
I don't think it's a sad song. But the arrangement might make one feel that way on the surface. Even "You're Enough" has an edge of melancholy to it, not so much from the vocal performance, but from the musical arrangement which was also completed after Karen passed.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It’s not like she thought her life was going to end when she recorded it so why should I feel sad.
True, but because we know Karen was singing it in the context of her failed marriage and unhappiness in her life (as we know from what she said in some of the Levenkron sessions), I can understand how some people hear a bittersweet sadness in the lyrics and her voice. I hear that when I listen to it.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I will clarify my view on the song Now. It is not that the lyric to the song is sad.
It is that I can not "suspend my disbelief."
As Richard has stated, Karen was in the worst physical condition he had seen her to that point in time (April 1982),
yet, he went ahead with recording the song anyway--despite her health at that time.
Her weak vocal lead on this song simply reinforces the gravity of her condition.
Anyone who claims that her lead vocals here are strong (or even close to being "in the basement" ) is simply delusional.
Her lead vocal here is airy, thin and too high.
Sad, sad, sad.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Her lead vocal here is airy, thin and too high.
Totally agree with this, as lovely as the song is. Someone over on the Steve Hoffman forums posted a reply on a thread about this song that I feel sums it up:

“Karen was in poor health at the time, and her voice no longer has the reserve of controlled power that the song is asking for. You can hear in Richard's arrangement where he wanted it to go, but Karen's vocal can no longer carry the song to that emotional level. It's clean, clear, and in tune, but just not very interesting”.

Is this a great vocal or weak vocal? (The Carpenters - Now)*
 

Kacfan

Active Member
Totally agree with this, as lovely as the song is. Someone over on the Steve Hoffman forums posted a reply on a thread about this song that I feel sums it up:

“Karen was in poor health at the time, and her voice no longer has the reserve of controlled power that the song is asking for. You can hear in Richard's arrangement where he wanted it to go, but Karen's vocal can no longer carry the song to that emotional level. It's clean, clear, and in tune, but just not very interesting”.

Is this a great vocal or weak vocal? (The Carpenters - Now)*
I love “now”. I agree she sounds different. Instead of the earthy full chest voice, she sounds airy and clear. But because of this, and because of the lyrics, and because it was one of the final songs toward the end of her life, it always felt to me that Karen’s soul was starting to leave her body and moving upwards, and that she was heading to heaven.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Totally agree with this, as lovely as the song is. Someone over on the Steve Hoffman forums posted a reply on a thread about this song that I feel sums it up:

“Karen was in poor health at the time, and her voice no longer has the reserve of controlled power that the song is asking for. You can hear in Richard's arrangement where he wanted it to go, but Karen's vocal can no longer carry the song to that emotional level. It's clean, clear, and in tune, but just not very interesting”.

Is this a great vocal or weak vocal? (The Carpenters - Now)*
Considering how well she was able to perform on Your Enough from the same session, Karen seemed to have her vocal prowess. But had Karen lived and Now completed for their next album, she probably would’ve re-recorded her lead vocal and this one would’ve been abandoned.

But it’s a really weak song, It just doesn’t go anywhere and is nothing better than an album cut.
 
Top Bottom