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Analysis: I Just Fall In Love Again

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
The oboe (complemented by keyboards) which begins the song (from 0 to 14s) has its counterpart with the ensuing flute (begin at 1:11 to 1:24s).
What is that beautiful instrument coming in at 40 sec ? Strings are subdued in most of the first half.
There is a modulation, a progression, of the flute (1:27-1:39) to a modulated counterpart of the strings (1:40-1:47).
Full string ensemble really begins after 1:47.
In any event, there is a lot going on, arrangement-wise, in this song. Lots to grab hold of.
The guitar break is divine (2:27-2:55). The drums are tasteful without being intrusive. Same with choir (after 2:55).
The repeat of "... can't help myself I fall in love with you..." (3:20 then, 3:28) is a fitting conclusion to the song.

I feel that this arrangement is one of the best I have ever encountered in a pop song.
At 40s....are you talking about the wind chimes?
 

David A

Well-Known Member
Anne Mulrray's version


Carpenters RPO version

The "chill factor" as far as vocalizations is not in question...It is hands-down Karen Carpenter, arrangements aside. Not a big fan of the long and drawn-out intro on the RPO version, but still superior.

Thanks for posting both versions of the song.

After listening to both, I would say that Anne Murray's version is nice, if a bit "austere", especially emotionally. Anne has a pleasant voice but for me conveys little emotion.

Karen, on the other hand, well...need I say it? :wink:

Edit to add: Interesting that the song-writer considers the Carpenters version the definitive one, even though Anne had the hit with the song.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Thanks for posting both versions of the song.

After listening to both, I would say that Anne Murray's version is nice, if a bit "austere", especially emotionally. Anne has a pleasant voice but for me conveys little emotion.

Karen, on the other hand, well...need I say it? :wink:

Edit to add: Interesting that the song-writer considers the Carpenters version the definitive one, even though Anne had the hit with the song.

I really wish we had Jim Ed Norman's production with Karen's voice. Yeah, the key is an issue but that production is all that should be. Couple it with Karen's voice and it would have been a winner.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
So, I re-listened to Anne Murray, also.
Well, I hate to say it, but her vocals, which begins her version "dreamin, I must be dreamin'" (15 sec-19sec)
do not capture my attention-- whatsoever. Anne is almost flat in comparison to Karen's "dreamin, I must be dreamin..."

Karen's vocals are so superior to Anne's vocals that I really choose not to listen to Anne's version any longer than I need to
in order to offer a comparison.

P.S. I will never understand how Anne Murray had a "hit" with it !
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
Well, I hate to say it, but her vocals, which begins her version "dreamin, I must be dreamin'" (15 sec-19sec) do not capture my attention-- whatsoever. Anne is almost flat in comparison to Karen's "dreamin, I must be dreamin..."

I can’t tell you how much I agree with this. Her diction is awful: “dream-urn, I must be dream-urn”. I can’t listen past that first line and I don’t think I ever have in the past either.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
So, I re-listened to Anne Murray, also.
Well, I hate to say it, but her vocals, which begins her version "dreamin, I must be dreamin'" (15 sec-19sec)
do not capture my attention-- whatsoever. Anne is almost flat in comparison to Karen's "dreamin, I must be dreamin..."

Karen's vocals are so superior to Anne's vocals that I really choose not to listen to Anne's version any longer than I need to
in order to offer a comparison.

P.S. I will never understand how Anne Murray had a "hit" with it !
I don't really think it's fair to describe one version, or one singer's vocals, as "superior" or "inferior" to the other. Everything doesn't have to be a competition. The two versions are VERY different, and aimed at a different audience. The Carpenters arrangement is complex, ambitious, bombastic... a majestic anthem... and of course we, some of the most hardcore, fanatic Karen fans on the planet (otherwise, why would we hang out on this forum for years on end), appreciate her vocal prowess and ability to interpret a lyric...

But, that doesn't make the Anne Murray recording of the song "bad" or "inferior". Anne was essentially a country singer, and her simple arrangement, and straightforward performance, was designed to appeal to the country audience, and to country radio. And appeal it did, obviously, as it was a #1 hit on the country chart. Country music has always been very story driven, and in Anne's version, the lyrics are first and foremost (as beautiful as Karen's interpretation is, her performance is nearly overwhelmed by Richard's production). Kudos to Anne and her arranger, for coming up with something that worked for her, rather than trying to replicate the Carpenters arrangement that was already out there... your typical country fan would have heard those first few oboe notes, and quickly changed the radio station.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
To this day it’s head and shoulders above every other track on that collection for me - rescued from the muddy original thanks to the clean up of Karen’s lead, the removal of the reverb and the new orchestration. Without the reverb, Karen sounds like she’s just having a heartfelt conversation with you on the sofa. An absolute knockout.

I’ve just listened to the RPO version again through my sound system for the first time in a few months and am still blown away at how good a job Richard did on it. I stand by what I said last October: it’s the standout track on the album. Majestic...soaring...perfect really.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Actually, yes, it IS a competition, as it is the music BUSINESS.
Almost certainly Anne Murray had not even heard the Carpenters' version when she cut her version.
Let's face facts, very few people had heard Carpenters' version at that point in time.
Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that Anne recorded her interpretation and released it as a single,
for that decision showed that she, at the very least, knew what a great song it was.
But, I do not like the arrangement nor her vocals. But, hey, that's just me.

By the way, I ask again:
What's the beef against the Oboe ?
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Actually, yes, it IS a competition, as it is the music BUSINESS.

If it was a competition, Carpenters lost. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the artistic merits of one or the other, Anne had the big hit with it and in the minds of most, hers is the definitive version. We know Carpenters' version because, as @Murray said, we're über fans of Karen. Most likely know only Anne's.

By the way, I ask again:
What's the beef against the Oboe ?

IMHO, the issue is that the oboe sends whatever tune it's on straight to the elevator. Richard made a big deal of going for different sounds on so much of the record and being more forward-thinking. He then does a full-on retreat from edgy to elevator with this tune and the oboe is a big part of that. If any other singer were doing the vocal, I'd never go near it, honestly.

Ed
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
Regardless of what anyone thinks of the artistic merits of one or the other, Anne had the big hit with it and in the minds of most, hers is the definitive version.

The only reason most people will think of Anne’s as the definitive version is because she released it as a single and Carpenters didn’t. Her version topped Billboard’s Country and Adult Contemporary charts for three weeks and reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their version is buried on a moderately successful album that not many people are even aware of and made a surprise appearance on the RPO album. That reviewer who described the track as “jaw-droppingly stunning” when reviewing the RPO collection had obviously never even heard their version before and I’d bet that not many casual listeners had either. So in that sense it’s not really fair to compare the two.

That doesn’t mean their version wouldn’t have been successful as a single, but to release a syrup-laden ballad running to over four minutes at that point in their career would probably have just added to the downward slide, no matter how beautiful it is. It’s a bit like the solo album fiasco: we’ll never know.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
This has been an interesting song to analyze !
I have enjoyed reading the various comments, even when I respectfully disagree
I can still appreciate everyone's heart-felt contribution.
I do hope no one believes I am attacking Anne Murray personally.
The bottom line, I suppose, is how we "feel" when we listen to the song.
My introduction to the song came back in 1977 when I listened to the entire Passage LP.
It simply blew me away and I have never gotten over that first "feeling." It fit-in with the album beautifully (imho).
I am glad the song found its way to the RPO project, even if the 1977 incarnation remains my favorite.
 

Jarred

Your resident analyst right around the corner.
I never really got the beef with the grand-ness of the arrangement, I think it fits the magical feel of the lyrics perfectly. I think maybe it’s that this is a vocal from Karen that doesn’t undermine the optimism of the surface. For instance a song like “Sing” is joyful and cheery musically, but Karen’s vocal is desolate and tells a very different emotional story. Here I get the sense that she’s narrating the song and she feels genuine optimism, which isn’t the standard Karen style.

Someone commented on here some years ago that “The inherent emotional dimension to her voice itself often superceded and betrayed the lyric she was singing, and few singers can claim to have a voice as effective as that” and this is the quality that I feel makes her such a fascinating vocalist.

On a recent “For the Girls” podcast, some quotes from the hosts here:

She’s ethereal, there’s an overview perspective on her music, that she’s almost viewing it from on top, and telling us secret truths.”
••
What is going on beyond singing here? There’s a hidden knowledge and also an empathy for seemingly everyone that I feel like goes unreciprocated...”
••
She loves us, she loves humanity, and yet she is not truly loved. If she had been things would have gone differently.”
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Anne Murray pronounces it with the informal "dream-un" (no r in the latter syllable). It's kind of a countrified affectation.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
Anne Murray pronounces it with the informal "dream-un" (no r in the latter syllable). It's kind of a countrified affectation.

The “r“ in the word “urn” (which is just the word I chose because that’s what my ears hear phonetically) doesn’t have a pronounced sound in British English the way it would when said with an American accent.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Karen Carpenter (imho) also has the best interpretation of When I Fall In Love,
here again one can make comparisons to the vocal styles of Anne Murray or Celine Dion,
as they give us their interpretation:
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Karen Carpenter (imho) also has the best interpretation of When I Fall In Love,
here again one can make comparisons to the vocal styles of Anne Murray or Celine Dion,
as they give us their interpretation:

Anne Murray has a perfectly fine voice but when Celine Dion came out singing the chills shot up my back. Celine is in that upper echelon of female singers, the same plateau Karen is at.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Anne Murray has a perfectly fine voice but when Celine Dion came out singing the chills shot up my back. Celine is in that upper echelon of female singers, the same plateau Karen is at.
I like Celine, but I don't know much about her songs. Anyone know which ones she sings in a lower register?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
I like Celine, but I don't know much about her songs. Anyone know which ones she sings in a lower register?

This is one of my favourites and the verses feature her lower register nicely in parts. There aren't many songs where she hovers in that register for long because she knows that's not where her strength lies. The second clip features her rehearsing and recording the song in the studio and they briefly talk about her lower range at 1:39.


 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I've never understood the seeming adulation that Celine Dion gets. Maybe its me, but I find her voice and vocal techniques grating. But, I won't comment further. Carry on...
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
It comes down to taste, doesn’t it? Different ears are going to hear things differently and different heads are going to process things differently.

I like the bulk of Carpenters’ product in one way or another, but I don’t love everything.

In most moods, I prefer Anne Murray’s arrangement to Carpenters’ on ‘I Just Fall in Love Again’. For me, Anne’s vocal performance is considerably better than Karen’s, as well - or, should I say, is more pleasing to my ear. It’s a much more natural performance.

On the other hand, I like both Anne Murray’s and Carpenters’ version of ‘When I Fall In Love’. I like both arrangements and I do really like Karen’s vocal on that one - and Anne’s.
 
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