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Analysis: I Just Fall In Love Again

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
My take on the two "I Just Fall In Love Again" recordings (Anne Murray and Carpenters) is affected by my time working in radio. As Anne Murray's version was a hit record, I heard it often on our soft rock radio station. I had the station on in the background at work and the record was played quite often, and as such records tend to do, they burn themselves into one's brain.

Carpenters version only became known through PASSAGE as an album track - not from radio but my own plays of the album. It was always just a nice album track, but I forever and always heard Karen's "just over a cold" vocals on it. To me, it sounded like a remake of Anne's hit, which is the way I thought of it for years.

As time has progressed, Anne Murray's version of the song has faded into the rarely-played dustbin of history (here in the US, anyway - I'm sure it's a staple of Canadian radio to this day!). And through my participation on this forum, Carpenters version has had a lot more plays from me than Anne Murray's. As such, the PASSAGE version feels more comfortable, but even now, playing Anne's long-forgotten version, I get that "this is the hit version" feeling from listening to it. I probably haven't heard it in twenty years or more. But that old burned-in-the-brain feeling comes back with its play today.

Given the large number of times that Richard has placed the song on compilations tells me that he perhaps wishes that Carpenters take had been the hit and that it was a bit of a missed opportunity. Even with the RPO intro, he tweaked it to make it longer on the 2019 vinyl version.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
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.


Very nice! Thank you!
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
For me, nothing beats the wonderful piano background and the direct, warm, conversational delivery of Anne Murray on 'I Just Fall In Love Again'.
...
I love Anne Murray and this arrangement and Anne's "direct, warm, conversational delivery" here - but I''m thinking that your contention that "nothing beats" the arrangement and her vocal could be seriously challenged if - and only if - Karen had used this exact arrangement...
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
... Carpenters opens with that oboe that pretty much ends its chances of any possible radio play. Richard decided it was a trademark and it shouldn't have been. Peter Knight's strings are just too much. It's all very pretty but Karen should have been the focus, not swirling strings. As usual, Karen saves this for me like she does so many others. Her vocal is just gorgeous and it keeps my attention enough to make this listenable.

Richard throws everything he can think of at this. He's like a kinder, gentler Jim Steinman here. If he thought of it, it he threw it in - strings, choir, fuzz guitar solo a la "Goodbye To Love" - it's all here. The thing is just massive and Karen almost gets lost in it. Her considerable gifts as a singer ensure that she doesn't but the threat is ever-present throughout...

Ed
I say screw "radio play" - we're interested in musical art here and not charts - the use of the oboe (and flute) in Carpenter recordings was almost invariably tasteful and often lovely and was an inspired "trademark", one many features setting their music above and beyond the common herd - yes, Karen should have been the focus (always!) and the original recording was over-produced with just too much orchestration - her vocals should always have stood out prominently as the beauty of her voice deserved (and demanded) and they almost do get lost in the 2nd half of the recording - thank God the gorgeousness of her vocal and "her considerable gifts as a singer ensure she doesn't" - as I said elsewhere their arrangement for this should have been the Anne Murray arrangement, with maybe a little oboe & flute stategically worked in...
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
... Steve and I were invited to the sweetening session. It was an unusual sweetening session in that Richard was not the arranger. Instead Peter Knight had written an orchestration for the track. ...The arrangement was amazing and like a flower coming to full bloom, a large vocal choir now in a new key for the last chorus, added to the unfolding of its petals. From the first two notes of the song's creation I had envisioned the song as a "big" orchestral piece and this arrangement was more than I could have asked for....


A "big orchestral piece" yes, and best suited for a Broadway or Las Vegas show - but not ideal for those intimate lyrics on an LP for close listening in one's home in front of the fireplace with that special someone snuggled up and the Lab at one's feet...perhaps even Anne's arrangement would have been too heavy - maybe a treatment like the Solo Album's "Make Believe..."...



...I was still living in an apartment in Glendale, CA. I remember sitting in a laundromat, when barely audible through the sound of washing machines and dryers, I heard Karen's voice singing "I Just Fall In Love Again". I guess some radio station was playing it but it wasn't a single and that was the only time I ever heard the Carpenters recording of "I Just Fall In Love Again" on the radio. I thought to myself, "What's wrong with this picture. I'm sitting here in a laundromat and the Carpenters are singing my song on the radio".

One has to smile at the delicious irony here - I can't even imagine this - hearing Karen sing your song - anywhere...
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I love Anne Murray and this arrangement and Anne's "direct, warm, conversational delivery" here - but I''m thinking that your contention that "nothing beats" the arrangement and her vocal could be seriously challenged if - and only if - Karen had used this exact arrangement...

I love most recordings of Richard just playing piano, such as his TV performances, (not the ‘Warsaw Concerto’ type, but just Richard sitting at the piano), and I particularly like performances of just Karen and Richard with no other backing, so I probably would like Karen singing to Anne Murray’s arrangement. If she were responding to that arrangement, her vocals would probably be toned down a bit and would be softer, too..

I don’t dislike Carpenters’ version of ‘I Just Fall in Love Again’ at all. It’s just that the two versions are very different. Each brings something different.

Also, I have been a fan of Anne Murray since 1978, (I haven’t listened to her music much in the last ten years - neither Carpenters’, for that matter), so I already have an appreciation of her sound.

By the way, I have always liked Richard’s arrangements, on the whole..... and I love the oboe!!!!
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
the use of the oboe (and flute) in Carpenter recordings was almost invariably tasteful and often lovely and was an inspired "trademark", one many features setting their music above and beyond the common herd - yes, Karen should have been the focus (always!) and the original recording was over-produced with just too much orchestration - her vocals should always have stood out prominently as the beauty of her voice deserved (and demanded) and they almost do get lost in the 2nd half of the recording - thank God the gorgeousness of her vocal and "her considerable gifts as a singer ensure she doesn't" - as I said elsewhere their arrangement for this should have been the Anne Murray arrangement, with maybe a little oboe & flute stategically worked in...

Yes, the oboe is a real trademark in Carpenters’ recordings. I love that sound! I agree that it is used tastefully in their recordings.
 
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