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Karen's Solo album

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by goodjeans, Mar 26, 2008.

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  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Contrived, or not, I love the song ! Still In Love With You.
    Now, take Guess I Just Lost My Head....it bores me to tears !
    goodjeans likes this.
  2. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    You’ll change your mind one day. We all do rotate around, sometimes! It’s the vocal treatment on a simple song that’s catchy. Plus, I love how Karen sounds when she says “won’t you tell me you forgive me”. It’s not a usual point of view from a woman. Usually it’s the guy that’s asking the woman for forgiveness.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That’s because it was written by Rob Mounsey, who had thought a male would go on to record it :wink:
    David A likes this.
  4. I Loved the Barbra & Donna duet "No More Tears/Enough Is Enough", Though I haven't listened to it in years, I have the 12" record in my Barbra collection....
  5. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I have to say, I'd say pretty much the opposite. 'Guess I Just Lost My Head' was one of the biggest treats on my first listen to the full solo album in 1997. It's such a delightful, playful reading, quite unlike anything else she ever recorded. Although it contains that strangely prophetic lyric 'you're gonna ruin this poor girl from out of town' - one wonders if Rob Mounsey had heard some of the politics that had been going on in the background while the album was being recorded.

    'Still in Love with You' has some nice backing vocals later on in the track but, along with 'Making Love in the Afternoon', it's one of two tracks on the album that I'd have happily ditched from the final tracklist. 'Don't Try to Win Me Back Again' would have been a better choice and would have fit in well in 'Still in Love With You's' place in the running order.
  6. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I was just listening to this album this afternoon. The stand out tracks were Remember When Loving Took All Night, Making Love In The Afternoon, Guess I Just Lost My Head, If I Had You, Lovelines and Last One Singing The Blues. Unfortunately Make Believe It's Your First Time and If We Try were the two duds of the album, and could've easily have been replaced with Jimmy Mack and Love Making Love To You.
  7. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I'd say 'If We Try' is my favourite track on the album! 'Jimmy Mack', like the Carpenters' various remakes after 'Please Mr Postman', was ill-judged and was rightly left off the final tracklist. It's one of the few solo tracks where the 'she's singing too high' criticism actually has some validity.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Gee, I really like...might even love...
    If We Try
    The instrumental break, for example, is great !
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    For me the absolute dud among the set is All Because Of You. What possessed Karen to sign that off for inclusion (hell, even recording!) is beyond me. It has no chorus, no hook, no point and goes nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where Herb, Jerry and Richard started to switch off during the playback session. After a respectable - if slightly disco-oriented opener - this just kills the mood off. If there wasn’t a better song to replace it, the next track in should have been If I Had You.
  10. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I can see why 'All Because of You' divides opinion as it's certainly is a different song for Karen and it has a drier vocal than we're accustomed to hearing from her, but for me, it's one of those cases where the experimentation really works. To put it in Carpenters terms, 'All Because of You' is a 'Bwana She No Home' to 'Still in Love with You's 'Man Smart, Woman Smarter' (although 'Still in Love with You' isn't *that* bad)!

    In fairness to it, it also doesn't conform to many of the criticisms levelled against the solo album - no suggestive lyrics, she's not singing too high, no 'stealing' of the Carpenters sound either.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    .....All Because Of You....
    another of my
    favorite solo songs !

    It is interesting how these solo songs evoke different responses from different fans !
    goodjeans and Jamesj75 like this.
  12. JayJayVA

    JayJayVA Active Member

    When she sings "I keep singin' muh luhhvee sawngs" --I cringe every time.:freak: I only like the end part where she crescendos on "yooooooooooOOOOOOUUUUU". All in all, she put a lot of work into the recordings, so glad we fans finally got to hear them, good or bad.
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Yep that kills it for me too, that’s when I skip forwards. I can imagine Russell Javors in the booth with her trying to give her more God-awful tips on how to pronounce the lyrics. It had the same result on the abominable Still In Love With You (another Russell Javors song).

    From an online article I read:

    Russell worked more with Karen than the other Billy Joel band members primarily for the fact that she recorded the songs he wrote and composed the arrangement for “Still In Love With You.” Javors commented that “Still In Love With You,” was not an easy one for Karen to sing; it was an attitude she had never explored before in a song. Javors said, “At one point I was in the vocal booth with Karen, and I lip-synched the lyrics while she was recording her vocal because she wanted to duplicate my phrasing”.

    The Making of Karen Carpenter Solo

    At that stage in her career, Karen didn’t need that level of microscopic vocal coaching. Even if it was at Karen’s request, I really think Phil did her a disservice allowing that to happen. The end result was awful.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  14. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Probably part of the attempt to "not sound like the Carpenters". Took me a while to warm up to that one, also. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the excessive polish on some Carpenters tracks bothers me almost as much (ref: "past-yoors" for "pastures" on "I've Got Rhythm"). Fortunately on 99.99% of her recordings she found a middle ground that made her the exemplary vocalist she's remembered for being. A handful of misses, meh...she tried something different. Points for that.
    ars nova likes this.
  15. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    This is a great point. The positioning of "All Because Of You" as the second track on Side One is truly problematic, throwing a damper on the proceedings before it had a chance to grow.
  16. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Problem for me is that I'm not very fond of the Temperton dance stuff, where she's barely audible, so to hear her out front on "All Because" was a step back in the right direction, even if the vocal seems a little unnatural after hearing her polished to the nth degree on nine original Carpenters albums.
  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    At first, I wasn't fond of ABOY. But as the years have gone on, I really like its simple intimacy. I even appreciate the "startling" effect it has following Lovelines. It's almost as if Karen wanted to say "This is NOT a Carpenters album!" And I'm ok with that. I love the solo disc for what it is- fresh, innovative, upbeat, and ultimately, a risk worth taking- but one where her voice shines in all genres.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As I have queried previously, is this the "line-up", the song-sequencing,
    that Karen ultimately approved ?
    Perhaps, these songs were sequenced based on someone else's opinion....
    just wondering aloud.....
  19. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Not to mention, but it is a very slow song. In fact Make Believe It's Your First Time (which is a very slow dance song) and If We Try are a lot slower and more downbeat than the other tracks on the album and really upset the tempo of the whole album. Had Jimmy Mack, Don't Try To Win Me Back and Keep My Lovelight Burning been included and finished, the album could've been promoted and probably would've been received as a Pop/Dance album.
  20. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    Love the line "Then I'm with you…." from All Because…

    so tender and personal
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I don’t think it needed All Because Of You to point out that this wasn’t a Carpenters album. The disco-flavoured, sensuous opening track would have laid that marker down right from the word go (however see my comment below about the end of the album, which is a different story).

    I have often wondered this myself. Given the liner notes by Phil Ramone, I’m sure Karen signed the running order off but I’ve always thought it very odd. Side two of the “LP” is the most bizarre. It opens with two songs back to back that both sound like they should have opened that side. Then comes a jarring disco number and then come no less than three* ballads in a row to finish off the album, leaving the listener perhaps wondering if this isn’t actually a mishmash of solo/Carpenters material after all. The last three tracks in particular feel oddly out of place, as if they were forgotten about during the sequencing and thrown onto the end in a panic.

    (*I didn’t include the bonus track in the above because it was never intended to be there in the first place).

    I’ve long been a champion of the solo album but after spending years relistening to and reappraising it in my head, the conclusions I have come to are that five ballads is too many and that the remaining six tracks are just too different to the ballads - and to each other - to allow for any kind of cohesive feel to develop on the album. (This is where Richard’s creative genius becomes self evident: he made her solo tracks sit better on Lovelines among Carpenters material than it ever could on this album). Don’t get me wrong, I adore a few of the songs on it, but listening to it end to end doesn’t make for a seamless experience. I get that Phil Ramone was ultimately trying to take Karen off into new pastures, but not when one field is a green meadow and the next is a muddy bog.

    Ultimately, when trying to come up with a better running order, you can only use what you’ve got, but the final one chosen does leave a lot to be desired, given this was an important step and venture for Karen. The running order, along with the entire art direction of the album, should have been designed to allow for maximum impact and it fails miserably in both departments. The art direction team in particular should have been called out for the mess they made with the original artwork on this album. Whether as a solo artist or part of a duo, Karen didn’t get the treatment she deserves as a major star of the A&M label.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  22. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I don't have a problem with the running order myself. 'Lovelines' is a perfect side opener (so apt in fact that was used to do the same job equally well on the Lovelines album). There is a bit of switching between tempos between songs, but that's quite usual on an album. If anything, it's better than putting similar tempo or sounding songs too close together - for instance, I've always felt 'Love Me for What I Am' gets lost in the running order on Horizon coming directly after the similar-sounding 'Goodbye and I Love You'. The Temperton-influenced tracks on the solo album couldn't all run together, so they had to be spaced out by different-sounding songs.

    Presuming that 'Remember When Lovin' would start Side 2 of the album (as again it did on Lovelines), that doesn't seem a bad way to mix and split up the tracks. I suppose I don't define 'ballad' in the same way ('Guess I Just Lost My Head' for instance I don't consider to be a ballad). There are some slower tracks on there, but 'Make Believe It's Your First Time' is the only real full-on ballad on the whole album, so they don't seem to dominate things.
  23. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Remember When Lovin, Lovelines, and the 2 Javor’s songs I always skip. I would have liked Love Makin Love To You, and Something's Missing in their place. This way, complaints could have been kept to a minimum with lyrics easier to swallow given they accompany such fantastic tunes. The above that I mention that I skip sound like a Loveboat reject concert to me and I feel that there is no one who loves Karen’s voice more than I do, but those 4 songs don’t do any favors. Listening to those 4 once was enough. But, to leave off the two of the best has always puzzled me. Some of the others would have been great but they are recorded extremely too high, It’s Really You, Jimmy Mac, and the others that remain unreleased are so high that it is hard to see that she even tested them. Maybe they just recorded everything they reviewed for further analysis. With all this said, that leaves 10 great songs. Some of those aren’t even in the best keys, but they are not weakened by the chosen keys. Those 10 songs would have not made any waves to Carpenters fans and would have been viewed like Frankie Vallie songs without the Four Seasons, and would have helped their image for it focused on Karen, which should have been done 2 years prior, and they are stylistic different enough while still complimenting the Carpenters selections. It also would have helped in a dimension marketing platform: still romantic songs, just delivered liberated chic style. (Liberated chic does not mean sexy chic, just one in which all women can relate, more of an adult woman like Mary Tyler Moore instead of Charo, an extension that began in Horizon). And then, that new image is reflected on Carpenters styles songs as Something In Your Eyes just around the corner.
    These 10 that I suggest focus on the light jazz style that focus on vocal styles and background layers complimentary to contemporary jazz efforts that remain in good taste and showcase all those who contributed.
    One funny thing to me: the Please Mr. Postman sounding song is My Body Keeps Changing My Mood with mood and overdubs equal to the main vocal line and with high energy intoxicating to repeat listening.
    I know,most won’t agree with me, but just imagine my chosen lineup without knowledge that there are others.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I'm listening, at this moment,
    All Because Of You.....

    Well, everyone has their own take on the song,
    But, for me, Karen's vocal "styling" is quite incredible.
    A simple arrangement, Karen's fantastic vocal nuances,
    for me, the song works.
    Jamesj75, Jeff and goodjeans like this.
  25. I really can not disagree with any of this. More "sensual" Karen in that light jazz style is what was needed for an album like this and for a singer like her. But thank you for your line above, "The above that I mention that I skip sound like a Loveboat reject concert." That was exactly my first thought when I heard "Lovelines." It was an instant dislike for me. She ripped off the Love Boat Theme (or that's what I thought). It's dated.
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