Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
MIA is sub-par. Aside from Beechwood 4-5789, Touch Me When We're Dancing & (Want You) Back In My Life Again the rest of the MIA tracks should've been left in the vault. Seriously, the rest of the tracks were lifeless and really dated for the early-1980's. And Those Good Old Dreams really doesn't remind me of Top of the World.
Seriously, why were the best tracks of the sessions left in the vault? Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night, The Uninvited Guest, Prime Time Love, Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore & Honolulu City Lights feel more alive than I Believe You & Strength of a Woman.
You give "Want You Back" more credit than I do but I agree otherwise. "Want You" just feels like someone desperately trying to be current without really knowing how to be current. Richard might have had it had he not then bathed the tune in the elevator strings. They kill whatever "cool" he may have been going for. Even Karen's not good on it. She sounds utterly detached and that never happens. The incessant doubling doesn't help. Even "Touch Me", though it charted decently, is pretty "elevator", really. Those old-time strings really cheese it out. Were it not for that vocal arrangement and Karen's lead, I'd be fine without that one too.
"The Uninvited Guest" is cool were it not for the chorale. I really wish he'd just have done the stacking with another female singer. There are more than a few that could have done it. No, they aren't Karen but as I said earlier, they could have done a very good job and not sounded as dated "square" as the Chorale nearly always does. "Prime Time Love" is legit fun and it actually grooves. That vocal arrangement too is just so nailed. Richard alone in the stacking is highly listenable. He didn't overproduce that one at all and it's all the better for it. Same thing with "Baby" and the strings kinda work there too. Not everything needed strings and he nearly always used them.
"Good Old Dreams" is yet another tune that's redeemed only by the vocal arrangement. Such ear candy. That's the only thing about that tune that works. The rest is just entirely too sleepy and the lyric is all the kind of thing that no one should have been recording who had an eye on the Pop charts at that point. Maybe that would have been better aimed at the Country chart instead. The Country audience has always been more lyrically aware and it is a very sweet lyric. Still, though, it would likely have been just too much of an elevator tune for that too.
Of course, we'd said this lots of times already but there really was a very good album there or at least enough of one to make the whole experience better; they just didn't compile it.