• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

Reconstructing Made in America

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Maybe the narrator really can see an apparition, though. Maybe the guest is so clearly on her partners mind because her mystical presence is so close.
Sometimes I wonder if the singer is the husband’s second-wife. The song doesn’t say it, but what-if the “ghost” is the husband’s deceased-first-wife, and the second wife, the new wife, is jealous of the deceased-wife, and she “sees” her husband’s first wife when he maybe looks at old photos.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Sometimes I wonder if the singer is the husband’s second-wife. The song doesn’t say it, but what-if the “ghost” is the husband’s deceased-first-wife, and the second wife, the new wife, is jealous of the deceased-wife, and she “sees” her husband’s first wife when he maybe looks at old photos.
Oh yeah that was always my interpretation, a past wife or partner that “Karen” is competing with. Kind of like the movie “Rebecca”, the second wife haunted by the first.
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
Sometimes I wonder if the singer is the husband’s second-wife. The song doesn’t say it, but what-if the “ghost” is the husband’s deceased-first-wife, and the second wife, the new wife, is jealous of the deceased-wife, and she “sees” her husband’s first wife when he maybe looks at old photos.
What a beautiful interpretation. This had never crossed my mind. Thank you tomswift2002.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
That's the way I always thought of it when I first heard the song, that the husband's first wife was gone, but still on his mind.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
That's the way I always thought of it when I first heard the song, that the husband's first wife was gone, but still on his mind.
I thought he (the "husband") was a philandering SOB...mostly from the lines "like the old song Torn Between Two Lovers" and "what lies has she told you." And why doesn't everyone dislike this song because of the lyric like they do Strength of a Woman? Not much daylight between the two, in my opinion.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Oh ya !
Thank you for mentioning it, Geographer !
I thought about that also long ago !
And, yet, vocally, the strength in Karen's voice on the song Strength of a Woman
is worlds away from the whispering level she takes vocally with the Uninvited Guest !

On one song,
Karen sings: "Sometimes it takes the strength of a woman to understand the weakness of her man..."
On the other song,
Karen sings: "And, I'm running second best to the uninvited guest, and it's breaking my heart."

Also, look at the lyric of Somebody's Been Lying : "He's making fun of me and laughing at my dreams."

Needless to say, I like those three MIA songs.
They are very much more mature, vulnerable, vocal readings from Karen.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
^^Oh ya !
Thank you for mentioning it, Geographer !
I thought about that also long ago !
And, yet, vocally, the strength in Karen's voice on the song Strength of a Woman
is worlds away from the whispering level she takes vocally with the Uninvited Guest !

On one song,
Karen sings: "Sometimes it takes the strength of a woman to understand the weakness of her man..."
On the other song,
Karen sings: "And, I'm running second best to the uninvited guest, and it's breaking my heart."

Also, look at the lyric of Somebody's Been Lying : "He's making fun of me and laughing at my dreams."

Needless to say, I like those three MIA songs.
They are very much more mature, vulnerable, vocal readings from Karen.

Excellent points! No argument here.

And even with Somebody's been Lying, she occasionally drops to a lower register which is nice.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
In SOAW, Karen is saying that he’s weak and literally cheating and I have to put up with it, in TUG it’s more of an emotional tie he has for a first wife that’s probably dead (she’s a ghost). There’s more nuance in the latter. It’s probably my least favorite ballad on Lovelines but still a more compelling song than Strength (where I don’t hear the vocal strength Gary does, sadly). Her Olivia-styled hushed singing on much of the solo album and these 1980 songs is both likely because she didn’t have the physical strength (though her MMM recordings sound much richer), and that her feline-esque vocals would make her sound like a coy victim as the narrator. I guarantee the emotional effect would be vastly different if she sang these songs in 1971.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I thought he (the "husband") was a philandering SOB...mostly from the lines "like the old song Torn Between Two Lovers" and "what lies has she told you." And why doesn't everyone dislike this song because of the lyric like they do Strength of a Woman? Not much daylight between the two, in my opinion.
Maybe in life the first wife and second wife hated each other but both loved the man, but now that he’s a widow to the first wife, the second wife was hoping he would forget about her, (as the line goes “I should leave you, but it doesn’t make sense”) and the second wife is wondering if he’s maybe remembering things the first wife told him in private about the future second wife, that were maybe “lies”.

Strength of a Woman is nothing like The Uninvited Guest. SOAW is very similar to I Believe You; both are about women believing cheats. Also their melodies and harmonies are extremely similar. The Uninvited Guest is better ear candy with its counterpoint melody and harmony.
 
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Well, I like both songs. I think I give the edge to The Uninvited Guest. And I just looked up the lyrics, and it sounds to me that he is having an affair and he doesn't know that she knows. There's the line where she says "You don't know how I know, if it all was in the open you'd deny that it's so." And the line "I should leave you but I love you. It doesn't make sense. I suppose it could still work, if she was his first wife and she was deceased. But surely she would know about the first wife including that she had died, so how would the line "You don't know how I know, if it all was in the open you'd deny that it's so." fit?
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Well, I like both songs. I think I give the edge to The Uninvited Guest. And I just looked up the lyrics, and it sounds to me that he is having an affair and he doesn't know that she knows. There's the line where she says "You don't know how I know, if it all was in the open you'd deny that it's so." And the line "I should leave you but I love you. It doesn't make sense. I suppose it could still work, if she was his first wife and she was deceased. But surely she would know about the first wife including that she had died, so how would the line "You don't know how I know, if it all was in the open you'd deny that it's so." fit?
That line could work if she’s saying “I know you still think about her and fantasize about what your life would be with her now.” The word “ghost” is telling; if she was alive why would her spirit be invisibly present? She would exist somewhere else on earth. Whether or not she can actually see the ghost is another story (would add a spooky dimension to it all), but regardless, it sounds like the spirit of this love haunts the house that it once lived in before Karen came into the picture. “She lives in our house” - a side woman wouldn’t be living with them, only a spirit would be. An uninvited one.

Karen’s light, airy vocal approach here sounds if she’s trying to sound more ghostly than usual, like she’s trying to appeal to the man and be the only loving spirit in his life.
 

kprather

Well-Known Member
To me, "her ghost is there" means that there's an "elephant in the room." Every word that is said, every deed that is done, seems to indicate that there is a second woman in this man's life.

She doesn't literally "live in our house," but she is pervasive in his life, and therefore her life.
 
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