We clearly respond to different things when we hear that voice. It took effort to infuse varied emotion into her phrasing but there’s always for me that underlining melancholic tonality. It was just a part of her core."A lonely, mournful sound she expressed with no effort" and "always with a touch of melancholy"...
Always? I disagree. When the lyrics -the story - of the song called for it, yes. But, not otherwise, and not always, and not naturally. And not without effort. The effort to infuse the vocal with the emotion demanded took a degree of effort, but that effort was just so easy for her.
And where is the sadness or melancholy in "We've Only Just Begun" or "For All We Know" or "You're the One" or "Touch Me While We're Dancing" or "One More Time" or any number of other warm, positive, upbeat songs?
And let's face it - quoting Richard seems to carry less and less authoritative weight after some of the highly questionable and debatable things he had to say in "Legacy" about Karen's drumming abilities or the songs that should or shouldn't have been on some of the albums. I'm sure that even to this day he thinks that double tracking her voice on her lead vocals was a wonderful sonic experience - a real stoke of genius...
I think there’s clearly a spirit of sadness coursing through WOJB, both in its production and that lead vocal. I don’t know how someone can hear Karen bursting with exuberance. It’s this inherent emotional dimension of warm distance to her vocal chords that transforms tunes like that For All WK, You’re the One, One More Time and countless more into something so much more complex, shaded, paradoxical and resonant than they read on paper. This is her storytelling trademark for me. Richard’s not always musically on base about her voice but he, in some way, understands something fundamental about that sound of hers.