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Official Review [Single]: 18. "SOLITAIRE"/"LOVE ME FOR WHAT I AM" (1721-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jan 14, 2017.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Solitaire"

    30 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "Love Me For What I Am"

    14 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter


    Solitaire.png SolitaireSINGLE.png LMFWIA.png
    Side A: Solitaire 4:40 (Sedaka/Cody)
    Side B: Love Me For What I Am 3:28 (Bettis/Pascale)

    Catalogue Number: A&M 1721-S
    Date of Release: 7/75
    Format: 7" Single
    Speed: 45 RPM
    Country: US
    Top Chart Position: #17

    Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
    Produced by Richard Carpenter
    Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter

    For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Definitely the "A" side. The song may plod a bit, but I love it. The arrangement gives Karen a chance to stay in her trademark lower range, and the ending vocal lines by her are killer. Still a favorite after all these years. (I love the last minute and a half or so of the flip side!)
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  3. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    I never got what was so "plodding" about this song. I always loved it, and thought it was a perfect choice for Karen's voice. I also love the single version edit, with additional electric guitar and organ.

    I think the B-side takes the cake for me. It's just lovely, straightforward goodness. Very catchy. I wish they had released it as a single on its own, not just on the flip of "Solitaire".
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I love both of these songs !
    Karen's stunning vocals, simply divine.
    Great picture sleeve photograph !
    Hard to choose one side over the other,
    but I do so love the arrangement on Solitaire (that is, the single version).
    But, then, the flip's arrangement is fantastic, too.
    Solitaire is longer, so that will be the decisive factor for my choice.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Both of these songs have two entirely different readings and yearnings but I thought the time of the season would have brought Love Me For What I Am to the forefront but the added instruments in Solitaire really helped it, but not all stations played the single version. I never thought we would have had to choose between them. With the Sadaka fallout, the flip side may have soared higher, but my parents really loved Solitaire claiming it her best song, which in many ways, it was up to the summer of 1975. Both are stellar, but I chose the flip side. Still today, they are both great classic songs.

    Jamesj75 and A&M Retro like this.
  6. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I chose 'Solitaire' because it's one of Karen's best performances EVER and it's pretty hard to beat. I still remember hearing the single version on family vacation on a jukebox at Lake Of The Ozarks, and flipping out. Richard's additions on 'Solitaire' really gave it more 'punch'.

    Love Me For What I Am' is great, as well. Karen's vocals are almost painfully intimate and, again, she belts it as only Karen could.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  7. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    The A&M logo is on the left side instead of the bottom near the Carpenters logo!! By the way, "Solitaire" is Karen's best song. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  8. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    "Solitaire". "Love Me For What I Am" is an above-average album cut with a knockout chorus and instrumental break, but it's not the masterpiece that "Solitaire" is. This is the Carpenters single that I've grown to like more and more over time.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  9. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Gotta go with the a-side, "Solitaire", but only for the single mix. I recall hearing "my" station play the album version (you know, "cleaner album vinyl sounds better" mentality), and the record never really grabbed me. The timing of release was a little suspect too, with this not exactly being a classic summer song. It took years for me to finally hear the single version when it was placed on GOLD and the tiny changes made all the difference in the world.

    Back in school we used to get little awards for "most improved" student in a subject (I got one for History, which I hated at the time). "Solitaire" gets my vote for "Most Improved Carpenters Song".

    "Love Me For What I Am" is simply a decent album track, no more - a standard choice for a b-side.
    Jamesj75 and byline like this.
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I'd agree with that 100%, so I voted A side for the single mix. One of Karen's finest performances.

    The B side has always jarred with me because of the double tracking of Karen's vocal on the choruses. For me that spoils an otherwise lovely song. Richard has said that if they'd finished Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again, he would have had Karen double her vocal on the choruses on that track as well. I'm so glad he didn't because that would have ruined it. Instead he added a subtle effect to simulate double tracking (he had no other choice) and it's much more effective. I just wish he'd done the same with this song.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
    Jamesj75, Mary Beth and Chris May like this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I had to pull out the 45-single and re-listen to both sides !
    And, I still love both songs.
    I must stand by my contention that there is a certain brilliance to
    Love Me For What I Am,
    both in Karen's delivery and the outstanding arrangement.
    And, I might add:
    Whenever I play the song for non-Carpenters' fans, they, too, appreciate the entire song--
    that is, lyrical content, vocal delivery and arrangement.

    I see it is quite under-represented in the compilation department:
    Only five entries on the resource database
    (not including the LP Quad version).
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  12. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Solitaire is just exquisite. Everything about it. Both of 'em at their best. Not single material though. . .probably should have been Happy which would've cracked the top 10, I reckon.
    Greg and Jamesj75 like this.
  13. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It's funny, I'm not in general a huge fan of the over-use of double-tracking on Karen's vocals ('I Won't Last a Day Without You' is particularly badly served on this front), but I don't really mind it on 'Love Me For What I Am'. Perhaps the simple opening using just Karen's vocals and then the piano means the doubling seems more excusable as it allows the sound to 'build' on the chorus compared to the more intimate verses.

    'Love Me For What I Am' is by far my favourite of the two and is in my eyes one of their most underrated tracks. I originally rather overlooked it due to its unfortunate placing on the Horizon tracklisting directly after the similar-sounding 'Goodbye and I Love You', but of late it's become one of my favourites. Whilst it does contain a few 'template' features like Tony Peluso's guitar break, it's a lovely lyric that Karen performs with a real directness. The more adult tone of the song might have given them a bit more traction at radio too, and in hindsight I think this should perhaps have been the A side instead of 'Solitaire'.

    'Solitaire' obviously has its fans, but it's always left me cold. It's just too slow and downbeat - the single mix improves this a little, but not enough to solve the problem. I don't much care for any version of the song sung by anyone, but it might actually be a case of a track that stays for too long in Karen's lower register - the register jumps on 'a lonely man' and 'up in smoke' in the verses have always sounded quite awkward when it then descends right back to the basement again and stays there until the chorus.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  14. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    So funny you should say that Stephen, because the choruses are my reason as well for not particularly enjoying this track more. It isn't so much the actual vocal double itself that bothers me, as it is the chorus/phaser that is added to those vocals during the chorus. Not sure why on earth Richard opted for that effect, as Karen's voice had some phasing naturally during a double anyway (as is usually the case with anyone that doubles themselves).

    Could have been the newer technology, with studio "D" having just been constructed and the installation of the Compumix system. Given their push to start becoming a little more progressive anyway, it may explain the logic.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    It's the phasing effect that bothers me Chris, thanks for elaborating as that's what I was trying to say in my earlier post. The song didn't need that.
  16. I always thought the doubling of Karen's voice in LMFWIA made her sound robotic and metallic-like, it takes away from the feeling of the lyrics because she sounds so artificial. It could be the phasing effect that others are mentioning, but whatever it is I don't like it. A great reading from her though, and I love how intimate not only she sounds emotionally, but technically with the mic - after she sings "if what you want.." you hear the spit/mouth noise at the end of "want", and it is sounds like she's right beside you, moreso than usual. I do think Goodbye and I Love You is a better song and should have been the b-side here. If it didn't turn out to be perfection in the 90s (with a harder sound), then I would have actually replaced Love Me on Horizon with Tryin to Get the Feeling Again.

    Solitaire wins it for me. Yeah it's slow but it doesn't plod or feel sterile. The arrangement is towering and Karen truly does give one of, if not the best, performance of her career. The shades of darkness she infuses into the words make them come alive and her innately melancholy tones have never fit a song better. I love Desperado a lot more but on both we hear her belt with power and vigor and it's a shame that this powerful strength and depth slowly evaporated after 1975 (I believe both by choice to sound feminine/higher and because her weakening body simply couldn't do it anymore).
    K.C. Jr and Mark-T like this.
  17. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Neither song falls into my list of favorites but I like Solitaire the better of the two. I have to admit I liked Neil Sedaka's version better than the Carpenters' though.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  18. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    And keeping to himself begins to deal
    And still the King of Hearts is well concealed
    Another losing game comes to an end
    And deals him out again

    And keeping to himself begins to play
    Without his love it always ends the same
    While life goes on around him everywhere
    He's playing solitaire

    I wonder if there is a track anywhere of singing the first set and I wonder why it was never included, at least in the second section.

    Mary Beth likes this.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The finished track was over four minutes long. Maybe Richard decided against the extra verse so it wouldn't end up nearer five when it came to radio play?
  20. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I've thought of LMFWIA as a Declaration of Independence of sorts- a one step further beyond This Masquerade. Bold, self-aware and mature. It's a great album cut.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  21. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I thought it was the second half of the chorus and it could have been substituted after the second verse. With the added edits on the single with added instruments it may have had an even stronger effect.?
    Maybe I should go back and listen first since I am just going on what's playing inside my head...
  22. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    For us non-musicians, can someone give a second-by-second breakdown on where the sonic differences occur between the album and single versions of Solitaire? I've listened to both back-to-back repeatedly but am struggling to notice any differences. It's probably due to my noisy, less than ideal listening environment, but more likely it's because I'm not discerning enough to hear any differences unless someone points it out to me.
  23. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I can't say I listen to either of these often, but at last listen I enjoyed them both. "Solitaire" has been growing on me lately (I'm assuming the single version is on my copy of GOLD). I love the background vocals on "Love Me For What I Am", particularly towards the end; classy all-around. I'm surprised I don't own this 45...
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  24. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I love them both - but upon first listen to the Horizon album that June day in 1975 - I was utterly blown away by Solitaire. THAT was the track I had hoped would become the single - and I always wish it would have cracked the top ten...

    I ended up buying the single also - because I really liked the organ addition... Glad it finally came out in CD format years later on Gold.

    I think we heard that Karen didn't love the track which bothers me a little... but eventually, didn't we heat she came around??
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  25. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    You mean that between the two you can not hear the organ on the single version? As I recall the organ starts at the first chorus. And the organ is not that far in the background, is mixed pretty forward. Richard and Karen removed the organ completely on the album cut.

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