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"Touch Me When We're Dancing" - a successful transition to an 80s Carpenters sound?

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Buried Alien, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. Buried Alien

    Buried Alien Member Thread Starter

    When I first heard "Touch Me When We're Dancing," I thought the song sounded like the Carpenters, but it also fit a 1980s Carpenters sound (which unfortunately, never fully developed due to Karen's passing in 1983) that was distinct from their famous 1970s sound. To me, it sounded like a successful transition from a 70s to 80s sound, and seemed to promise a place for new Carpenters music in the 80s. Alas, it was not to be...
  2. I really liked "Touch Me" and MIA in general (although I am in a minority on this forum). I thought the sound was "fresh" and updated, but also stayed true to their "sound."
    Daniel Perales and WYBIMLA like this.
  3. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    For me it's the strongest track on the album by far. Slightly different to their earlier stuff but still essentially Carpenters with a touch of the Gibb brothers about it. It all gels nicely together on this one, even the higher register works, and the production is great with lots of different things going on, instruments crossing from one ear to the other when you have your headphones on. The mangled sounding strings bug me at the 1.37 mark though!
    Mark-T likes this.
  4. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night would have made an excellent follow-up...
    song4u, aaflyer98, Jeff and 3 others like this.
  5. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I just heard it on Friday in my earphones while I was working and I had the exact same thought. It sounded great!
    Graeme likes this.
  6. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Touch Me was a step in an 80's direction, and Slow Dance should've been its B-Side or the B-Side of Kiss Me, both of which should've been on MIA. But I think Back In My Life, Prime Time Love, Honolulu, Beechwood and Your Baby is more what we would've seen in the 80's. I think in the 80's had Karen lived, besides doing more solos, I think Karen might've been more assertive, like she was with Beechwood. It would've been interesting to have seen an MIA where one side had been planned by Richard vs another side where it was Karen taking the reins.
    Jeff likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I was living in Rockford, Illinois in mid-1981, remembering well the radio station
    playing Touch Me When We're Dancing quite a bit. I liked it--but, not at first !
    Then, the more I heard it, the more I liked it. A visit, 1981, to family in Central Florida
    showed--happily--that it was getting much airplay here, also.
    I do wonder why the song failed to chart top 10--it was on the radio quite a bit.

    Now, I really love Strength of A Woman and When It's Gone, so those two songs
    would have suited me fine as Singles. Whether they are "transition to 80's " songs,
    I do not know.
    But, 1982 saw Beechwood as a Single,
    and 1983 saw Make Believe It's Your First Time as Single,
    so exactly how much transitioning was going to happen is impossible to say.
    Even in 1983, I was disappointed with the later as choice of Single. (Okay as album cut, though).
    Thankfully, 1989--just under the buzzer for the 1980's--
    gave us a new single,
    If I had You,
    Now we are heading in the right direction !
    Jeff likes this.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I think the forward transition went right out of the window with those two singles. Had Karen lived and Now been released as a single, it would have sent them even further into chart oblivion.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation and Jeff like this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    One night I was watching a bunch of random videos on TopPop YouTube channel. Just for comparison of the sounds going on at the time. A lot of the synths now sound cheap, dated. Then, I got to Carpenters "Touch me" on the same channel. Nothing sounds quite like it. It's very smooth and the harmonies they created in studio are perfection. They were veterens of the industry by then, you'd expect it so and the sound is timeless.
    Jamesj75 and theninjarabbit like this.
  10. Their "Made In America" album reintroduced me to them.

    When I heard "Touch Me When We're Dancing" for the first time (on radio), my first feelings was like: "WOW! Long time , no hear old friends!". I was already excited when some of my other old favorites musical groups like "Chicago", Earth, Wind & Fire", and "America" had huge hits around that time, too. Hearing a brand new "Carpenters" song was just the highlight of my life musically back then.

    When I eventually bought the album, I fell in love with it even more. Then, I started to buy all their older albums once I had enough money saved. I felt like I finally reconnected to an old friend that I never want to lose touch with ever again.

    Geographer likes this.
  11. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Couldn't agree more. "MIA" made straight for the elevators after "Passage"'s experimentation. "Want You..." was an attempt at trendiness but even it wasn't far from the elevators from whence everything else came. The rest was must made for grandma's radio and would never have seen radio play. The only thing that got "Touch Me" over was Karen's voice.

    "Now" was in the elevator and down the shaft. That's the path they were on and didn't seem interested in deviation. Their days as a radio act were long over by then.

  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I often wonder what Karen thought of the chart performance of the MIA singles and whether she would have deviated to more interesting or ambitious material for that album given the choice, because the responsibility for their direction lay with Richard, who selected the material, produced the songs and was responsible for the overall sound of the finished product.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  13. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    Richard was most likely prodded into releasing MBIYFT, he has said he didn't think there was a single on the album.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Of course, we have those songs recorded April 1982.
    (And, I'll never understand the reasoning behind recording them at that time--see Coleman).
    If those recordings are any indication of what lay ahead, or the direction which
    Richard intended to go (after all, he selected those 1982 songs to record), then
    I'm afraid the writing was "on the wall" as far as any future "hit" singles.
    Richard's comments, such as:
    "only the song Now would have made a bona fide follow-up to
    Made In America" add fuel to the fire ! (Did he really--at that time-- intend it to be a Single ?).
    Or, "Karen never sounded lovelier" (regards 'Now').
  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I think she was probably disappointed at the performance of Beechwood, especially since she was the one who had wanted to record it and release it as a single.
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I think "Prime Time Love" had more single potential than Make Believe. MBIYFT and Now were the weakest songs on VOTH.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    According to the Fan Club Newsletters (April 1982 #74)
    "Richard decided" to release Beechwood on Karen's birthday, 1982.
    According to the book Little Girl Blue, regarding Beechwood:
    Mike Curb says, "Richard and I always talked about bringing back songs...
    who was treated to a preview of the Carpenters' next Oldie...." (Page 237).
  18. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    Indeed. Karen would have been in New York by the time 'Beechwood' was released as a single, so is unlikely to have played any part in the decision. Given what else was going on in her personal life in 1981, I'd imagine she'd have had bigger concerns than the chart failure of the singles released after 'Touch Me...'
  19. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    After Passage, the KC solo album would have done very well compared to MIA I believe. Karen's instincts were probably right. And look at her dedication.
    Jeff likes this.
  20. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    Back then, WHNN (96.1 FM) in Saginaw, Michigan was changing the format from classic hard rock to adult contemporary back on Monday, June 22, 1981, I heard "Touch Me When We're Dancing" for the first time on the radio!! That station of adult contemporary music ended in September of 1990 when it became an oldies station. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  21. David A

    David A Active Member

    Recently discussed this in another thread. TMWWD was in my view clearly a nod to an 80's change stylistically. Why it stalled at #16 has been discussed a lot, with a lot of opinions. In my view, it had less to do with fans "moving on" (though that happened to some extent, for sure), and more to do with radio and music stores unwilling to support the music, as THEY had moved on.
  22. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    So your saying that Karen didn't have access to a phone while in New York? Even if no one was in the office, A&M probably had a phone or two with an answering machine at the time, so Karen could made calls and still been a part of the decision.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Of course, it is possible that Karen played a part in the decision to release
    Beechwood as a single, however, the indication--the documentation in the
    1982 Fan Club Newsletters--such as it is-- is written to say that this was Richard's decision.
    While that primary source material is scanty, that is all I have to rely upon !
    I'd like to believe Karen was part of the decision-making-process,however
    the documentation simply does not support that belief.
    Regardless of that decision,
    Richard is the one who selected all of the material
    for the Made In America sessions (source: 1981 Press Kit) and the song should never
    have been selected to be recorded at that point in time.

    Carpe diem likes this.
  24. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Richard was a big believer of what worked in the past...Beechwood was an attempt at another Please Mr Postman but it never "panned out". The video was not cute and enchanting like with Postman, instead showed an emaciated and frail Karen, unfortunately...that train had long past left the station.
  25. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    The fact that a video was shot for 'Beechwood' in 1981 suggests that it was always planned to be a single (conversely, no video was made for 'Back in My Life Agsin', despite it being the follow-up single to 'Touch Me', although outside the US, it was released as a single in fewer territories than 'Beechwood' would be).

    Whether that initial decision was made by Richard, Richard and Karen or A&M is hard to say. However, it still seems an odd decision to release it in the spiring of 1982, when its parent album had been dead in the water for a few months already.

    Coming back to the discussion topic, the release of 'Beechwood' does rather suggest that whatever attempts had been made by 'Touch Me' to update their sound were of pretty limited scope, as they ended up releasing singles that were ersatz copies of singles they'd released years before.

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