I respect Richard greatly as a producer, writer, arranger, musician, etc, but I think he was extremely wise to stop featuring himself as lead vocalist. Karen had a world-class voice. He had an average, singing-in-the-shower voice. But he did sound good when his vocals were blended with Karen's, in the background. They made good background vocals together - and Richard was smart enough to keep himself in the background vocal-wise from 1974 onwards.The other thing that I've noticed with the Carpenters pre-1974 albums and their post-1974 albums it that Richard really moved into the background, whereas on their early albums, like A Song For You, we still got a couple of Richard tracks (such as Flat Barouque, Piano Picker, Heather, Deadman's Curve, Nowaday's Clancy Can't even sing, Saturday, I Kept On Loving You) on each album, which is something that I think was missing on their later albums. Even with the singles we got Rainy Days And Mondays/Saturday, Close To You/I Kept On Loving You, It's Going To Take Sometime/Flat Barouque, Top Of The World/Heather, Sing/Druscilla Penny, Ticket To Ride/Your Wonderful Parade where side 1 was a Karen lead and the side 2 was a Richard vocal or instrumental lead. Even the single Goodbye To Love/Crystal Lullaby featured a song that could be called a duet with Crystal Lullaby. And I think that that is something that is missing from the later, less successful albums and singles. You had a true group effort during the early days, and then once 1974 hit, aside from a few tracks on Christmas Portrait, the other albums are basically Karen Carpenter solos with Richard just as a backing vocalist.
So in my list that's why I put You're Just In Love and Looking For Love/Something In Your Eyes, with Richard as lead, since I think the later albums are really missing that, and I think that something that Richard realized when he released As Time Goes By (even Lovelines I would've replaced You're The One & Little Girl Blue with either an older Richard lead, or had Richard record an all new song(s)), since ATGB has the most Richard leads since Now & Then in terms of the studio albums (he duets with Karen on Without A Song & You're Just In Love, and then he has solo lead on Dizzy Fingers, Close Encounters/Star Wars & Carpenters/Como Medley).