Carole King enjoyed a magnificent career with a string of hits that stuck like sweet taffy to our minds and hearts. And you really can’t escape – as if you really wanted to – from her classic hits off of Tapestry (1971). They’re played everywhere. For several years after Tapestry, Carole King made excellent albums like the near perfect Music (1971) (from which “Sweet Seasons” comes). But at some point, she seems to have misplaced her import, the songs lost a touch, and she fell off our radar.
On her 2001 effort, Love Makes the World, she produces a set of 12 songs, most with collaborative help, that are still worlds away from her much loved younger years, even though her friendly and warm voice is still in full gear. Getting older, her shift from life and adoration has moved toward adult contemporary love songs. The final two songs on the album, “Safe Again,” and “This Time” actually come closest to the soul of Carole King, largely because she has written and composed these songs herself. And they have that familiar edge, if a little off-kilter.
The 2CD re-release Deluxe Edition of Love Makes the World contains a second disc of music that includes 5 bonus songs. The first is a birthday tune, where beauty is in the ear of the beholder. It’s followed by a good Christmas song, “Love for Christmas,” the theme to Gilmore Girls, “Where You Lead, I’ll Follow,” which has all the magic of a Carole King song (although I secretly wish that she’d drop the background singers), a nice, Spanish-flavoured song, and an earlier collaboration with Graham Nash on “Two Hearts.”
Additionally, this Deluxe Edition has 4 videos on the Enhanced CD. Two of the videos are of “Love Makes the World,” and “Safe Again.” It’s rounded out by a Behind the Scenes/Making of featurette and a video interview with Carole King. On the video interview, Carole King runs through a gamut of subject manner related to her song-craft and album productions, career choices, song recording, etc. She explains that primarily, most of her songs are written for other artists. What doesn’t get used are usually the material that she records unless she re-records something that someone else has recorded, stuff that she heard differently as she wrote them.
Love Makes the World is a better album than a few of her preceding albums before it. It just doesn’t fill the void left by the shift of her style from those early ‘70s albums. This Deluxe Edition brings together videos of songs, some album-specific features, bonus tracks and the original music in a slip-covered set that seals the album tightly.
All of this brings me to this conclusion, Love Makes the World is not a bad album. If you really like Adult Contemporary, you may like it more. Carole King hasn’t lost anything, she has just hasn’t given us what we know that she can. I miss the edgy lady who gave me “So Far Away,” “I Feel the Earth Move,” “It’s Too Late,” and the oh so tantalizing “Sweet Seasons,” with its “do what you need to do because you only have the one life” philosophy tucked into its lyrics. Times came and changed the world and it changes us by default.
I’d love to see a return to Tapestry and Music form again from one of the great voices from the past. Ok, I understand we live in the here and now, but it was Carole King that inspired me to make changes with “…I got to give it all that I got, I just don’t wanna waste it…” – “Sweet Seasons” from Music (1971). We’ve both aged since. I can sure use her wisdom now.