Sunday, 28 February 2021

Lionel Richie

Can't Slow Down (1983)

Can’t Slow Down/All Night Long (All Night)/Penny Lover/Stuck On You/Love Will Find A Way/The Only One/Running With The Night/Hello

Lionel Richie only actually released three successful solo albums at the height of his popularity in the mid-eighties, and this one, Con’t Slow Down, from 1983, was his own equivalent to Thriller, being packed full of hits and appearing in the music collections of many people who owned less than ten albums. It was not surprising, though, as it is a superbly crafted and produced piece of slick, appealing pop-soul. Yes, it lacks the credibility of Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield or Stevie Wonder, but as pure enjoyable soulful music with a wide appeal goes, it gets little wrong. It was more poppy than ballady as its predecesor was and thus appealed to a wide audience.

The highlights, of course, are its superb hit singles - the exuberant and melodic Paul Simon-ish party fun of All Night Long (All Night) (those brackets were so important); the sumptuous romantic strains of Penny Lover and Stuck On You; Hello, with its iconic blind student sculpture video; the rocking Running With The Night and the slick, immaculately-produced Michael Jackson-esque funk-pop of the title track, Can’t Slow Down

Love Will Find A Way is a sumptuous, typical piece of late night early eighties soul. Dim those lights now....

The Only One continues in the same vein - beautifully melodic and laid-back, sublimely romantic. These are very much songs for twenty-somethings and I was lucky to be that age when this album came out.

It was easy to dismiss this album in po-faced style as one that lacks proper credibility. I say bollocks to that - I can’t listen to All Night Long and fail to enjoy it. Classy stuff, a masterpiece of its kind.

Other fine tracks from his other two successful albums, Lionel Richie (1982) and Dancing On The Ceiling (1986) are the ballad Truly and the funky pop of Serves You Right from the former and the lively, hooky Dancing On The Ceiling and Say You, Say Me from the latter.

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