Can’t Slow Down – Lionel Richie– 1983
Claimed Sales: 20m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Can’t Slow Down is another of those albums that marked a change of career trajectory for its central star. His first studio album after leaving The Commodores it’s a statement of ‘whatever Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder can do, I can do too’ and for much of Can’t Slow Down he holds his own against music’s biggest stars of the era. All Night Long (All Night) is the obvious moment everything falls into place. Lionel is the smooth soul star here, but the song has this party atmosphere that is undeniable; you feel it. The title track retains this feeling, while Running With The Night takes a slightly moodier turn, but much of Can’t Slow Down is surprisingly moments where Lionel does exactly that. Lionel likes to slow things down, and he does nicely on the likes of The Only One, which teases you with glimpses of strings and drama and Stuck On You with it’s country leaning twang. Sadly the record sinks into monotony on Penny Love and Love Will Find A Way, the middle section of the record standing out against such exciting bookends. The final of these tracks is obviously megahit Hello, undoubtedly the most dramatic song of that title until a few years ago. The vocal is still smooth and easy here though, Lionel never really pushes himself in the same way that his 80s peers do, but on Can’t Slow Down as a whole he asserts himself as headed in their direction. It’s a tight set of hits, even though I much prefer it when Lionel speeds things up.
Will I listen again?: I’d much rather listen to the hits.
Best Track: All Night Long (All Night) remains an outstanding pop record.