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Lionel Richie Just For You Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

The emotion is still there, it's just held on a tighter leash.

Jack Smith 2004

There can be few better measures of success than your exes alimony demand. It's to be hoped that Lionel Richie consoled himself with this thought when his once beloved tried to tap him for a reported $300,000 a month.

Publicity surrounding the settlement is currently rivalling that for his new album, Just for You . Understandable, perhaps, when it's revealed that your Missus spends more on vitamins than many do on their mortgages, but a fair reflection on the release? Surprising myself, I'd say not.

The middle of the road has rarely been so jam packed with talent, but Lionel has breezed on through and left many an upstart spluttering in his wake. Selling 100 million albums teaches you a thing or two, and what's revealed here is his ability to move with the times. Take your old star quality along for the ride and it can only mean yet more success.

That said, the title track, first up on the album, sounds like a naff car commercial. The next, "I Still Believe", gives his voice more room to manoeuvre and comes across much better as a result. Then there's "Just To Be With You Again" - a simple song, sensitively produced and performed to absolute perfection. Proof that Lionel hasn't lost it and, as things progress, you might even start to think he's improved.

"Time Of Our Life", a track produced by Lenny Kravitz, is dramatic, beautiful, touching and restrained. The other collaboration "Do Ya", on which Lionel duets with Daniel Bedingfield, is another of the album's best and serves asa reminder of our man's rare credentials in authentic groove.

If you listen to Richie's earlier work a lot of it sounds schmaltzy by today's standards. Fortunately these tendencies have been curbed on Just For You. The emotion is still there, it's just held on a tighter leash. Yes, there is the odd dodgy track and occasional dreadful lyric, but on the whole this album is far better than many would ofdreamed possible.

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