Lionel Richie - Okayplayer

Lionel Richie


Dear Lionel Richie,
Please stick to your demographic.
Sincerely, Adrian.

On his eighth studio album, Coming Home, Lionel Richie nixes his usual audience (suburban, forty-something, middle-class housewives), in favor for a younger and hipper crowd. The result will both alienate his long-standing fanbase and make contemporary pop and R&B listeners cringe.

From the sappy first single “I Call It Love,” which sounds eerily similar to something Ne-Yo would do, to the country-rock tune “Reason To Believe,” Richie sounds awkward on practically every song on the record.

The latin-disco dance track “All Around The World” sounds 30 years old with its dated and cheap-sounding horn and string synthesizers. It’s paired with equally cheesy lyrics, too. But, hands down, the worst track is “Up All Night,” which is Middle Eastern-flavored and aimed at club play. With a poor-man’s Scott Storch beat, one must wonder if Richie truly believed he could conquer modern pop radio with this song.

Richie die-hards may find a few gems in the more traditional love ballads, like “What You Are” and “I Love You.” Overall, though, Coming Home is a painful listening experience.

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