Dear Lionel Richie,
Please stick to your demographic.
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.