Displaying items by tag: Lionel Richie
The late 1980s and early 1990s were a tough period for Lionel Richie. After releasing three consecutive solo albums that became massive worldwide hits, the singer/songwriter was feeling burnt-out. He decided to take some time off but that break turned into a nearly ten-year period where Richie battled depression, the collapse of his marriage and the death of both his father and a close friend. Other than the 1992 compilation album Back To Front, Richie didn't release a follow-up to 1986's Dancing On The Ceiling until Louder Than Words hit stores in 1996. The album was co-produced with longtime producer James Anthony Carmichael, with three tracks produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and one track co-produced by Ritchie and David Foster.
Given his earlier success, Louder Than Words was seen as a commercial disappointment in the U.S. The album only made it to #28 on the Top 100 album chart and the lead single from the album - Don't Wanna Lose You - topped out at #39 on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart.
But there is a lot to love about the album if you're a Lionel Richie fan. The album's most successful moments are when Ritchie focuses on the smooth soul sound that audiences had connected with in the 1980s. But there are moments when Richie tries to lean into the 1990s New Jack/Hip hop vibe and to be kind, it's not a great fit. But overall, Louder Is Words is a comforting and smooth effort that deserved a better fate. The album is being rereleased this week, with five bonus tracks that include two tracks originally only available on the Japanese release of the album along with Italian and Spanish versions of Still In Love.
As for Don't Wanna Lose You, it's easy to see why the track was the first single. Even though it was written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the sound is classic Lionel Richie. It's smooth and soulful and easy to sing along to in the shower. The track should have been a bigger hit at the time, but that is also the case with much of Ritchie's late 1990s output. Ritchie is one of those performers who was making great music long after the industry moved on to newer faces.