Lionel Richie – Just For You; Island B0002562-36 Multichannel SACD ***1/2:
When I first put this record on I thought there was some mistake.
The first song sounds very much like “With Or Without You” by U2, but
once the song developed there was no doubt about who I was listening
to. This disc is an example of intense use of the surround channels. On the first track the voice is mixed in every (!) channel making it a big, diffuse, sonic mess. Later tracks have a more conventional focus, but on this disc I really preferred the two-channel mix. The recording quality is somewhat hard to get a handle on—most of the tracks have an edge that keeps the sound quality below the better sounding CDs. Could it be the use of the dreaded Pro Tools?
Even though some of the songs start out slowly, the material is very upbeat. There are electronic drums and percussion as well as added effects (like scratchiness) that take Richie out of the 80s and drop him right into the new millennium. It’s clear that Richie is a veteran popmaster, because every song is paced just right, has an appropriate mix of vocals and instrumentation, great hooks, and variety in style. Even the track order mixes the slower tunes with the more dance-worthy songs in a pleasing way.
All in all, this is a solid effort that seems to get better as you get
further into the track listing. One of my favorites is a vibe-a-licious track called “Do Ya” and if it doesn’t help you get the funk out then you just might be dead. If you haven’t thought much about the name Richie (unless it’s Nicole), then it’s time to mend your ways.
TrackList: Just For You; I Still Believe; Long Long Way To Go; Just To Be With You Again; Heaven; She’s Amazing; Ball And Chain; Time Of Our Life; Outrageous; Road To Heaven; Do Ya; In My Dreams; One World.