1983, competitive year for black music. Michael Jackson and Prince were still hot with their albums, Thriller and 1999 respectively. The Pointer Sisters, Kool & The Gang, Cameo, Midnight Star, and Shalamar were leaving behind their signature disco styles and adapted either New Wave or Rock/Funk blends, which gave them hot albums for 1983. Jeffrey Osborne, Kashif, O'Bryan, and Luther Vandross were amongst new soul stars that were talented producers and performers that blew up towards the black community in 83'. What artist has all that, and alot more?? Lionel Richie!!
Like MJ scored with Off The Wall and truimphed with Thriller, Lionel did the same with his self titled debut and Can't Slow Down, respectively. I was born in late of 1983, around the same time this album was released. My father still has the original lp in working condition, remembered him playing All Night Long and Penny Lover alot. I confess that since then and from seeing his videos on NY Hot Tracks and Friday Night Videos, I loved his music. Let's get to the point, Can't Slow Down is one of the most enjoyable albums of the 1980s along with Thriller and Purple Rain (an album which you dug all the tracks without exceptions) and my 4th favorite album (behind Thriller, Confessions, and Jay-Z's Black Album and before Purple Rain and Off The Wall). Too make a long story short, heres how I rate the tracks
Can't Slow Down (energetic introduction in a PYT groove that failed to be a single which was a mistake) - A+
All Night Long (#1 international Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'-like groove that brought the album to life. Love the international style video) - A+
Penny Lover (love this song since I first saw the storyline video on NY Hot Tracks back in late 84') - A+
Stuck On You (Good single. A great effort that hit not only on adult complemntary, and mainstream stations, but on country stations as well. "Short and Sweet!" Look out Kenny Rodgers!!) - A-
Love Will Find A Way (lp track that is still hot on adult complemntary and urban stations today. I luv the hooks throughout the last couple minutes of the song) - A
The Only One (probaly the most forgotten track on the lp, which was better than Stuck On You, IMO) - A
Running With The Night (A bit smoother and more new-wavish than Beat It. Lionel's second single spells out good "Rock N Roll" In the video of where he and his boyz crash a prom, he dances with unknown then Shelia E) - A+
Hello (the most emotional and important single on the lp was a great album closer. It is my favorite Lionel Richie song too and the video was a bit amusing, yet great happy ending with the poor deaf student who seems to have a crush on her teacher - Lionel of course. Back on saturday afternoons of when my father replayed what he taped on NY Hot Tracks the friday night before, he always played this video among with others. Alot of memories coming back although I was only a baby. These videos my father use to tape from soul artists was probaly as far back as I can remember) - A++
I will purchase the cd version of this lp for myself in the future because this is incredible!! Another trip down memory lane! Who would care to join me?