Lionel Richie – Dancing On The Ceiling (1985/2015) [Qobuz 24bit/192kHz]

Lionel Richie – Dancing On The Ceiling (1985/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 00:46:34 minutes | 1,93 GB | Genre: Soul, R&B
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Motown Records
Recorded: 1985-1986

Dancing on the Ceiling is Lionel Richie’s third solo album, recorded beginning in 1985 and released in mid-1986. The album was originally to be titled Say You, Say Me, after the Academy Award-winning track of the same name, but it was renamed after Richie rewrote the album. The album was released to generally positive reviews and warm sales, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 and moving 4 million copies. Following the album’s release Richie went on a long hiatus, releasing his first album of entirely new material ten years later.

Lionel Richie wasn’t necessarily emboldened by the success of Can’t Slow Down — after all, he had experienced huge success since the Commodores — but there is nevertheless a sense of swagger on its 1986 successor, Dancing on the Ceiling. This isn’t entirely a good thing, since it means he indulges in silliness (the title track) and sappiness (“Ballerina Girl”) in equal measure, seemingly without quite realizing how ridiculous either extreme is. Maybe that’s because he still has a strong sense of popcraft, something that makes “Dancing in the Ceiling” stick in the head even if its lyrics are awful, something that makes “Ballerina Girl” work for a slow dance even if it is awfully sugary. This dichotomy is evident throughout the record, as Richie pulls out good music even if he indulges all of his worst impulses a little bit too much. He adds a bit more dance to this album, and while the grooves are funkier than anything since the Commodores, they run on too long — at eight minutes, “Don’t Stop” takes its title command far too seriously. This same tendency is apparent on the ballads and slower songs, which all stay around a little longer than they should, something that gives the impression that this record is a little less focused or consistent than the two blockbusters that preceded it. While it is true that there is nothing here nearly as good as the hits on Lionel Richie and Can’t Slow Down, it also is true that on a track-by-track level, it’s more consistent, never having resorting to the formless filler that peppered those two otherwise excellent records. This is a good thing, but it would have been better if the record had boasted one or two undeniable singles, or, if it didn’t, would at least have been a little tighter. That said, Dancing on the Ceiling is a solid, enjoyable affair — a comedown after the peaks of Lionel Richie and Can’t Slow Down, and one that suggests that Richie needed the extended break he took after its release, but a good record all the same. -Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1 Dancing On The Ceiling 4:32
2 Se La 5:53
3 Ballerina Girl 3:37
4 Don’t Stop 8:07
5 Deep River Woman 4:37
6 Love Will Conquer All 5:40
7 Tonight Will Be Alright 5:07
8 Say You, Say Me 4:01
9 Night Train (Smooth Alligator) 4:57

Drums, Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa, Sheila E., Greg Phillinganes, Paul Leim, Lionel Richie, John Robinson, Narada Michael Walden
Bass: Joe Chemay, Nathan East, Randy Jackson, Abraham Laboriel, Neil Stubenhaus
Guitars: Vernon “Ice” Black, Eric Clapton, Dave Cochran, Charles Fearing, Tim May, Steve Lukather, Carlos Rios, Louis Shelton
Keyboards, Synthesizers: John Barnes, Dave Cochrane, Preston Glass, Michael Lang, Neil Larsen, Greg Phillinganes, Tiger Head Preston, Lionel Richie, Carlos Rios
Programming: John Barnes, Greg Phillinganes, Narada Michael Walden
Saxophone: Dave Cochran



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