Picks and Pans Review: Dancing on the Ceiling

updated 09/22/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/22/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Lionel Richie

Richie has a very tough act to follow: his own 1983 album Can't Slow Down. That makes what would otherwise seem to be a smooth, easy-to-like pop album seem like something of a letdown. The title track, for instance, is a slick party tune (with 20 background singers and 14 other people listed as "hoopa hollers"). Yet it doesn't quite have the charge of 1983's All Night Long. The most interesting new song is Deep River Woman, on which Richie shows the country music sensitivities that enabled him to produce so effectively for Kenny Rogers. Alabama provides the backup vocals for Deep River Woman, though the three members of the group phoned their contribution in, recording their parts in Nashville while Lionel was laboring away back in Hollywood. An Eric Clapton guitar solo on Tonight Will Be Alright was recorded in similar isolation, in Woodenville, Wash. That kind of impersonal, conglomerate approach to pop music doesn't seem to generate tremendous amounts of passion, which may be the key to appreciating this album. It's an easy record to like, but hard to love. (Motown)

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