Just for You (Lionel Richie album)

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Just for You
Studio album by Lionel Richie
Released
  • March 8, 2004 (UK)
  • May 4, 2004 (US)
Genre Pop
Length 53:54
Label Island
Producer Lionel Richie, Tim & Bob
Lionel Richie chronology
Encore
(2002)
Just for You
(2004)
Coming Home
(2006)

Just for You is Lionel Richie's seventh studio album, which was released in March 2004 in the United Kingdom, with the US release in May of that year. Released shortly after Richie's divorce from his second wife, the album featured Richie in collaboration with singers and musicians from different backgrounds. It received mixed reviews, with much of the criticism targeted at the album's lyrics. It sold 207,000 copies and peaked at #22 on the American Billboard 200.

Background[edit]

Just for You was the seventh studio album of Lionel Richie. Richie, previously a member of The Commodores, had become a solo artist in the early 1980s. With the release of Can't Slow Down in 1983, he became one of the biggest solo acts in the country before leaving the industry in 1987. He began working towards a comeback in the late 1990s but saw little success.[1]

Following the release of his hit compilation album The Definitive Collection in 2003 and his daughter Nicole's appearance in The Simple Life, Richie returned to public attention.[2] Shortly before producing Just for You Richie and his wife, Diane, were divorced; the separation was bitter and very public.[1]

Recording[edit]

For the album Richie brought singers and musicians from different genres. Lenny Kravitz and Daniel Bedingfield sang duets with him, while songwriters Paul Barry and Mark Taylor – who were best known for light works – wrote several songs.[3] Another guest songwriter was 7 Aurelius, of Murder, Inc.[4]

In a 2004 interview with NBC, Richie stated that he had been approached to record Just for You by his manager in London. He found it easy to write, because "all I had to do was play myself."[5] In another interview, Richie said that – as opposed to "Three Times a Lady", which he had dedicated to his ex-wife Brenda – Just for You was dedicated to himself, an "introverted perspective" on what had excited him.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Lionel Richie, Paul Barry and Mark Taylor except where indicated:

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Just for You"     4:33
2. "I Still Believe"     4:55
3. "Long Long Way To Go"   Wayne Anthony Hector and Steve Robinson 4:21
4. "Just to be With You Again"     3:32
5. "Heaven"   Lionel Richie, Tim Kelley, and Bob Robinson 4:01
6. "She's Amazing"   Lionel Richie, 7 Aurelius, Chuckii Booker, Bashiri Johnson, and Paul Bushnell 4:36
7. "Ball and Chain"   Lionel Richie, John Dixson, and David Bradley 3:16
8. "Time of our Life" (featuring Lenny Kravitz) Lionel Richie/Lenny Kravitz 5:07
9. "Outrageous"     4:30
10. "Road to Heaven"   Lionel Richie, and 7 Aurelius 4:20
11. "Do Ya" (featuring Daniel Bedingfield) Lionel Richie, Daniel Bedingfield, Eric Appaoulay, and David Hart 2:39
12. "In My Dreams"   Lionel Richie, 7 Aurelius, Miredys Peguero, and Cuckii Booker 4:56
13. "One World"     3:52

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
BBC Music (average)[7]
Entertainment Weekly D[3]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[8]
musicOMH (unfavorable)[9]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[4]
RTÉ.ie 2/5 stars[10]
Soul Shine Magazine 4/5 stars[11]

Just for You was released on March 8, 2004 in the United Kingdom[9] and May 4 of that year in the United States.[2] The album debuted at #47 on Billboard 200 and #22 on the publication's R&B Chart. Three singles from the album, "Just for You", "Just for You (The Dance Remixes)", and "Long Way To Go", charted: "Just for You" performed best of these, peaking at #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[12] As of May 2012, the album has sold 207,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[13] Richie's subsequent releases have shown a consistent increase in sales, beginning with 2006's Coming Home.[13]

Just for You received mixed reviews. Dominic Darrah of Soul Shine Magazine gave the album four out of five stars, praising its mix of "sweet ballads" and "new sounds".[11] He concludes that Richie's fans will "fall on their knees" after hearing the album.[11] The Guardian's Dave Simpson found that Richie was "disturbingly in tune with the times", mixing "boy band anthems" with funk, rock, and soul.[8]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, writing for Allmusic, gave Just for You three out of five stars, considering the album "well-crafted" and consistent in sound quality and cohesive. He found, however, that the album was weaker than Richie's work in the 1980s.[2] Marcus Reeves of Vibe likewise gave the album three stars, finding that several tracks – such as "She's Amazing" – to be reflective of Richie's earlier work, although he dismissed the "cheesy, clichéd lyrics" of the "we-are-the-world social anthems" included.[14] He concluded that, although the album was well made, it would please only Richie's existing fans.[14]

Jack Smith of BBC Music found Just for You "far better than many would ofdreamed [sic] possible", highlighting the album's two duets as among its best and describing "Just To Be With You Again" as "sensitively produced and performed to absolute perfection".[7] Clare Colley of musicOMH described the album as a "back to basics record", with "Do Ya" and "If You Belong To Me" as its best tracks.[9] Ultimately she was disappointed with the release; she criticized the lyrics as generally "mawkish", with the album overall "chronically underdeveloped and bland".[9]

Christian Hoard and Jon Caramanica of Rolling Stone gave the album two stars out of five, writing that Richie had not "stray[ed] too far from his strengths" in producing the work.[4] Kristina Feliciano of Entertainment Weekly was highly critical of the album, writing that its lyrics were "flacid", with the sound unproportional.[3] Katie Moten of RTÉ.ie found the album "disappointing", lacking originality; she considered "Do Ya" the only good song.[10]

References[edit]

Works cited[edit]