It's been a while since Lionel Richie released his last album - and fortunately, "Renaissance" is worth the wait. The title is apt too, since the album is itself a renaissance of sorts, a return by Richie to the roots which made him one of the most successful artists of the 1980s. You can hear this almost immediately in the first two tracks on the album: "Angel" is a dance number which will have you on the floor, while "Cinderella" (with the Backstreet Boys) is a haunting cut which has all the hallmarks of a classic.
Flavoured with tinges of Latin pop, smooth R&B vocals, and a voice that will soothe your soul, "Renaissance" also has a few other tracks to recommend it - I particularly liked the hummable "Don't Stop The Music", while "Just Can't Say Goodbye" is listenable. The other tracks are pleasing on the ears, although they lack the impact of the ones mentioned above.
While "Renaissance" doesn't have the bells, whistles and media hype that precedes many of the albums being released by the current crop of teenage pop stars, it represents an evolution in Richie's musical style, and contains a body of work that is sure to please his audience.This article was first published on 25 Jan 2001.