Title: “Never Too Much”
Artist: Luther Vandross
Release date: 1981
Favorite track: “Never Too Much”
I adore Luther Vandross.
His voice is smooth like honey, and his lyrics are sweeter than syrup. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the title track, “Never Too Much.” I remember thinking, “Where has this been all my life?”
Some people probably find this style of music a tad cheesy. Not me.
I wouldn’t dare indulge an eye roll for cheesy lyrics when they are accompanied with fantastic vocals and the funky rhythms I love.
Vandross’ debut album swirls 1970s disco and 1980s pop with romantic flavor. “Never Too Much” is joy to the highest degree.
This seven-track album is a dream.
It starts off strong with “Never Too Much” — a song I will generously sing at any give moment, hand motions included. After paying close attention to the lyrics, I automatically wondered if Vandross wrote it. He wrote all the songs on this record except the concluding track, “A House is Not a Home.”
I still remember in the days when I was scared to touch you
How I spent my day dreamin’ plannin’ how to say “I love you”
You must have known that I had feelings deep enough to swim in
That’s when you opened up your heart and you told me to come in
— “Never Too Much”
The title track is such a sweet ode to the honeymoon phase of a relationship. In the song, Vandross sings “a thousand kisses from you is never too much.” I wish I could tell him that a thousand times hearing this song is never too much.
“Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl)” is a natural follow-up with more early romance-related lyrics and a peppy riff. I like this almost as much as title track. Actually, I think I might.
Sugar and spice
Righter than right
Never had a feeling so nice, no, girl
— “Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl)”
I think everyone wants to be loved this way. These songs are the sound of pure joy.
“Don’t You Know That” slows down the album, but only a little. The verses are a bit punchier than in the other songs, and the chorus is smooth and moody.
The more I hear this track, the more I like it. I try not to overuse this phrase, but every song on this album sounds like a hit to me.
The bouncy track, “She’s a Super Lady,” isn’t my favorite, but I dig the notion of calling a lady “super.” You just don’t hear that anymore. The lyrics are so positive and respectful. I do appreciate how the song ends with a nice beat-centric dance section.
In “You Stopped Loving Me,” Vandross sings “I don’t spend much of my time feelin’ sad,” and I believe that was true. It’s one of only two somber songs on the record, but the music still sounds hopeful.
"A House is Not a Home" shows the deeper register to Vandross' voice. Those vocals give me chills.
I love how Vandross always has a different facial expression on his album covers.
On “Never Too Much,” he has a charming “You talkin’ to me?” type of look. It has the most personality of the ones I’ve seen.
What I like about this album cover is it’s not overly conceptual. It’s just Vandross being Vandross.