Title: “Commodores Greatest Hits”
Release date: 1978
Favorite track: “Easy”
I love owning and featuring greatest hits albums because they typically feature the most catchy songs by an artist. I know it’s going to be a fun listen even before I indulge. But then, for this album, to feature the Commodores’ greatest hits, I really know it’s going to be a fun listen.
I heard a Commodores song on the radio a couple weeks ago, which made me want to sift through the 1970s funk band’s discography. I picked up this album at FWB Vintage Records, so I could listen the right way … on vinyl.
As you know, I’m a lover of Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool and the Gang. This makes me want to add more Commodores albums to my collection.
The album starts with a classic funk song nearly everyone can recognize, “Brick House.” It’s a fun concept and a song worth jamming to.
What’s funny is Lionel Richie stepped aside and let drummer Walter Orange take the microphone for this hit. Orange’s vocals are perfectly funky. He co-wrote and sang lead in other songs, too.
“Sweet Love” is obviously tender, but I find it more simple than expected. With Richie’s high register, he could easily make ballads sound over the top. In this song, he doesn’t, and that makes the track a pleasant listen.
“This is Your Life” is another slow-paced song and not my favorite. I prefer the Commodores with a more upbeat rhythm, but it does have nice lyrics.
Do what you want to do
So much in life to see you through
Be what you want to be
Be strong and tell the world you’re free
— “This is Your Life”
“Too Hot Ta Trot” picks up where “Brick House” leaves off. It’s a sassy song again revolving around an attractive woman. I’m determined to make this phrase cool again. The song was performed in the 1978 disco comedy film “Thank God It’s Friday.”
“Easy” is the Commodores' most listened to song on Spotify. Richie wrote the song. It’s a wonderful track that I put on my playlist called “Heavenly.” The playlist features all the songs I consider true gifts from heaven, such as Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park” and, of course, Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.”
I hear a bit of blues in the mid-tempo song “Fancy Dancer,” and I dig it. It’s not my favorite song by a long shot, but I enjoy it — especially when they use my favorite funk vocal queue, “ow.”
“Just to Be Close to You” is a touching title and a sentimental song. I find this one extra heartfelt, especially with Richie’s spoken words at the beginning. It comes across like a cross between a meditation, sermon and wedding vows.
Then you came into my life
You made my jagged edges smooth
You made my direction so clear and you aw woman
You became my purpose my reason for livin’ girl
— “Just to Be Close to You”
“Slippery When Wet” would likely be the most fun to hear live. It’s groovy.
“Machine Gun” is a touch more experimental than the rest, featuring the electronic sound I imagine a space-y machine gun sounds like in an ‘80s video game. It has no lyrics, which doesn’t suit me in this particular song.
The album concludes with “Three Times a Lady,” a repetitive love song that definitely tugs the heartstrings. The objection of his affection is not only one time a proper lady, but three, and he loves her for it. He sees her as three times the value of an average person, and that’s a lovely notion.
There is nothing exceptionally eye-catching about this cover, but, honestly, I’m not a huge fan of 1970s, nor ‘80s, graphic design. The superhero-style font is entertaining, and I can certainly appreciate the flashiness of funk bands.