Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday: Lionel Richie, Dancing on the Ceiling

In light of this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I would like to take a retrospective journey to 1986 when the Boston Celtics were reigning NBA champions, and Lionel Richie had recently been awarded an Oscar for his ballad “Say You, Say Me” from the film “White Nights.” The public eagerly anticipated a new album, and on August 5th, Richie released his third solo project, “Dancing on the Ceiling,” made available in record stores.

The album’s first single, “Say You Say Me,” emphasizes the importance of friendship and human connection. Richie’s lyrics are inspired by a dream he once had where people played games in the dark while wearing masks, representing the idea of hiding behind walls of doubt. The chorus encourages individuals to speak candidly and honestly with each other, emphasizing the need for true friendship and unwavering support, regardless of the circumstances.

The second single from Richie’s album, “Dancing on the Ceiling,” powerfully celebrates the essence of 80s euphoria and the joy of communal celebration. The track urges listeners to let loose, shed their inhibitions, and join in the fun as they climb the walls in exhilaration. The infectious chorus and lively instrumentation paint a vivid picture of the transformative power of music and the collective euphoria that comes with coming together to dance and celebrate.

The metaphor “dancing on the ceiling” represents the unbridled excitement and freedom of losing oneself in the music and the moment. It encapsulates the feeling of being transported to a magical place where the rules of gravity no longer apply. Ultimately, the song is a powerful testament to the transcendent power of music and the transformative nature of dancing and celebrating together.

The following few songs were all signature Lionel ballads. “Love Will Conquer All” conveys that love can conquer anything. “Deep River Woman” tells the story of a man’s realization of his love. “Ballerina Girl” is a heartfelt tribute to his daughter, with emotionally charged lyrics. The last single from the album was “Se La.” It is an uplifting song that promotes unity, peace, and a world free from despair and hatred. The phrase “se la” repeated in the song is a call to action, urging the listeners to imagine a better world and take the necessary steps to make it a reality.

After this project’s release, Richie took a much-needed break from the industry; after all his success, it was much deserved.

Final Grade: B

“Dancing on the Ceiling” is available on all streaming platforms.

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Second Listen Sunday: Lionel Richie, Dancing on the Ceiling