By 1985 the group was a vastly different unit that routinely went gold and platinum in the mid-'70s and early '80s. Lionel Richie exited and took arranger/producer James Anthony Carmichael with him. Guitarist Thomas McClary also begged off and left the group. Those facts thinned out the writing and production ranks of the band. For the Nightshift album, the Commodores worked with producer Dennis Lambert. "Animal Instinct" has a different sound than the group was known for. This has the snap of the synthesized sounds, a vocoder saying the title, and a nondescript style that was done by nearly hundreds of artists. The only thing that sets this apart from middling pop or bust R&B is the lead vocals of Walter Orange. Matching his irascible tenor with salacious borderline inappropriate sentiments was a win-win situation. "Animal Instinct" of course had to have its share of tacky lyrics with roar, savage hunt, and call of the wild all making an expected appearance. Orange also does some potentially embarrassing Michael Jackson-styled "hee-hee"s to further push this into the fatuous category. Released nearly six months after the "Nightshift" single, this went to a respectable number 23 on the R&B charts. The pop charts weren't as sold and this just slid under the Top 50 at a debilitating number 43.