Lionel Richie spent much of the '90s relatively quiet, and when he attempted a comeback toward the end of the decade, it didn't make many waves. It wasn't until the early part of the 2000s that his profile increased considerably as his greatest-hits disc The Definitive Collection cracked the Top 20, he guest-judged on American Idol, and his daughter Nicole tramped around on the Fox reality show The Simple Life. All of this set the stage for Just for You, his 2004 return to adult contemporary soft rock. There are still gentle quiet storm overtones and subdued R&B beats on a few tracks, such as his duet with Daniel Bedingfield, "Do Ya," but the overall approach on this record is firmly within the polished, melodic soft rock that brought Richie to a massive crossover audience in the early '80s, only updated for contemporary radio. Just for You is a well-crafted record; if anything, it's a little too well crafted, sailing by on its sleek surfaces and carefully constructed songs, leaving it as nothing much more than a collection of romantic, mature mood music. It's effective romantic mood music, though, and after a few plays, a handful of the hooks begin to sink in, even if the songs themselves are never quite as memorable as his hits from the '80s. Nevertheless, this is one of the more appealing records Richie had made in quite some time, as it's both assured and unassuming, relaxed and tuneful. Unlike his '90s records, it's consistent, both in its quality of songs and its cohesive sound, and even if it's not a full-fledged comeback, it's a solid latter-day record that lives up to his legacy.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Lenny Kravitz
feat: Daniel Bedingfield