20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Commodores
The work of the Commodores can be divided into two general categories: adult-contemporary ballads (motivated by Lionel Richie) and punchy pop-funk (motivated by the rest of the band). “Sail On,” “Easy,” and “Three Times a Lady” are some of the band’s signature songs — everyone knows them, everyone loves them, but in actuality, they are more of a prelude to Richie’s solo career than examples of the Commodores at their best. The band’s power is best captured on “Brick House” and “Machine Gun,” two grooves forever capable of putting bodies in motion. Then, there are the songs that merge Richie’s fragile sensibility with the band’s feel for funk: “Sweet Love,” “Just to Be Close To You,” and the sterling late-career single “Lady (You Bring Me Up).” Admittedly, 20th Century Masters moves a little slow for a band that was famous in its time for getting the party started. Still, the collection gives a worthy picture of the group’s musicianship and attention to songcraft, the two qualities that put the Commodores above so many similarly minded ‘70s funk acts.