Can't Get Enough
20th Century 444
Released: August 1974
Chart Peak: #1
Weeks Charted: 38
Certified Gold: 9/19/74
"We got it together, didn't we?" Barry White asks in that husky bedroom voice of his at the beginning of this newest album. "We've definitely got our thing together, don't we baby? Isn't it nice? I mean, really, when you really sit and think about it, isn't it really, really nice?" Well, no, really. White's lush compositions have become dance and make-out standards -- here, he has turned out five more in what is now an overly familiar mold. Another original, "Oh Love, Well We Finally Made it," was produced previously by White for Love Unlimited. The formula: shimmering pools of violins whipped to a light chop, into which White sinks his leaden vocals, half-spoken, half-sung, always as if from the next pillow. Sometimes it works -- as in the title song and "I Love You More than Anything," both effective mixes of the tender and the tough -- but the sameness gets oppressive and "I Can't Believe You Love Me," carried to 10:23, is downright numbing. White may be a master of the new black mood music, but he's Xeroxing himself down to a faint, smudgy shadow.
- Vince Aletti, Rolling Stone, 10/24/74.
Barry's latest set, following hot on the heels of the top five title cut single, is perhaps his most ambitious and certainly his most well done effort to date. Highlighted by his lush orchestral arrangements, his distinctive vocal style, with the talking intros that have become his trademark, and the steadiest singing he has yet achieved, he has produced another LP virtually guaranteed to achieve instant play on pop, soul and easy listening radio formats.
- Billboard, 1974.
Inspirational Clichés: "doin' our own thing," "different strokes for different folks," "rather fight than switch." Inspirational Emphases: "very important," "very very very very true," "truly truly." Inspirational Epithet: "hope-to-die woman." Inspirational Drum Sound: "thwop." B-
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Though based on the West Coast and often associated with disco, the songwriter, producer, and deep-voiced love god Barry White (1944-2003) made his biggest artistic contribution during the heyday of smooth, orchestral Philly soul. In 1973 and 1974, White and/or his Love Unlimited Orchestra were inescapable on the radio and, alongside the O'Jays and Isaac Hayes, helped trigger one of pop music's gaudiest outbreaks of polished symphonics. In that two-year period alone, White's recordings generated more than sixteen million dollars in sales.
White's 1974 release Can't Get Enough is the most consistent in his discography, and an all-time classic of baby-making bedroom soul. It begins, as many White projects do, with an opulent instrumental. "Mellow Mood Part 1" serves as a showcase for the band of ace session musicians. White kept on retainer, which included rhythm guitarist Melvin "Wah-Wah" Watson and Crusaders' bassist Wilton Felder. Then comes "You're the First, the Last, My Everything," a driving disco anthem that became the blueprint for big hits by Donna Summer and others. It might just be the one track that best epitomizes the songwriting and production innovations of disco.
From there White dishes a few trademark spoken-word bended-knee declarations (including the one from the album's other massive hit, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe") interspersed with shining string fantasias. White was frequently derided as a one-trick artist, and it's true that as a singer, he did rely on a limited repertoire of quiet groans and deeply worshipful postcoital crooning. But what he couldn't do with his voice he did with his orchestra: Like nothing before or since, these inventive arrangements cook forever on low flame, creating an ideal setting for an evening of bliss.
- Tom Moon, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, 2008.
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