Anita Baker

Giving You the Best That I Got

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The sizeable following that Anita Baker acquired with Rapture proved quite receptive to the only slightly less appealing Giving You the Best That I Got -- an album that's quite similar to its predecessors. Though not quite on a par with The Songstress or Rapture, Best is far superior to most of 1988's uninspired R&B releases. Instead of tampering with Rapture's consistently romantic and mellow soul/pop approach, Elektra brought back that album's producer, Michael J. Powell, and kept her at the top of the charts with such sleek yet earthy fare as "Just Because" (whose harmonies bring to mind producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, but lack the hip-hop elements they're quick to employ), "Priceless," the haunting "Good Love," and the title song. Much of Baker's music has contained jazz overtones, but on the Brazilian-influenced, slightly bossa nova-ish "Good Enough," Sarah Vaughan's influence becomes even more apparent -- and indicates that she is making a tremendous mistake by not recording outright jazz.

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