Teena Marie

Naked to the World

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Teena Marie's popularity had decreased by 1988, when she found herself competing with considerably less talented Prince clones, Madonna wannabes, and Paula Abdul sound-alikes. But she managed to have both a hit album and an artistic triumph in Naked to the World, which found her taking a more high-tech, contemporary-sounding (by 1988 standards) approach to production without abandoning the classic soul and funk elements that made her so appealing to begin with. Among the treasures: the unapologetically sentimental, early-'70s ballad "Ooo La La La" (which proudly proclaims its allegiance to soul music's golden era, with references to Bloodstone's "Natural High" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"), the addictively funky "Work It," and the sassy, clever "Trick Bag." The sparks usually flew when Lady T formed a duet with Rick James, and the sweaty "Call Me (I Got Yo Number)" and the ballad "The Once and Future Dream" are no exceptions.

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