It's ironic when you think about it -- even though Teena Marie was dropped by Epic in the early '90s and spent the rest of the decade without a record deal, her former labels were still anxious to make money off of her by assembling collections of her best-known work. Such collections, which continued to surface in the early 2000s, focus on one of two periods -- either Marie's Motown period of the late '70s and early '80s or her Epic period of 1983-1990. Released in 2001, The Millennium Collection: The Best of Teena Marie falls into the former category and contains 11 songs she provided for Motown from 1979-1981. Many of the definitive hits that Motown offered on its 1994 release I Need Your Lovin': The Best of Teena Marie are also offered on this CD, including "Square Biz," "Behind the Groove," "I Need Your Lovin'," "Portuguese Love," and "I'm a Sucker for Your Love" (the duet with Rick James that put her on the map back in 1979). But unlike the 1994 release, this disc doesn't contain any previously unreleased rarities -- just the essential Motown singles, along with a few worthwhile album tracks like "Now That I Have You" from 1980's Lady T. When this CD came out in 2001, Marie's die-hard fans continued to hope that eventually she would land another record deal. But major labels weren't exactly lining up to sign her, and many other R&B veterans who were huge in the 1980s found themselves in the same boat. For those who haven't experienced the joys of Marie's Motown output, this CD is a fine starting point.
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of Teena Marie Review
by Alex Henderson