TGJ Replay: Anita Baker’s ‘Rhythm of Love’

Published: Thursday 30th Jan 2014 by Rashad

After a lengthy break on the bench, ‘TGJ Replay’ is back!

Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s newest retrospective segment – a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits.  Today we roll down memory lane to Queen of Quiet Storm Anita Baker (who celebrated a birthday this week) and her 1994 comeback album ‘Rhythm of Love’:

anitabaker

1986 saw R&B enchantress Anita Baker skyrocket to the top of charts with the success of her sophomore album ‘Rapture’, lined with what would later become her signature hits like ‘Sweet Love’, ‘Same Ole Love (365 Days)’, and ‘You Bring Me Joy’.  Following its success with her 1988 #1 album ‘Giving You The Best That I Got’, Baker – aptly dubbed the Queen of Quiet Storm – reigned over R&B and pop charts alike with her jazz-tinged offerings.

But, when the Quiet Storm potentate’s platinum-selling 1990 album ‘Compositions’ didn’t make much noise on charts (despite being greeted with massive critical acclaim), the songstress took time off to regroup and focus on her family life.

Anita_and_Baby

The ensuing four years were certainly not for nought, however.  With a renewed, modernized sound and sassy new image to match, Anita returned with her fifth album ‘Rhythm of Love’ – a 90s melting pot of pop, jazz, rock, and R&B.  While the musical recipe was one Baker had long perfected, unlike its predecessors, ‘Rhythm’ showcased a sexier Anita – one full in touch with her womanhood and unabashedly baring her ‘Body And Soul’…

‘Body & Soul’

Kicking off the album with the piano-laced single ‘Body & Soul’, Baker thrilled fans with her new sultry sound and look.  That now iconic haircut was a symbol that the new Anita had certainly arrived.  And, if the song’s performance on charts was indication, her arrival was more than welcomed.

‘Body And Soul’ (live)

Peaking in the lower top 40 and giving Baker her first top 40 since 1988’s ‘Just Because’, the song’s success provided its parent album, ‘Rhythm of Love’, a sturdy launching pad as it would go on to debut at #3 on Billboard 200 with sales of 184,000.

A steady seller for much of 1994 into 1995, ‘Rhythm of Love’ was a homerun with critics as well.  Lauded for its lining with high-spirited remakes of ‘My Funny Valentine’, Carly Simon‘s ‘You Belong To Me’, ‘The Look of Love’, and ‘It’s Been You’, the album managed to masterfully weave together cool of the 90s slow-jam without losing touch with Anita’s old school -isms (so to speak).  That is to say, the jazziness that drenched her music and separated her from the pack of powerhouse divas that she shared tenancy with on Billboard charts.

‘My Funny Valentine’

‘It’s Been You’

Proof of the new Anita was probably most evident in her now iconic ‘I Apologize’ video.  Literally baring her ‘Body And Soul’ , fans immediately gravitated to the sexy slow jam with no apologies needed nor requested…

‘I Apologize’

At a time where gangsta rap, baby-making R&B, and rumpshakers were ruling charts, Anita showed ’em how to be sexy while maintaining a level of class.  Tapping into a sensuous side that her well-covered 80s-self would have never dared, ‘I Apologize’ launched itself right onto a list of the decade’s most memorable R&B hits all courtesy of that unforgettable scat at the end (reminiscent of her earlier hit ‘Been So Long’) and, of course, that video.

Turning up the heat in a world where Toni Braxton had become music’s new baritone it girl, the song’s sister content and parent album would later lend Baker four (overall) Grammy nods, but it would be ‘Apologize’ that would land her 8th trophy.  This time in the ‘Best Female R&B Vocal Performance’ category.

‘I Apologize’ (live)

Yes, the album’s promotion may have ignited a legal battle between Baker and label Elektra Records [consequently ending her stay aboard that label].  But, unsatisfactory promotion or not, the album pressed passed the double platinum mark and gave the songstress her fourth consecutive platinum seller.

While we anxiously await her newest project ‘Love In The Future’, we look to the past to bob our heads to the likes of ‘I Apologize’ and ‘Sometimes I Wonder Why’.  We still get all our life from her ‘My Funny Valentine’ rendition, but you tell us:


Your thoughts?

 

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  1. Bey Fan January 30, 2014

    No Fairy Tales…. Thats my favorite song. Queen of Jazz….

  2. ROSEGOLD January 30, 2014

    I am SUCH a fan of Anita’s voice and music! Her discography is flawless. I don’t own any of her albums, and I should look into purchasing lol, but I do own her greatest hits. I grew up on her music. My mom listed to Anita, Rachelle Ferrell, Whitney, Phyllis Hyman, Patti, Luther, Donny Hathaway and more as she cooked or cleaned the house. I was always surrounded by good music. “Body And Soul” and “I Apologize” are gems! I can’t pick a favorite out of the two, but IA always comes to memory when I think of Anita. “Sweet Love” and “Just Because” are my all-time faves by her.

  3. Dontdoit January 30, 2014

    I’d have to ride with Body and Soul on this one, but overall I can’t pick one. You Bring me Joy, No One in the World,Rapture, Sweet Love… I could go on. This woman is iconic

  4. Bey Fan January 30, 2014

    Anita’s music is so relaxing. It really puts you in a relax state. Her voice is so smooth. Smh…thanks TGJ now imma have to pull out all my albums.

  5. The Boy Toy January 30, 2014

    Anita SLAYker!

  6. Absolved January 30, 2014

    This was Anita’s first post-Toni Braxton album, so she made changes to her image and sound. “Body and Soul” remains her all time best song. The vocal climax of that song was incredible. I remember this all over R&B radio in the fall of ’94. Sadly, a song like this wouldn’t be played on R&B/Hip Hop stations today; instead it would be remanded to “Urban AC,” in between a bunch of oldies.

  7. anonymous January 30, 2014

    this was a great album. I like Its been you, body and soul and I apologize. Im waiting for her comeback.

  8. Navy Nick January 30, 2014

    MY TOP 3 SINGERS: ANITA/TONI/BRANDY TOP 3 PERFORMERS: JANET/BEYONCE/USHER (AMAZING WOMAN RIGHT HERE)

  9. kwasi January 30, 2014

    Great article.TGT should keep it classy and professional like this and the blog may have more followers. Anita is a songbird supreme without getting naked. Check out “whatever it takes” from the Compositions album.

  10. Touché January 30, 2014

    Love Anita. Her smokey voice is divine.

  11. Jaime September 6, 2014

    Algunos articսlߋs me engancharon mas perߋ bueno, nno esta mal tampoco :
    )

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