Picks and Pans Review: Rhythm of Love
Anita Baker is proof that hitting pay dirt too early in a career can be a kiss of death to creativity: The R&B chanteuse has yet to recapture the superb quiet elegance that made her major label debut, Rapture (1986), such a stunning blend of soul, jazz and gospel. On Rhythm of Love, her first album since 1990's limp Compositions, Baker's alto sounds as lovely as ever. Unfortunately, though, it's stuck singing mostly unmemorable tunes. Though she flexes her songwriting chops (she wrote or cowrote five of the album's 12 songs) and enunciates more clearly than ever, nothing on Rhythm approaches Rapture's highlights. And her sluggish version of Carly Simon's "You Belong to Me" might make you long for the original. (Elektra)
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