Picks and Pans Review: Anita Baker

updated 09/13/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/13/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

My Everything
CRITIC'S CHOICE

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After recording classic slow jams like "Sweet Love" and "Giving You the Best That I Got," winning eight Grammys and being hailed by her fans sim-ply as the Songstress (named after her 1983 debut), Anita Baker walked away from the music business following the release of 1994's Rhythm of Love. Ten years and countless R&B diva wannabes later. Baker returns with her sixth studio album and proves t hat some singers don't go out of style. Sounding at once fresh and familiar, this sumptuous set showcases the smoky alto and jazz-kissed soul that have influenced everyone from Toni Braxton to Mary J. Blige. The feel-good first single, "You're My Everything." is vintage Baker, with its romantic lyric and live-sounding musical accompaniment. Elsewhere, the chanteuse teams up with Babyface for the tender duet "Like We Used to Do," which, like the entire disc, matches its adult theme to a sophisticated aes-t het ic. She closes the CD with "Men in My Life," a touching ode to her husband. Walter Bridgeforth. and sons Walter, 11, and Eddie, 10, that reveals exactly where Baker's priorities have been for the last decade.

R&B

DOWNLOAD THIS: "You're My Everything"

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