Eighties 'fireside soul' queen's first album in 10 years

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Anita Baker – My Everything

Baker’s opulent contralto is so symbolic of a certain strain of ’80s soul that she warranted a first name shout on the recent Twista/Kanye West smash “Slow Jamz”. Her ‘female Luther Vandross’ tag was, however, a mixed blessing and, by the time of her last LP, Rhythm Of Love (1994), her appeal had faded. A decade of child-rearing domesticity has neither stimulated her songwriting nor altered a vocal approach which holds back as much as it lets loose. The tasteful production, cast of svelte session men and duet with Babyface will all ensure heavy rotation on Jazz FM. But she’s all suffocating style, no sweat.