Consumer Guide Album
Anita Baker: Rapture [Elektra, 1986]
Having listened far more than natural inclination dictated, I've become actively annoyed with this vocal watershed. From its strong lounge-jazz beat to its conscious avoidance of distracting lyrical detail, it's all husky, burnished mood, the fulfillment of the quiet-storm format black radio devised to lure staider customers away from white-bread temptations like soft rock and easy listening. God knows it's more soulful, and sexier, too, but that's all it is--a reification of the human voice as vehicle of an expression purer than expression ever ought to be.