Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Chaka Khan: Naughty [Warner Bros., 1980]
Although she's grown into her jazzy pretensions in a distinctively pop way, replete with borderline banality and wretched excess, her distinctive pleasures aren't available on the pop surface. You have to concentrate to hear her outcomp Leon Pendarvis on "Clouds" or remold the melody of "So Naughty" or bop the funk on "All Night's All Right." But what you're concentrating on isn't the song per se--it's transcendence of the song. Like I said, she's grown into her jazzy pretensions. B+