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Teena Marie

Playlist: The Bery Best of Teena Marie

(Epic/Legacy; US: 10 May 2011)

Not the best, but good nonetheless

R&B singer Teena Marie died of natural causes last December, and predictably the record company that put out some of her biggest hits has since put out a compilation of her material. That’s not a bad thing. Capitalizing on the death of an artist has a long and honored tradition in rock music. What’s disappointing is the choices included. While there’s her sole number one R&B hit “Ooh La La La” and her biggest crossover track, “Lovergirl” that reached number 4 on the top U.S. singles chart, the album inexplicably omits her top ten dance tracks, “Behind the Groove” and “I Need Your Lovin’” and other noteworthy cuts (“Fix It”, “Jammin’”). As this disc contains songs from non-Epic releases, including Motown and Stax, the choices for inclusion do not make sense. What is here certainly offers a nice smorgasbord of Marie’s repertoire, but calling this The Very Best of Teena Marie is misleading. But whether she’s singing a sultry tribute to Marvin Gaye, sultrily duetting with her sometime lover Rick James, or offering tender emotions on the laidback “Sunny Skies”, Marie’s impressive pipes never let her down.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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By Dave Howell
23 Aug 2005
After leaving Motown, she was still going strong when she reached Epic. Robbery is made for the dance floor.
16 Dec 2002
In the past, it has been all too easy to identify many of these white artists under the rubric of 'blue-eyed soul'. But I'd like to argue for a separate category known as 'white chocolate' -- that which 'looks' different but contains all the flavor and the texture of the original.
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