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Naked to the World

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Album Review

Teena Marie's popularity had decreased by 1988, when she found herself competing with considerably less talented Prince clones, Madonna wannabes, and Paula Abdul sound-alikes. But she managed to have both a hit album and an artistic triumph in Naked to the World, which found her taking a more high-tech, contemporary-sounding (by 1988 standards) approach to production without abandoning the classic soul and funk elements that made her so appealing to begin with. Among the treasures: the unapologetically sentimental, early-'70s ballad "Ooo La La La" (which proudly proclaims its allegiance to soul music's golden era, with references to Bloodstone's "Natural High" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"), the addictively funky "Work It," and the sassy, clever "Trick Bag." The sparks usually flew when Lady T formed a duet with Rick James, and the sweaty "Call Me (I Got Yo Number)" and the ballad "The Once and Future Dream" are no exceptions.

Biography

Born: 05 March 1956 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

No white artist sang R&B more convincingly than Teena Marie, whose big, robust vocals were so black-sounding that when she was starting out, some listeners wondered if she was a light-skinned African-American. Marie grew up in west Los Angeles in a neighborhood that was nicknamed "Venice Harlem" because of its heavy black population. The singer/songwriter/producer was in her early twenties when, around 1977, she landed a job at Motown Records. It was at Motown that she met her mentor and paramour-to-be,...
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