9 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Teena Marie settled into the '80s with Lovergirl, which contained the smash title track. That huge hit single anticipated the freestyle trend that would soon take over the club scene with songs like "Come Go with Me” by Exposé and “Show Me” by The Cover Girls. At a time when the R&B landscape was fracturing into the quiet storm of Anita Baker, the electro-funk of Prince, and the expanding genre of hip-hop, Teena Marie was comfortable in all corners. Whether it was the proto-rap grooves of “Help Youngblood Get to the Freaky Party” or the aerobic rock of “Alibi,” she was extremely flexible when it came to switching gears. Even though she was one of R&B's more mature vocalists, she had a youthful exuberance and emotionality that made her a perennial favorite of young listeners. The self-composed piano ballad “Light” can be seen as a precursor to the work of Alicia Keys, while the vulnerability and honesty of “My Dear Mr. Gaye” is astounding, especially considering that Teena Marie wrote and recorded it when she wasn't yet 30.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Teena Marie settled into the '80s with Lovergirl, which contained the smash title track. That huge hit single anticipated the freestyle trend that would soon take over the club scene with songs like "Come Go with Me” by Exposé and “Show Me” by The Cover Girls. At a time when the R&B landscape was fracturing into the quiet storm of Anita Baker, the electro-funk of Prince, and the expanding genre of hip-hop, Teena Marie was comfortable in all corners. Whether it was the proto-rap grooves of “Help Youngblood Get to the Freaky Party” or the aerobic rock of “Alibi,” she was extremely flexible when it came to switching gears. Even though she was one of R&B's more mature vocalists, she had a youthful exuberance and emotionality that made her a perennial favorite of young listeners. The self-composed piano ballad “Light” can be seen as a precursor to the work of Alicia Keys, while the vulnerability and honesty of “My Dear Mr. Gaye” is astounding, especially considering that Teena Marie wrote and recorded it when she wasn't yet 30.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

59 Ratings

A gem

God1st,

I have every single Teena Marie recording, either on disc or vinyl, and most of them on both. I mainly fell in love with "that voice" on her Rick James-produced debut LP "Wild n' Peaceful". Her signature song will forever be "Deja Vu" for me! The lyrics! But, this disc here has one of her all-time great slow jams, that rivals "Fire and Desire" with Rick. "We've Got To Stop Meeting Like This" is an awesome track that didn't get released as a single, but it should have been. She never got love from pop radio, thus never has been truly recognized for her many gifts, mainly "that voice".

Yes, She Is A Starchild!

RosesLavender,

As a person just out of teenage years that has grown up with Teena, I wish I were alive when this album was first released. This is what soul/funk/rock music is supposed to be about, and none of these other young singers of my generation have half of what Teena is packing in the album. I just wish that "Youngblood" and "Alibi" were as popularly known as "Lovergirl," "Out On a Limb," and the lovely tribute "My Dear Mr. Gaye." Listen to this album from start to finish, and get ready for Teena Marie to blow your mind the way music should.

About Teena Marie

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, Rick James, who ended up doing all of the writing and producing for her debut album of 1979, Wild and Peaceful. That LP, which boasted her hit duet with James, "I'm Just a Sucker for Your Love," didn't show Marie's picture -- so many programmers at black radio just assumed she was black. When her second album, Lady T, came out, much of the R&B world was shocked to see how fair-skinned she was. But to many of the black R&B fans who were eating her music up, it really didn't matter -- the bottom line was she was a first-rate soul singer whose love of black culture ran deep.

By her third album, 1980's gold Irons in the Fire, Marie was doing most of her own writing and producing. That album boasted the major hit "I Need Your Lovin'," and Marie went gold again with her next album, It Must Be Magic (which included the major hit "Square Biz"). It Must Be Magic turned out to be her last album for Motown, which she had a nasty legal battle with. Marie got out of her contract with Motown, and the case ended up with the courts passing what is known as "The Teena Marie Law" -- which states that a label cannot keep an artist under contract without putting out an album by him or her.

Switching to Epic in 1983, Marie recorded her fifth album, Robbery, and had a hit with "Fix It." In 1984, Marie recorded her sixth album, Starchild, and had her biggest pop hit ever with "Lovergirl." Though Marie had often soared to the top of the R&B charts, "Lovergirl" marked the first time she'd done so well in the pop market. Ironically, Marie was a white singer who had enjoyed little exposure outside the R&B market prior to "Lovergirl."

Three more Epic albums followed: 1986's Emerald City, 1988's Naked to the World (which contained her smash hit "Ooh La La La"), and 1990's Ivory. Unfortunately, Marie's popularity had faded considerably by the late '80s, and Epic dropped her. In 1994, the singer released Passion Play on her own Sarai Records label. Ten years later, she signed to Cash Money and released La Doña, featuring assistance from Gerald LeVert, Rick James, and MC Lyte. Sapphire followed two years later. Though both La Doña and Sapphire peaked at number three on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, she switched to Stax for her next album, 2009's Congo Square. On December 26 the following year, Marie died in her sleep at her home in Pasadena, California; she was 54 years of age. Marie's daughter Alia Rose subsequently oversaw the mixing, mastering, and release of Beautiful, an album recorded prior to Marie's passing. It was released through UMe in 2012. ~ Alex Henderson

  • ORIGIN
    Santa Monica, CA
  • GENRE
    R&B/Soul
  • BORN
    March 5, 1956

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