Anita Baker - Rapture (Elektra – 96 04441)
Rapture is the second album by the American vocalist Anita Baker. It was released in 1986, and became her breakout album, selling over 8 million copies worldwide (of which 5 million in the US) and earning her two Grammy Awards. The album's first track, "Sweet Love", was a top 10 Billboard hit in addition to winning a Grammy Award. The music video for the track "Same Ole Love" was filmed and recorded at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. While releasing the album, Baker and Michael J. Powell became friends and were members of the short-lived group Chapter 8 and Powell agreed to work with Baker on her next album.
Rapture was released by Elektra Records in March 1986, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard 200 in the United States and number 13 on the UK Albums Chart. Promoted with two hit singles in "Sweet Love" and "Caught Up in the Rapture", the album received significant airplay on both black radio and Top 40 formats, unlike Baker's 1983 debut The Songstress. By October 1987, Rapture had sold three million copies. It propelled Baker to stardom in soul and pop music during the late 1980s, winning two Grammy Awards and eventually sold over six million copies worldwide.
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Rob Hoerburger regarded Rapture as a relatively "modest" album compared to more histrionic female singers, while praising the symbiotic relationship Baker shared with her band. Occasionally, he believed, the groove-based music lacked variety, and the singer drifted into "some superfluous scatting and pseudo-jazz harmony", but Hoerburger ultimately deemed her "an acquired but enduring taste". At the end of 1986, Rapture was voted the 23rd best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics, published by The Village Voice. Robert Christgau, the newspaper's lead music critic, was less impressed and viewed the record as merely a soulful, sexier version of soft rock and easy listening: "it's all husky, burnished mood, the fulfillment of the quiet-storm format black radio ... a reification of the human voice as vehicle of an expression purer than expression ever ought to be".
In 1989, Rapture was ranked #36 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest albums from the 1980s. In retrospect, AllMusic's Alex Henderson said, "Rapture's tremendous success made it clear that there was still a sizeable market for adult-oriented, more traditional R&B singing." According to The Mojo Collection (2007), "when provocative new trends in black music were exploding from the street by the month, Baker kept her head and made a traditional (i.e., with its roots in the '70s) soul record with brooding, slow-burn minor tunes of romantic celebration and earthy longing."
"Sweet Love" (Anita Baker, Louis A. Johnson, Gary Bias; Copyright Old Brampton Road Music-Jobete Music) – 4:26
"You Bring Me Joy" (David Lasley; Copyright Almo Music Corp.) – 4:24
"Caught Up in the Rapture" (Garry Glenn, Dianne Quander; Copyright WB Music Corp.-Silver Sun Music-DQ Music) – 5:07
"Been So Long" (Baker; Copyright Baker's Tunes) – 5:07
"Mystery" (Rod Temperton; Copyright RodSongs & Almo Music Corp.) – 4:56
"No One in the World" (Ken Hirsch, Marti Sharron; Copyright ATV Music & Welbeck Music) – 4:10 *
"Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)" (Marilyn Mcleod, Darryl K. Roberts; Copyright Jobete Music) – 4:05
"Watch Your Step" (Baker; Copyright Baker's Tunes) – 4:54