RAPTURE’S DELIGHT: Caught Up On Anita Baker

Sometimes, timing is everything.

On any give Friday night back in 1986, you could find me firmly planted in front of the television watching Friday Night Videos.  A few Prince or Janet videos would be plenty satisfying, so I didn’t mind sitting through tons of euro-pop and hair metal that would normally be played. However, I mysteriously drew the line with Anita Baker’s Sweet Love video.  I’m not sure why it offended me so much, but absolutely hated it.  Nothing about it was cool, funky or had any relevance for me.

Or so it seemed.  As luck would have it, age 13 would pass when Rapture’s fourth single came out, and I was a changed manboy.  Puberty had kicked in something awful, giving me all new ideas about the opposite sex.  And that’s when No One In The World came out.  I’ll partially blame Spike Lee for hooking me onto the video, but there would be no denying that powerful ballad.  Just as my body was thrusting lust for the female form upon my young mind, Anita’s verbal gymnastics grabbed me by the ears and insisted that I face the reality of a heavily nuanced relationship with love.

Gone were the days when I could pretend that love wasn't powerful.  Rapture spelled it all out for me. It’s not like I had anything figured out yet, but I knew that I wanted whomever I ended up with feeling like Anita did on her songs.  I mean, how happy of a song is Same Ole Love?  I’m convinced that the chorus will eventually become an ancient chant of harmonious passion.  I wanted to inspire this level of affinity.

It didn’t take much prodding for me to start looking for more Anita.  Soon I was replaying Caught Up In The Rapture over and over again, finding nirvana with every one of Anita’s “ah” vocalizations that appeared to never end.  And of course, Sweet Love has ended up being sweet music to my ears since those earlier bratty days.  

Thankfully, as more albums would follow Rapture, Anita was the same ole songbird, belting more lessons of love.  It wouldn’t be all listening, as Talk To Me laid out how important it is to share one’s burdens with your partner.  Good Love was sultry enough to teach my slightly older self that true affection was the key to a woman’s heart, and it would take dedication to get it right.  Just in case I was getting discouraged, thinking that it would be all give and no take, Giving You The Best That I Got serenaded my insecurities.  If all that wasn’t enough, Anita dropped perhaps the most important two words I ever needed for relationships:

I laugh at how callous I used to be to Sweet Love.  Thank god I grew up.

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