Top 10 Anita Baker Songs

Anita Baker Songs

Photo: MC2 Erica R. Gardner, USN, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Anita Baker Songs list takes a look at one of music’s popular singers of ballads. She is a quiet storm staple on r&b radio stations. Baker had her first Top 10 single with “Angel.” She rose to fame with her classic album Rapture. She has a vocal range that extends three octaves. Some of her hits include “Sweet Love,” “Caught Up in the Rapture,” “No One in the World,” “Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year),” “Just Because,” “Giving You the Best That I’ve Got” as well as others. She has one gold album and five platinum albums. Baker has won multiple awards during her career. She won Grammy Awards, American Music Awards and Soul Train Awards. Let’s get to know Anita Baker better.

Anita Denise Baker was born January 26, 1958. She didn’t have the best childhood. Her parents abandoned her when she was two. Her foster parents raised her until they died when she was 12. Her foster sister became her guardian. She was singing in nightclubs when she was 16. A bandleader named David Washington discovered Baker and he wanted her to audition for his band. Did you know she got her start in a group? She joined the group Chapter 8 in 1975. They released the album Chapter 8 in 1979. It features the singles “Ready for Your Love” and “I Just Want to Be Your Girl.” Unfortunately, they didn’t take off successfully and their label decided to drop them. The label didn’t think Baker had star potential when they dropped the group. They didn’t know what they were talking about because she proved them wrong.

Anita Baker went solo by 1983. She released her debut album The Songstress in 1983. The album peaked at number 12 on the r&b charts and number 138 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Angel,” “You’re the Best Thing Yet,” “No More Tears” and “Feel the Need.” The album sold over 300,000 copies. She had hit singles from this album, but she wasn’t happy with it. She didn’t receive royalties for her work on The Songstress. She wanted to leave her label, but she was sued. She won her case and was able to record at a different label.

Baker’s next project would prove to be a bigger success than her debut album. Rapture was released in 1986. The album peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number 11 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the hit singles “Sweet Love,” “Caught Up in the Rapture,” “Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)” and “No One in the World.” This album won multiple awards. The album sold over five million copies. The album definitely put Ms. Baker on the map. Would she be able to keep up the momentum for her next project?

Giving You the Best That I Got was released in 1988. The album peaked at number one on both the r&b charts and the Billboard 200 charts. This album was Baker’s only number one pop album. It features the singles “Giving You the Best That I Got,” “Just Because” and “Lead Me into Love.” She won Grammy and Soul Train Awards for this album. The album sold over five million copies. It was just as successful as Rapture.

Compositions was released in 1990. Baker had more creative control with this album. The album peaked at number three on the r&b charts and number five on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Talk to Me,” “Soul Inspiration” and “Fairy Tales.” She won a Grammy Award for this album. It sold over one million copies during its release.

Anita Baker took a break from singing to focus on her family. She went back to the studio and released her next album Rhythm of Love in 1994. The album peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number three on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Body and Soul,” “I Apologize,” “It’s Been You,” “You Belong to Me” and “My Funny Valentine.” Baker won a Grammy Award for the album. It sold over two million copies.

She took another hiatus to concentrate on being a mother. She couldn’t stay away from singing. She returned to the studio to record more music. She released My Everything in 2004. The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 charts. The album sold 132,000 copies during its first week. It features the singles “You’re My Everything” and “Like You Used to Do.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.

Anita Baker was able to have hits throughout her career. She took breaks to make time for her personal life and was still able to achieve success. It’s not that easy for r&b and jazz artists (especially women) to cross over and have pop success. She was able to achieve that feat. It’s hard to believe there were producers who felt like she didn’t have star appeal. She proved them wrong when she went solo and achieved success. She paved the way for other female artists such as Toni Braxton, Lalah Hathaway, Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Leelah James as well others. Baker has more than 10 hits so narrowing it down was a challenge. It was basically a coin toss to determine which songs would make the list. Our Top 10 Anita Baker Songs list will feature her best songs.

# 10 – Angel

The first song on our Top 10 Anita Baker Songs list is “Angel” from The Songstress album. The song has an r&b and jazz sound. The track is a quiet storm staple. If you listen to quiet storm music, you are already familiar with this track. This is one of her breakthrough tracks. The romantic ballad is about her expressing her love for her “angel.” The song comes off sounding romantic and soulful without being nauseating. It’s perfect for people who are in love. The lyrics are insightful and meaningful. The lyrics will put you in a romantic mood.

The music is silky and smooth like velvet. Baker’s husband at the time provides the guitar riffs for the song. The guitar gives the song a funky beat. The rest of the music is perfect to listen to when you want to relax or when you are in a romantic place. It’s the perfect bedroom music. Baker’s smoky vocals on this track will hypnotize you. She is commanding attention and she is impossible to ignore. She has a deeper voice than most female singers, but she was able to go up a couple of octaves to do runs. She also held little notes in the song.

# 9 – You Bring Me Joy

The next song on our Top 10 Anita Baker Songs list is “You Bring Me Joy” from the Rapture album. It has an r&b sound. The affectionate song is an ode to a love. She tells him that he brings her joy. The lyrics aren’t necessarily about a lover. They could easily be about the love between family members or friends. The lyrics work as long as the person brings you joy. The lyrics are optimistic and will put a smile on your face. It will make you believe in all types of love. The music is beautiful. It’s a combination of r&b and jazz music. Fans of both genres would appreciate the sound. The piano chords give the song a jazz sound.

The drum programming gives the song an r&b sound. The saxophone makes the song sound sexy. The melody is soothing a relaxing. Listening to it makes you feel as if you’re taking a bubble bath. There is a saxophone solo that is definitely worth a listen. The saxophone player wants to take listeners on a romantic journey. Baker begins the song by scatting like a jazz singer. Her warm vocals will soothe your soul. She sings in her normal contralto voice, but she also raises the bar and vocally soars. She pours her heart out after the bridge. You definitely have to listen to the song all the way to the end to hear her outstanding belting. It’s hard to believe someone who sings in her tone could show such power.

# 8 – Mystery

The underrated song is from the Rapture album. It has an r&b and jazz beat. The magical song is about the “mystery” of love. She wants to find her happy ending. She wants to get the love back that she lost. This is a cover of the Manhattan Transfer’s song. Anyone who has lost a love could relate to the heartfelt lyrics. The musical arrangement is soulful and melodic. The bass is haunting and romantic. It will make you feel emotional. The piano chords are enchanting. The musicians did their thing. They put their feet in the music. The music is intoxicating and will quickly hook you onto the song. The music is perfect for the bedroom. It compliments Baker’s vocals very well. It’s time to talk about her vocals. Baker’s voice is flawless on this track. She proves why she’s the songstress.

She does an excellent job selling the song. She makes you believe that she wants things the way they used to be. You can’t help wanting her to get her old lover back. She expresses her sadness tenderly. She sings about wanting the love she lost back. She sounds operatic on the track. She takes us on a mystery ride because we don’t know if she’s going to stay in her lane or soar to heights unknown. Her tone is so perfect and she can do so many things with it. Baker didn’t really change her version of the song from the original track. She sticks with the formula of the Manhattan Transfer’s version. The singer (Janis) from the group sings in a higher key from Baker. Their voices are similar to each other when Baker sings in her upper register. Both versions of the song are good and worth a listen. It’s too bad this song wasn’t a single because it’s very good.

# 7 – Body and Soul

The sensual song is from the Rhythm of Love album. The song has an r&b and jazz sound. It’s a cautious song about her being afraid of getting hurt if she falls in love again. She’s deeply in love with the man in the song, but she wants to make sure he feels the same way about her. She wants to give her “body and soul” to him. She wants to know how he feels before she gives herself to him. This song is relatable to anyone who is looking for a commitment and is afraid to put themselves out there because they fear the other person doesn’t feel the same way.

Here is some trivia about the song. Anita Baker wasn’t originally wanted for the song. The writers wanted Hall & Oates to sing the track. The duo thought the song was more suitable for Baker to sing. It turns out they were right because the song was made for her. It’s hard to imagine anyone else singing this song but her. Her vocals are sexy and seductive. She does vocal gymnastics. She goes up and down throughout the song like a roller coaster. She shows excellent control because she can sing in her lower register and her upper register without missing a beat. Her tone is beautiful regardless of which pitch she chooses for her songs. She turns the song into a power ballad after the bridge. She builds it up and knocks the song out of the park.

# 6 – Giving You the Best That I Got

The magical song is from the album of the same name. It has an r&b, soul and jazz sound. The unconditional love song is about her devotion to the man she loves. This is Anita Baker’s biggest hit single. The track crossed over to many genres. Here is some trivia about the song. The writer of the song originally wanted r&b singer Howard Hewett to sing the song. When Anita Baker heard it, she wanted to sing the song. She changed some of the lyrics of the song. She felt connected to it because she was engaged at the time she recorded it. She changed the music so the tempo would be faster. She was able to receive a writing credit because of the changes she made to the song.

The track has become so popular that its become a wedding song for couples. It’s not a surprise that it’s considered a wedding anthem because the music is romantic. It has an excellent jazz beat that will put you in a romantic mood. The piano chords are soothing and relaxing. The music is rhythmic and is perfect for quiet storm and jazz radio. You can close your eyes and practically picture Baker singing this song in a jazz club. Her vocals are guaranteed to send chills down your spine.

# 5 – Just Because

The next song on our Top 10 Anita Baker Songs list is “Just Because” from the Giving You the Best That I Got album. It has an r&b and jazz sound. The wedding anthem is a love song dedicated to the man she loves. She loves him “just because” she does. It’s a simple song with a simple message. It doesn’t take much to figure out what this song is about at all. She doesn’t need any reason to love her man because she just does. People who are in relationships based on unconditional love can relate to this song. The piano chords are phenomenal.

The pianist is quite the maestro on the keys. The piano will put you in a trance while you listen to it because it’s very hypnotic. The melody is similar to Baker’s hit “No One in the World.” It has a little more tempo, but the melodies are quite similar. Baker sings in time with the music. Her smoky vocals are superb. There isn’t enough space here to talk about how magical her voice is on this song. She hits so many notes and it’s impressive. She takes everyone on a vocal roller coaster and you don’t want to get off. She holds the notes effortlessly. The notes she holds are a showstopper. She’s taking everyone to church.

# 4 –  Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)

The feel-good song is from the Rapture album. It has an r&b and soul beat. The memorable song is about talking about the good times in a relationship. She wants to go down memory lane and talk about the good times she experienced with her lover. This track was a break away from her ballads. She’s in her comfort zone when she sings ballads. “Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)” gave her a chance to do something different musically. The midtempo song gave her chance to spread her wings. She proved she’s not just a balladeer. She could handle songs with tempo.

The music has a funky bassline and a thumping drumbeat. It’s perfect for moving around in your chair. There’s no way sit still listening to it. The music is mellow even though it has tempo. The musicians are at the top of their game with this song. Baker’s voice on this song is the truth. Her vocals are smooth like butter. Her smoky vocals sound similar to Toni Braxton’s on this song. Her voice should come with a cautionary tale because she will send so many chills up and down your spine. This song is absolutely flawless and is a classic without sounding dated.

# 3 – No One in the World

The regretful song is from the Rapture album. It has an r&b soul sound. The soulful ballad is about her not being able to compare her ex-boyfriend to anyone else. She said no one could compare to her ex. No one loves her the way he did. The lyrics are moving and tender. The title is a little misleading. At first glance, it seems like it’s a love ballad. If you continued to listen (there’s no way you couldn’t) you will learn that she’s singing about a relationship that ended. People who have trouble getting over someone should have no problem relating to this gem. The music is slick and smooth. It has funky guitar riffs that give the song flare. The piano and drums are soft and build up to a crescendo. The horn section is absolutely fire. Speaking of fire, there’s no way we can’t mention those phenomenal vocals.

Anita Baker is determined to take you to church with her gospel like vocals. The woman proves that she belongs in music. It’s hard to believe someone thought she didn’t have star power. They need to listen this song and see if they feel the same way. The woman could sing the alphabet and make it sound smooth and soulful. She belts throughout the song and brings it home from the bridge to the finale. It’s impossible to sit through the song and not sing it. You may or may not sing it the way she does, but it’s hard not to sing along. She turns this song into a power ballad.

# 2 –  Sweet Love

The hypnotic song is from the Rapture album. The song has an r&b and soul sound. This passionate song is self-explanatory. She sings about her love for her significant other. He is her “sweet love.” The song will grab you the second the music starts. The gospel-inspired piano and toe-tapping beat will instantly grab your attention. The music is melodic and has some tempo that will have you bopping your head to the beat. It’s perfect for dancing with someone you love. This is another track that you can picture her singing in a club. It could also be played at a wedding.

The lyrics are beautiful without being sappy. The richness of Anita Baker’s voice is amazing. It doesn’t know any limits. Her voice is emotionally expressive. She sells this song very well. She sounds convincing while she talks about her “sweet love.” Her gorgeous vocals will grab your attention. You think you know where her voice is going to go, but she surprises you. She goes up and down vocally like a firecracker. Her vocalization is breathtaking. It’s not a surprise that this is one of her signature songs because the song is amazing. She has an old soul because she was only in her 20s when she recorded the song. She sounds very mature for her age. The last three songs were a toss up for the number one spot.

 

# 1 –  Caught Up in the Rapture

The number one song on our Top 10 Anita Baker Songs list is “Caught Up in the Rapture” from the Rapture album. The song has an r&b and jazz sound to it. The delightful love song is about the love she has for her man. She’s caught up in his love. The title is unique because there aren’t too many songs that compare love to being caught up in a rapture. Baker starts the song off by scatting. She creates a language while she’s scatting. She makes it sound like music. It sounds smooth and cool at the same time. The music is melodic and rhythmic. The song has a romantic groove that makes it sound soulful. The bassline is superb. The musical arrangement is exquisite. The drums give the song some tempo. The piano is soft and doesn’t overpower the track. The lyrics are infectious and inviting.

The chorus is catchy. She scats while she sings the chorus. It will stay in your head long after it’s done. She vocalizes in the song, but she doesn’t hold notes. She kept it sexy and simple. She didn’t need to hold too many notes because the music was soft and sexy. Everything she did was just enough to make this gem flawless. It’s not a surprise the song was hit for her. She put everything she had into this song and she created a masterpiece.

Top 10 Anita Baker songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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