Baker's deservedly obscure 1983 debut was reissued in 1991, long after her 1986 Rapture CD had garnered a Grammy and established her as a sophisticated, sensuous balladeer. Baker's smoky alto is recognizable enough, but it... more » lacks the emotional immediacy and dramatic phrasing of her later work. The best track here is obviously "Angel," which sounds like a less polished version of Baker's breakthrough hit, "Sweet Love." Otherwise, Baker fans will wince at the turgid arrangement of "Feel the Need," and chuckle over the kitsch horror of Baker trying to negotiate her way through the swirling clutter of the postdisco dance track "Squeeze Me." For completists only. --Britt Robson« less
Baker's deservedly obscure 1983 debut was reissued in 1991, long after her 1986 Rapture CD had garnered a Grammy and established her as a sophisticated, sensuous balladeer. Baker's smoky alto is recognizable enough, but it lacks the emotional immediacy and dramatic phrasing of her later work. The best track here is obviously "Angel," which sounds like a less polished version of Baker's breakthrough hit, "Sweet Love." Otherwise, Baker fans will wince at the turgid arrangement of "Feel the Need," and chuckle over the kitsch horror of Baker trying to negotiate her way through the swirling clutter of the postdisco dance track "Squeeze Me." For completists only. --Britt Robson
Michael Kerner | Brooklyn, New York U.S.A. | 06/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Anita Baker started in the music industry, her popularity was well below what fans would ever imagine in America. Where in Europe, the debut she captivated launched her into true stardom.The 1983 debut album, The Songstress, reflects Anita coming out of the dark, and into a world of mainstream proportions. Surprisingly, the album didn't catch on as Rapture did, largely because at that time music had segregational vues. While Anita couldn't get onto mainstream radio, she was often showcased on only African-American radio stations. The songs off The Songstress are elegant and truly amazing, from Do You Believe Me, to Angel, and No More Tears, Anita showed that very rare style of talent and determination that could be used in music.Although the album didn't catch on in America as Rapture did, Anita Baker maintained a rare future for true soul music of the 80's. While Anita Baker hasn't released an album since 1994's Rhythm Of Love, it has shown that Anita still has came a long way. I absolutely suggest people to buy this collection."
Modest beginnings for a major talent
John Jones | Chicago IL | 05/08/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When Anita Baker's 1983 debut album, "The Songstress," was finally released on CD in 1991, die-hard soul fans everywhere jumped for joy. Legal battles with the Beverly Glen label had kept Baker from recording for a time, but even after she established herself as a Grammy-winning diva for Elektra, "Songstress" was still nowhere to be found.As it turns out, a Best Of compilation with only a couple of "Songstress" tracks probably would have done the trick. "Angel" is the type of warm and classy ballad that fans have come to worship Anita for, and "No More Tears," while a bit over-the-top in its vocal, still ranks high on a list of fan favorites. "Will You Be Mine" is a low-key number that benefits from old-school soul sounds making a modern comeback; the track now sounds retro rather than just dated. Too bad the same can't be said for the likes of the disco-ish (yes, it's true) "Squeeze Me," or the attempt at lite funk on "Do You Believe Me." Elsewhere "Feel the Need" gets by well enough, but "You're the Best Thing Yet" and "Sometimes" are simply mediocre compositions that even Baker's distinctive pipes can't rescue.Is it decent enough for a die-hard Baker fan to want to complete his collection with? Absolutely. After all, with a voice like Baker's there's no such thing as an unlistenable recording. But is it a classic soul record that a casual fan of her hits needs to discover? Absolutely not. In the early 80's this album may have been a delicious taste of things to come from Anita Baker, but in retrospect it has far less purpose."
Music At It's Best
C. Avery | Houston, TX | 04/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absoutely love this cd! I don't understand the critics when they say this album is just alright. You can't listen to "No More Tears" and say it's just alright. That song is absoutely amazing; filled with emotion; you just feel Anita as she sings... Another classic is "Angel"; just a lovely song. "You're The Best Thing Yet" is superb as well; great lyrics and delivery. Equally as good is "Will You Be Mine"...when Anita sings "Sugar, will you be mine?" I picture myself singing to my guy!
Don't listen to the critics, this cd is one of the best ever, I love it and you will too!"
Forget the critics! This CD is GREAT!
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 02/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore these critics who probably think R&B stands for rabbits and butane! Anita Baker's first album "The Songstress" is a fine piece of work! The tunes "Angel," "Feel The need," "Sometimes," and "No More tears" show that she truly deserved the fame that followed. This album was deservedly popular in Europe and on Black American radio stations in 1983, but R&B wasn't well promoted in those days and this was one of those great albums of the time that got lost in the shuffle and went out of print. Fortunately, after she became famous, her fans remembered this album and popular demand brought it back in the early 90s. Listen and you'll see why."
Whitla Andrew Paul | Wahington D.C. | 04/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... To claim that this album is antything other than Anita Baker's best album and indeed one of the quintessential soul albums of the last quarter of the 20th century is indeed idiotic. Nothing she has done since comes close to the raw emotion of the songstress. No More Tears is worth the purchase price alone, Angel and Fell The Need amongst the soul classics. You will not get better Anita Baker than this..."