10 Dramatic Ballads By “Vanilla Child” Teena Marie

10. Naked To The World (1988)

“Naked To The World”  has a more high-tech, contemporary-sounding (by 1988 standards) approach to production without abandoning the classic soulful and dramatic elements that made her ballad work so appealing to begin with.

9. Aladdin’s Lamp (1980)

“Aladdin’s Lamp” really highlights Teena Marie’s great story telling and vocal abilities.  A early hint of her genius. 

8. Love Me Down Easy (1986)

“Love Me Down Easy” was Marie’s second single from Emerald City and is regarded by Marie fans as  one of her most impassioned and heartfelt vocal performance.

7. Sunny Skies (1986)

“Sunny Skies” demonstrates Marie’s  versatility, delivering her vocals in a jazz setting, accompanied  with just a piano, bass,  a lone sultry horn and drums/percussion. 

6. Deja Vu (I’ve Been Here Before) (1979)

The lyrics to this song are mystical and spiritual and she takes you on a journey to a mental place that most people have probably been in their own thoughts from time to time. It’s that space in your mind that tells you there is so much more to the universe than what we can see.

Just A Song

5. Cassanova Brown (1983)

Casanova Brown, the slowest track on the album, and one with a real jazzy sound. Here, Teena’s accompanied by just the piano and strings, while Stanley Clarke plays stand-up bass. This allows her vocal to take centre-stage, with her voice full of sadness, regret and sometimes, defiance at her dalliance with a man who two-timed her, treating he badly in the process.

Derek’s Musicblog

4.Yes Indeed (1981)

 “Tune in Tomorrow,” the most appealing of the ballads on Irons In The Fire and is Marie’s most famous jazz-oriented ballad featuring the legendary “Funk Brother” James Jamerson, Jr. on bass.  

The Great Albums

3. Yes Indeed (1981)

“Yes Indeed” might very well be her best non-jazz-oriented and emotional ballad leaving fans on yet a breathtaking note indeed.

2. Portuguese Love (1981)

The highly-percussive and heavily bossa-nova-flavored “Portuguese Love” (featuring an uncredited cameo from former mentor Rick James) is another of Teena’s always-wildly-appealing jazz-tinged outings and one that finds Teena challenging herself vocally to impressive results, the vocalist handling the song’s jam-packed lyric with sheer ease.

The Great Albums

1. Out On A Limb (1984)

“Out On A Limb” is a ballad, with a pleading vocal full of insecurity from Teena. She delivers it against a slow arrangement, where drums provide the heartbeat, while a wash of synths and guitars combine. It demonstrates a different side to Teena, allowing us to hear just how talented she was when singing ballads. Her delivery is a combination of insecurity, neediness and passion, while the arrangement is slow, subtle and sometimes dramatic. 

Derek’s Musicblog

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