While her first new album in eight years, Only Forever (Blue Note), isn’t slated for release until October 21, Anita Baker is already off and running with its lead single, “Lately.”
The songstress injects a sensuous perspective to the Tyrese slowjam, her velvety pipes caressing and toying with a lush, lingering groove. The vibe is smoky yet often embellished with crossover-pop distinctions; reminiscent of such prior standouts as “Body and Soul” and “Whatever it Takes,” to cite just a couple of the most obvious.
Not so apparent in this performance is what, if any, fresh creative directions will typify the forthcoming full album. However, the timelessness that has underscored her best work is present and as genuine as ever.