I Feel for You
In the transition from the ‘70s to the ‘80s, few R&B artists showed as much willingness to adapt as Chaka Khan. Her fearlessness paid off with 1984’s I Feel For You, the most successful album of her career. Rather than rest on snappy new-wave soul of her last few albums — let alone the bubbly disco funk of Rufus, whose music now seems ancient in comparison to I Feel For You — Khan and producers Arif Mardin and David Foster wholeheartedly embrace modern sounds while retaining the high musical standard of Chaka’s past efforts. The shiny, mechanized grooves of “This Is My Night” and “My Love Is Alive” are brought to life by Khan’s vivacious singing. The new production techniques give extra dramatic flair to “Stronger Than Before,” and especially “Through the Fire,” one of the most smoldering ballads of the mid-‘80s. All of the album’s aspects come together on the title song. Written by Prince, it features Stevie Wonder on harmonica and rapping by Grandmaster Melle Mel. Leave it to Chaka Khan to unite three generations of R&B innovators for the purpose of one perfectly wrought pop song.