TURNER: WIG LADY GETS OVERBLOWN TREATMENT
“BREAK EVERY RULE.” Tina Turner. Capitol.
Tina Turner is a credit to the wig industry, but she’s not a particularly interesting vocalist. There are numerous neglected talents who can sing circles around her--Nina Simone, Etta James and Dusty Springfield to name a few--yet Tina reigns supreme, perhaps because Turner is a fighter who won.
America loves winners and Turner is, of course, far more than a mere singer these days. Having mutated into a People magazine heroine (oppressed wife triumphs over tyrannical husband), she’s virtually a corporation now. Her autobiography recently hit the stores (brace yourself for an onslaught of talk-show appearances), her well-received performance last year in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” gave her acting career a boost, and her 1984 comeback album “Private Dancer” sold more than 10 million copies and scored four Grammy Awards. Can a line of Tina Turner pantyhose be far behind?
That Turner has built a career around a great pair of legs and the fact that she married the wrong guy becomes increasingly apparent with repeated listenings to her new album. An unfocused grab bag that involves contributions by numerous producers and writers, “Break Every Rule” features mega-star cameo appearances (Steve Winwood, Phil Collins, Mark Knopfler), and the Thin White Duke himself even wrote a song (“Girls”) especially for Tina to sing on this here album.
Obviously the goal wasn’t to craft an integrated album, but rather to assemble a bunch of Big Hit Singles. The album will probably score a few too, as each of the chart stompers spawned by Turner’s last LP are remodeled here.
The overblown biliousness of “We Don’t Need Another Hero” is reprised in two tracks, and the wistful declaration of independence of “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is repeated in four songs.
The most engaging tune on the album, “What You See Is What You Get” has a bouncy zest evocative of Prince’s “When You Were Mine.” It’s a cute little pop tune but it hardly challenges Turner, and therein lies the problem with all the material on “Break Every Rule”: Anybody from Lionel Richie to Cyndi Lauper could sing this stuff.
Few artists, however, could even attempt to perform some of the tracks Turner cut early in her career. “I’m Blue,” “A Fool in Love"--these songs are absolute killers and it’s hard to believe that the yowling cat who created those records is the same ultra-cool chanteuse who saunters through “Break Every Rule.”