Every once in awhile the opportunity arises to take a closer look at an artist whose music has stood the test of time, someone who is still going strong and has struggled through gutters of hardships and soared on the wings of success. At the same time you may not be completely qualified to objectively look at this person’s body of work. When that happens you bring in reinforcements.
The artist in question is Tina Turner who has recently released a two disk career retrospective entitled “All the Best.” I didn’t want to pass up the chance to actually listen to the collection, but at the same time, I know next to nothing about her music and it is not an area of music to which I listen to very often. I can say that I will always enjoy her portrayal of Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. But her music is another story. Enter my parents, you know, the reinforcements I mentioned earlier. They are not critics, nor music historians, but they know what they like and they like Tina, and have graciously agreed to help me take a look at this collection. So without further adieu, let us take a family view of “All the Best” of Tina Turner. First I would be remiss if I didn’t give the disks a spin to offer my words in regards to the collection.
My mother gave this set a spin, and when I got home from the day job, I knew something was up. She seemed a bit bouncier and upbeat than is usual, that may not be the right words, but she had been listening to the set that day and found it to be an uplifting experience, what follows is what she had to say about the set after a listen:
Tina Turner’s music so lively and entertaining that it just makes you want to get up and dance and sing along. It doesn’t matter that she’s been around for so long, her music never ceases to lift your spirit. This set shows proof that her voice is as good as ever with the new song “Open Arms.” A strong voice just breathes life into you. It is just great that she has not retired and is still out there making an impact and proving that she can still hang with today’s younger crowd. A lot those girls could learn a lot from her. She has been around for a long time and is still one of the best. I may not have listened to her much in the early years, but she has grown on me and is a lot of fun to listen to. I haven’t listened to her much in a long time and being able to hear all of these older songs brings back a lot memories. Tina was never one of my favorite artists, but this set is changing that, reminding me of songs I didn’t pay much attention to when I was younger are striking a chord in me. And the new song is possibly one of my favorites, when I first heard it, it really struck me how good it was, it stands right up there with the best songs she’s recorded. Her music will always have a place with me, it reminds me of a time when music was worth listening to, unlike a lot of what passes for “music” these days. It’s a good thing that worthwhile artists like Tina Turner are still out there.
My father, on the other hand, has decided not to take a part in this experiment, but that’s OK. I think we can survive. I mean the music has survived so far, so we shouldn’t have any problem, we’ll just have to get his thoughts on a future review.
I must admit that after listening to this collection, I felt the undeniable urge to bob my head and tap my foot. Never actually to the point of getting up and dancing like my mother, but the infectiousness of this music is undeniable. Tina has put together quite a catalog of hits over the years. One thing I must mention, and something that has always bugged me on “Best of…” collections, the songs are not in chronological order. I always like to listen to them in order, it is interesting to listen to an artist develop, rather listening to it jump around, but that pet peeve aside, this is a very good collection.
As I listened to the set, I quickly discovered that I preferred the newer material over the older. Her voice just got so much more powerful as the years went on, through the latter half of the 1980’s and 1990’s, her voice was at it’s peak, and with the new track, “Open Arms,” shows that it is as powerful as ever. She moves into her mid 60’s and is still one of the best female singers still active in the business.
Some of the stand out tracks include the great “The Best” from 1989, a great song that just gets into your head and doesn’t let go. Another personal favorite, Bond fan that I am, is “GoldenEye” from the Bond film of the same name starring Pierce Brosnan from 1995. It may not be the more familiar dance song, but her voice is haunting rising above the rhythmic beat and strings and horns backing her. Then there is a live track, which proves that she isn’t hiding behind studio tricks, that song is a cover of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.” And of course, there is the song that probably started her real rise, at least to me, “Private Dancer.” David Bowie makes an appearance performing a sort of reggae tinged duet on a song called “Tonight” which has nice groove to it. If you couldn’t guess, there is a wealth of good music here, much more than I really anticipated enjoying.
Continuing with some more highlights there is “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a rather mellow song considering the high action source material, which helped to birth it. Helping add to the guitar rock factor is “It’s Only Love,” where she duets with Bryan Adams, an unlikely pair, but their voices compliment each other quite well. And bringing the Best of highlights to a close is possibly the best known of all her songs, “What’s Love Got to do With It.” Even non fans know this song and are probably guilty of breaking it out in the shower, or while stuck in traffic, or some other place where you aren’t afraid to let yourself get caught up in a moment. Not me of course, but you know, other people.
Bottomline. I don’t particularly foresee myself spinning this all that often, once in awhile though it will find its way into the changer. My mother, on the other hand, will probably make a lot of use of it. This is a great cross section of Tina’s long career and a worthy addition to a music fans collection. This is probably a must have for fans, and worthy of peek for the curious.
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