'Love' cooks, with Tina reheating the hits


June 18, 1993|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic


Tina Turner (Virgin 88189)

Write a biography, and accuracy is what the audience will expect; film one, and it's entertainment they want. So if you've seen the new Tina Turner film and want to hear what the hits sounded like, don't bother with the slick remakes on "What's Love Got to Do with It" -- find yourself a copy of the hit-filled "Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner." On the other hand, if all you want is a good listen, the new album will do just fine. Granted, some things are lost in the translation to film, like the raw funk that made the original "Fool in Love" so ear-catching, but other songs benefit from rerecording. In fact, this version of the title track sounds stronger than the one that charted, while the three new tunes -- particularly "I Don't Want to Fight" suggest that Turner will continue to improve with age.


Cyndi Lauper (Epic 52878)

From the hokey hip-hop groove spliced onto "That's What I Think" to the gimmicky electronics wired into "Lies," it's obvious that Cyndi Lauper is desperate to sound "with it." Which, in itself, would be enough to make "Hat Full of Stars" annoying. But what ultimately undoes the album is that it fails to convey any sense of personality in the performances. Tunes that Lauper ought to easily charm her way through -- the zydeco-tinged "Feels Like Christmas" or the genre spoof "Like I Used To" -- end up flat and affected, while songs that should come across as the heart-tugging ballads ("Sally's Pigeons," for example) merely seem labored. Lauper's hat may be full of stars, but this album is full of something else altogether.


Natalie Cole (Elektra 61496)

If "Unforgettable" was Natalie Cole's bid to show how well she could sing the standards associated with her father, "Take a Look" is where she tries to prove herself as jazz stylist in her own right. Trouble is, Cole isn't quite consistent enough to make the attempt work. Give her a ballad, even one as weighted with sentiment as "As Time Goes By," and she seems a natural, caressing each phrase with exquisite care. Hand her an uptempo swing tune like "Undecided" or "It's Sand Man," though, and her approach is all flash and jive, riding the rhythm without ever seeming to know where to take it. Pleasant, but far from convincing.


Janis Ian (Morgan Creek 2959 20023)

According to the gossip columns, the big news about Janis Ian's "Breaking Silence" is that this is the album in which she admits her homosexuality. And from a gossip standpoint, that may TTC indeed be news. But all music fans need to know is that this is the most tuneful and assured work she has done since "Between the Lines." As usual, her lyrics work hard to discuss oversized issues, like spousal abuse in "His Hands" or the holocaust with "Tattoo," in human terms without being pedantic or preachy. But it's her music that does the real persuading, delivering melodies that are emotionally evocative and never less than memorable, from the sensual samba of "Ride Me Like a Wave" to the smoldering anger of 'This House."

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