After 50 years of relentless touring, legendary recordings, selling out football stadiums and inspiring performers like Mick Jagger and Beyonce, Tina Turner deserves to enjoy retirement after her final concert tour in 2009.
Love Songs, apart from one track, covers all of Tina’s solo albums following her 1984 breakthrough Private Dancer. Its tracklisting features the big hits and some quality album cuts that highlight the different shades of love.
Having (Simply) The Best as the opener reminds listeners of what the song was actually about before it morphed into a sporting anthem. This theme of the joy of love is also apparent in I Want You Near Me (which unfortunately has dated badly), the choir-driven Whatever You Need and the 1966 Phil Spector-produced pop masterpiece River Deep Mountain High.
The theme of lust is canvassed by the evocative, Mark Knopfler-written Private Dancer, Why Must We Wait Until Tonight and Falling. Even the iconic yet cynical What’s Love Got To Do With It touches upon this topic (‘the touch of your hand makes my pulse react…it’s physical, only logical’).
Tina taps into her vulnerable side on several pleas to stay together. These include her powerful Grammy-nominated cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, the cheesy Two People, I Don’t Wanna Lose You and the understated Look Me In The Heart. As expected, there are songs about the pain of a relationship ending in Be Tender With Me Baby (a common concert closer) and Don’t Leave Me This Way.
The Queen of Rock then rises triumphantly like a phoenix on songs like I Don’t Wanna Fight, an emotional cover of John Waite’s Missing You and When The Heartache is Over. These tracks epitomise Tina’s status as a survivor who is able to let go of the past and move forward.
Love Songs may seem to be a strange collection of songs from a performer well known for her frenzied performances of Nutbush City Limits and Proud Mary. Two of Tina’s strongest, most romantic album title tracks (the saucy In Your Wildest Dreams and the sensual Foreign Affair) may have been better substitutes for some of Love Songs, but the album remains an ideal Valentine’s Day soundtrack.