Tina Turner, Foreign Affair

Ron Wynn

By Ron Wynn

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

Foreign Affair

Tina Turner

This was a commercial disappointment; even though it features some excellent change-of-pace cuts and other tunes with fine lyrics and good stories, it lacked a breakout radio hit for American audiences seeking another "Private Dancer" or "What's Love Got To Do With It." It was also a less unified, more diverse work thematically, as reflected by the fact songs from Foreign Affair ended up on rock, dance, adult contemporary and R&B charts. "I Don't Wanna Lose You," one of her few tender/sentimental numbers, displayed a vulnerability Turner often avoided, as did "Look Me In The Heart." She did a couple of Tony Joe White numbers, the best being "Steamy Windows," a throwback tune to the earlier R&B-tinged years. "Falling Like Rain" and "Be Tender With Me Baby" were two more numbers a lot softer in tone and sensibility than usually the case for Turner during the '80s.

Ending an amazing and hectic decade with a restrained, subtle work

She didn't completely abandon aggressive, surging material. "The Best" was the type of confident, animated number (co-written by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman) that had become a patented part of her sound. Turner's crackling manner and swaggering delivery elevated rather routine lyrics and a decent, though not spectacular arrangement. White's "Foreign Affair" had nice verbal byplay and another energetic Turner performance. Special guests included saxophonist Edgar Winter, guitarist/keyboardist Dan Hartman, Mark Knopfler again on guitar and White helping out on guitar, harmonica and synthesizers. It didn't do that well on these shores, but Foreign Affair was a big hit overseas, particularly in England (her first No. 1 LP there). Listening to the LP again today, it sounds like Turner wanted to end what had been an amazing and hectic decade with a restrained, subtle work.