Sunday, May 28, 2023

Tina Turner

I've never had much to do with Tina Turner, but I read this article that said she'd want you to mourn her by watching this recent documentary film about her, Tina.

So I did. I figured I might learn something. And one of the things I learned is that I'm not sure she'd want people to watch it, since she spends much of her interview time declaring how she doesn't want to revisit the past, particularly the years she spent with her abusive first husband, Ike. But what is the documentary's topic but a review of her life, Ike very much included?

I was aware that she'd once been partnered with Ike, but I'd barely heard of her if at all in those days, so I think of her, when I do so at all, as a solo artist. But the documentary shows her early solo career being besieged by interviewers who wanted to hear all about the breakup, or who even seemed unaware that they'd broken up at all. Even years later, they'd ask her about Ike's latest doings, about which she had no comment whatever. Then she wrote a memoir, which got turned into a film (oh, so that's why Angela Bassett is in this documentary) in an attempt to exorcise it all, but it only got people more interested. No wonder she sounds so annoyed.

As for her music, it turns out the only thing of hers I recognize is "What's Love Got To Do With It?" (chorus only). I don't care for most of the stuff she did with Ike; her other solo songs aren't particularly attractive but are a step above. The most remarkable thing in the documentary, however, was a cover of "Help!" by the Beatles. If I hadn't recognized the lyrics I wouldn't have guessed the song; the musical line has nothing in common with the original. Normally I'd find that very irritating. But Tina's heartfelt, even tear-stained delivery of the pleading lyrics is enormously effective, making a mockery out of the original's rather emotionless presentation.

I can see why people loved her work, and I'm going away better-informed and moderately enlightened.

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