Picks and Pans Review: Foreign Affair

updated 10/09/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/09/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Tina Turner

"Steamy Windows," which opens this album, sums up what's right and wrong with it. What's right is that Turner sounds as passionate and expressive as ever, as if she is able to maintain a 100 percent commitment level 100 percent of the time.

What's wrong is that the song demonstrates the wrongheaded choices of material Turner and producer Dan Hartman made for the album. The tune, by Tony Joe White, is a contagious piece of funk rock, but why would a 49-year-old woman sing about necking in the back seat of a car? Then there's the Holly Knight-Mike Chapman song "The Best," which features such pizza-box lyrics as "You're simply the best/ Better than all the rest/ Better than anyone/ Anyone I've ever met."

White's "Undercover Agent for the Blues," in fact, is the only song with much to recommend it. And there is a far lower guest-star quotient than there was on Turner's marvelous two previous albums. Private Dancer and Break Every Rule. Edgar Winter adds a saxophone solo with bite to "The Best," and Mark Knopfler contributes a (for him) relatively quiet guitar to the title track.

But like the songs, the support group is disappointing—professional yet lackluster—leaving Turner dependent on her own vocal resources. As vocal resources go, they are considerable, but even she can go just so far without anything to work with. (Capitol)

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