Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tina Turner: Private Dancer [Capitol, 1984]
Her voice was shot even before she split with Ike, ten years ago now, and videotaped evidence belied the dazzled reports that filtered in from the faithful when she began her comeback, two and a half years ago now. Less than converted by her reverent reading of the Reverend Green's "Let's Stay Together," I noted cynically that the album lists four different production teams, always a sign of desperation. Which makes its seamless authority all the more impressive. The auteur is Tina, who's learned to sing around and through the cracks rather than shrieking helplessly over them, and who's just sophisticated (or unsophisticated) enough to take the middlebrow angst of contemporary professional songwriting literally. Also personally--check out how she adapts the printed lyrics of Paul Brady's "Steel Claw" to her own spoken idiom. A-