Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1999 tenth and final studio album Twenty Four Seven by legendary American-born Swiss singer and songwriter, Tina Turner. Will this album be something you’d want on continuous play, or will it turn you loopy? Read on…
The album opens with second single Whatever You Need, which reached #27 in the UK singles chart. This is a quite a mellow sounding track, with a few country music twanging guitars, but giving way to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by none other than David Arnold (James Bond etc).
Following this is All The Woman, which gives some distorted sampled vocals and bassy synths and electronic drums, but then drops Tina’s vocals in. It’s quite a nice track, and one that sounds fairly fresh. The chorus feels a bit drag-and-drop X-Factor single, but of course Tina’s performance overrides this feeling, and along with Tracy Ackerman and Miriam Stockley on backing vocals, it leaves you with a nice warm track.
Next up is lead single When The Heartache Is Over, and you’d be forgiven for instantly mistaking this track’s intro for Cher‘s Believe, given that the same pop royalty (Brian Rawling and Mark Taylor) are behind this. Musically and structurally, it’s basically the same track with its layers of synths swirling and bubbling around in the background. Tina sounds great here though, and the chorus gives her plenty of space to show off that vocal power we know she somehow manages to muster. Her vocals should never be secondary, and they very much aren’t in this track. The track snuck Tina back into the UK top 10 singles chart (at #10) for what is so far her final time.
That’s followed by some intricate acoustic guitars in the introduction of Absolutely Nothing’s Changed, and this track has enough hints of another James Bond theme. The track is pretty catchy, and I’ve certainly heard it before. It should have made it as a single. The track is written and performed by Terry Britten, who won a Grammy in 1985 for Tina’s most successful single What’s Love Got To Do With It. It’s great to have him back for what would be Tina’s final album.
Talk To My Heart is next and this places Tina alongside some strummed guitars. The song is quite a nice track – pretty gentle, but has a wonderful set of backing vocals that give it an almost gospel sound.
Aptly, the album’s final single Don’t Leave Me This Way is next, and this is a lovely slow ballad, giving Tina the perfect platform to show her vocals off. It’s actually a cover of an old Malandra Burrows single from 1998. The London Musicians Orchestra pick up the sweeping strings here as Tina gets to put in a heartfelt performance. A gentle shuffling beat sits underneath, making sure that Tina and the orchestra get to shine here. It sounds rich and luxurious, but sadly didn’t see a release in the UK, charting at #78 in Germany instead.
Up next is Go Ahead and again David Arnold and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra pile into this track. The soaring strings sit perfectly alongside Tina’s huge vocals in this track, lifting each other higher and higher throughout and occasionally duelling. A lovely track.
Some jangling electric guitars usher in next track Without You. This is quite a simple sounding track with the guitars and Tina over a mid-tempo beat. The sleeve notes credit Bryan Adams on this track, but does not elaborate on his role – except he can be heard singing with Tina in the final third of the track. It’s quite a nice rocky track, and nods back to the style we became familiar with in the 1980s.
It’s a slow number next – Falling. ‘Help me I’m falling’ sings Tina rather sombrely. The guitars are funky in the back of this track despite being a very slow loved-up ballad. The backing vocals include Claudia Fontaine (of The Beatmasters fame), and these are subtley used to help lift Tina’s brilliant performance.
Penultimate track I Will Be There is next and this is a Bee Gees written track that they’d later release as a b-side. Tina’s version doesn’t have the tempo of bass drum that theirs would, instead it’s more of a mid-tempo version. Again, she’s surrounded by the warmth of guitars and backing vocals and does a great job
The album closes with the titular Twenty Four Seven which gives us growling guitars, harmonica and piano sounding not unlike something you’d expect Girls Aloud to release. Again, this is a Terry Britten track, and that’s perhaps how and why this feels like a return to the rockier Tina. It roars along, bursting with energy sounding like it’s a finalé for all those involved in the album, with Tina in the centre, reminding us that Tina still is a rock star. The perfect ending.
Over all, this album very much sounds like a continuation of her previous album Wildest Dreams. The production is slick, the sound is warm and gentle, but at times it is just ‘nice’ rather than ‘great’ due to similar sounding musical tracks. At times, it leans a bit too towards X Factor winner songs, and that’s really not somewhere that Tina belongs.
There’s no Proud Mary, Private Dancer, or The Best here, but that’s absolutely fine, as it gets close with Twenty Four Seven, and Without You.
When The Heartache Is Over and Absolutely Nothing’s Change are two other gems from the album, but it’s just sad that some of the best tracks didn’t get a single release.
- POP RESCUE 2020 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1999 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #9, certified Platinum by the BPI.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.49 from a British Heart Foundation store.