Monday, August 17, 2009



‘What’s Love Got to do With It?’ was the first single from Tina Turner’s 1984 solo album ‘Private Dancer.’ This album secured Ms Turner as a viable solo artist after previously having had a successful career as part of Ike & Tina Turner, a husband and wife outfit. For those of you who have seen the 1993 biopic with the same name as the lyric in question, the abusive nature of the relationship between the spouses may have given rise to the subject matter under discussion.

It is my feeling that Ms Turner is trying to downplay the depth of her feelings towards a new lover, most likely in an effort to protect her vulnerable emotional state. Considering Ms Turner’s previous experiences of romantic relationships it is hardly surprising that she would have some reservations embarking on new liaison.

Ponder for a moment the other pivotal question within the refrain, if you will: who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken? Who, indeed, it is after all ‘A Second Hand Emotion’, but second to what exactly?

Well, despite her concerns, i.e. ‘What’s Love Got to do with It?’ And ‘Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?’ Ms Turner, throughout the course of the song, does make a series of concessions with regards to her true feelings towards her beau. Let us work under the assumption that they are the ‘primary’ emotions. She concedes that the touch of his hand makes her pulse react, but attributes this to the thrill of a boy-meets-girl scenario and rather reifies her reaction by deeming them purely physical, logical, if you like.

In the second verse, Tina Turner revisits her conclusions from the first verse and elaborates on these points: she acts confused in the presence of her lover, somewhat dazed. She maintains that this is commonplace; that there is a name for it, a phrase that fits and whatever this name or phrase may be, the gentleman in question certainly does ‘it’ for her.

Then, after repeating the chorus once more, she eventually acknowledges that despite taking on a new direction, she does prioritise her own protection, and that she indeed is frightened by these familiar feelings. As she repeats the refrain one last time Ms Turner exchanges the line stating that love is a second hand emotion, and calls it a ‘sweet, old fashioned notion’, giving the impression that she has relented a little in her contrary attitude toward her predicament.

So, what has love got to do with it? Well, in this case we can conclude that love has everything to do with it. ‘It’ being a blossoming new romance, a relationship about to transcend purely carnal pleasures. Despite clinging to notions of physical attraction and ensuing chemical reactions: Turner, by merely raising the issue, admits that love, indeed has something to do with it.

Mia Tagg 2009®

1 comment:

  1. I wish more people would leave comments on this blog. It would really give me a boost!