The first thing that really strikes you about Tina Arena's follow-up to her highly successful 'Songs Of Love And Loss' collection is the strength and quality of THAT voice. Album opener 'Oh Me Oh My', cover of the 1969 Lulu song, provides the perfect example of what to expect when Tina opens up those amazing vocal cords. On 'Only Women Bleed', Tina gives the Alice Cooper classic a tender twist, building the song before letting rip with some power-vocals that prove beyond doubt that she is, indeed, one of the finest vocalists on the planet. The Police classic 'Every Breath You Take' becomes a smooth jazz number, Carpenters' classic 'Close To You' allows the orchestra and a choir of back-up singers the chance to earn their keep. Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now' is covered in much the same style as the singer's own rendition on her 2000 album of the same name - sublimely - and Tina's covers of both Nik Kershaw's 'Wouldn't It Be Good' and Elton's 'Your Song' remain respectful and true to their originals. The one original song on the album, the closing track 'Living A Lifetime' is decidedly French in it's sound; sexy, dark and mysterious, with it's record player crackles and sung-down-the-phone vocals. It wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. While we'd perhaps question some of the song choices, the one thing that shines through on this collection of songs is Tina's voice - and as always, it's sublimely strong. The fact that her vocals for this album were recorded live really demonstrates the extraordinary talent Tina Arena possesses and why in her homeland, she should indeed be celebrated as one of our finest ever exports. But just one closing question... Where's 'Downtown'?
Tina Arena's 'Songs Of Love And Loss 2' hits the stores this weekend.