Album: Cher – “Closer to the truth” (2013)

You know, this is the first Cher album I’ve ever listened to properly? She’s always been one of this huge stars, particularly during my teen years when “Believe” turned into such a huge hit. But I’m still not too well-versed on her back catalogue.

cher closer to the truthSure, there are a lot of albums to get through, with last year’s “Closer to the truth” taking the tally to 25, but even her greatest hits collection(s) are a little overwhelming, covering such an extensive career. So it’s time to put that right, I’ve always loved her dry humour and ballsy attitude towards showbusiness, I wonder if this album was doomed to turn out as “one for the gays”…

08 Woman’s world – I’d heard this some while back, and it’s taken a little while to grow on me as much as has. Counting Paul Oakenfold as a co-producer it’s a full-on 90s club track. Empowerment after being wounded by some bastard bloke, Cher’s treading familiar ground to earlier hits lyrically but it’s still solid stuff. I think it’s my speakers though, there’s a lot of top-of-voice yelling that puts me off a bit.

09 Take it like a man – Can she just take her voice down a notch? I do prefer this track though, a lot more bright and breezy. I had to look up the production credits for Kylie’s “Get outta my way” but there were no matches… I like this a lot though, the vocoder is working overtime but it reminds me of the best Swedish dance pop.

09 My Love – This is more like it, a nice tender little intro consoling a guy after his heart’s been broken. The beat kicks in and it smoothly fades into a gorgeously euphoric bit of trancey pop. That middle-eight is amazing, her vocals are full-power but the melody is so strong. A real dream to listen to.

07 Dressed to kill – This has ‘for the gays’ written all over it, not just in the poppers-driven dance music of the opening trio. More of a statement of intent than anything, she’s on the prowl as a maneater. It suits her fine but it’s not doing so much for me.

06 Red – Those opening notes clear out the cobwebs don’t they? They put me off a bit, it’s not much of a chorus is it? Again it’s functional dance pop, it sort of sounds like something Nicole Scherzinger would sing (and not get a hit from).

09 Lovers forever – WHAT a Schlageriffic intro, this feels like the next iteration of the space diva Cher we saw in “Music’s no good without you”. Very campy and thumping with energy, I rather like it for the spectacle, it’s a good song. And that last glory note, insane!!

08 I walk alone – What the hell? Where this this bluegrass stuff come from? Well, someone using the banjo setting on a computer presumably. It’s a nice change of pace anyway, and a decent memorable chorus. Just read Pink was a co-writer on it, not sure I can hear it myself. Cher’s certainly throwing herself into it anyway, and it’s a solid effort.

07 Sirens – Are we in the ballads now then? It’s like I’m listening to a different album to the first 25 minutes. It’s a nice track but I confess this one didn’t really lodge in my memory.

07 Favorite Scars – A British super-team of writers behind this, having looked them up – Wayne Hector and TMS. That beat is very familiar though, what does it remind me of. It feels like a Script song or something. That’s not an especially exciting prospect for me, Cher does her best to give it as much energy as she can but it’s a bit too MOR, even for me!

08 I hope you find it – This was the song Cher performed on the UK X-Factor that set the album campaign off to such a good start. It’s a shame commercial radio here is so stuck on the same tiny pool of artists that this didn’t get a good look in. A heart-tugging kiss-off, it just feels like it has more substance to it than the two preceding ballads.

06 Lie to me – Last track now, and another Pink co-write. Another country-lite ballad, very dramatic and sweeping with some lovely strings. I zoned out a little during this one though. I don’t doubt Cher can sell these ballads, I think it’s just not something that would normally grab me, no matter who’s singing it.

There you have it, an album of two halves certainly. I’m not sure an album in the same vein as tracks 1-7 would have necessarily been any better, but it would probably have appealed to me a bit more.

I wonder if the two-toned album was deliberately to have their cake and eat it – keep the gays happy with plenty of ludicrous dance tracks, and court the mainstream with the typically more age-appropriate country-lite stuff. I’m not sure you could have it both ways in such a starkly divided album, but it wasn’t bad for my first time. You can’t blame her for not wanting to end up a gays-only concern, not when there are tour seats to fill! Though that frankly ludicrous video for “Take it like a man” shows that she’s not about to bite the hand that feeds her.

Keepers for the iPod: Woman’s world, Take it like a man, My love, Lovers forever, I walk alone, I hope you find it



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