Review Summary: Nothing new, someone old, and a lot borrowed. But a powerful voice to hold it all together.
With an eleven year gap from music (but not pop culture), Cher makes a welcome, but not all that necessary return to music. Having been in the recording industry of the greater part of five decades, and many, and I mean many, albums behind her (twenty-five!), one must wonder what else Cher has to say to her audience (that she doesn’t already say on her very vocal and hard to decipher Twitter page) With Closer To The Truth
, Cher comes out very upfront about her message, and that is that there is no true message. Closer
is through and through a very simplistic pop album, it plays like a series of tracks rather than a cohesive album, and really, in context is quite okay, because what the 67 year old singer has that most pop artists these days do not have, is the true vocal ability to carry these simple pop songs and make them a worthwhile listen. Had this album been sung by any other artist, it probably would not have worked, and would have been just another pop throwaway. Cher though, sounds as good as ever on this album and turns this collection of EDM and ballads into a decent piece of work. Not an excellent one, or anywhere near groundbreaking, but fun and enjoyable in the right context.
Opening with the lead single, “Woman’s World,” the song is a typical Cher-affair, with disappointingly voice-altered verses, but a chorus that shines. Using her trademark wail, she carries the song through the thundering dance beats and synthesizer pops. The song is a fun woman empowerment anthem, blowing Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)” away, but still feels like it is lacking something, specifically a segue between the awkward verses and chorus. The album takes no moment to take a breather though, in fact the first seven songs are all head pounding dance numbers with heavy euro disco elements. The strongest of which, “Red,” stands out a perfect example of dance music that some artists these days could really learn from. The song relies heavily on Cher’s voice and the actual dance beats are just underscores for it all, which is a refreshing change from many EDM songs where the vocalist sounds suffocated under the barrage of synthesizers and drum machines.
Even the twenty year old song, “Lovers Forever” (Originally penned for the Interview With A Vampire soundtrack by Cher herself) sounds refreshingly new, with the dramatic synth strings giving the song a very cinematic, yet danceable, feel to it. Cher’s voice on the other hand though, sounds the most tired here than any of the other tracks, as would the listener probably having been just hit by a wave of EDM and euro disco tracks.
Midway through the album though things take a dramatic turn as it shifts to a series of ballads to close out the album. Of the four ballads, they are all pretty hit or miss, never being flat out bad, just uninteresting. The best of them being, “I Hope You Find It,” a song originally recorded by a young, pre-twerking Miley Cyrus. Cyrus having a notoriously horrid voice, made the song quite a bore, but Cher’s version is packed with so much emotion that is calls back to the glory days of Cher in the 70’s with her hits like “Half Breed” and “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves,” a nice variation from the danceable Cher music everyone has become sensitized too since “Turn Back Time.” For every pop album though there must be that trademark horrible ballad, and that comes with the album’s closing track, “Lie To Me,” an dragging country-influenced track, that sounds so inexcusably boring with the rest of the album, it closes with an uncomforting end.
Cher the undying, has had an impeccable career, and whether anyone likes it or not, she is still churning out music. Music that unfortunately lacks a whole lot of substance, but still is made up for by her still power vocal ability. With Closer To The Truth
one will not find any new ground covered by Cher, she has done EDM and is still at it, but it is a breath of fresh air for the current state of pop to see an artist with actual, un-autotuned-to-death, vocalist who can make songs her