Before Miley Cyrus twerked and grinded her way through the VMAs, before Lady Gaga wore her infamous meat dress and even before even Madonna and Britney shared their onscreen kiss, there was Cher.
Cher first rose to fame in the early sixties as one half of the male-female duo Sonny & Cher. The couple’s relationship may have ended in divorce, but it sparked a musical career for Cher that has continued for decades. Her latest singles span from 1998’s 'Believe' to songs off the soundtrack of her hit movie “Burlesque.” Throughout it all, Cher has managed to stay in the public eye, and has just released a new album, “Closer to the Truth.”
Cher devotees will not be disappointed; her famed deep contralto voice and signature dance-pop style are present in full force, but anyone looking for originality should certainly look much further. Cher may please, but she does not surprise.
The album’s first two tracks, 'Women’s World' and 'Take it Like a Man,' are catchy, heavily auto-tuned pieces perfectly suited for a dance floor or a girls' night out. The lyrical meanings are relatively arbitrary; to some extent, they are simply words set to a beat. In the chorus of 'Women’s World,' Cher sings repeatedly that “this is a women’s world.” What that means for her and any female listeners is unclear; given the electronic, fast-paced nature of the song, it seems to mean that we should dance the night away because, after all, this is a women’s world and we might as well.
Still, although the album leads with its most single-worthy material, the following ten tracks are significantly slower and mellower. Whether you’ll actually feel anything from listening to these songs is debatable. The ballads are silly at best. Cher’s voice can’t seem to carry the sadness she attempts to convey. Instead it comes off with an almost screaming rocker vibe who takes periodic rests from her loud yelling to get significantly quieter, as if to say, “This is a really sad part now.”
But while Miley and Gaga may still have to prove themselves, Cher is well past that point. “Closer to the Truth” is her 26th studio album and, by now, listeners know what they’re getting when they purchase a Cher album. You’ll get what you paid for.
Yet there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just when you think you’ve finished the CD and feel a little bit of despair at buying yet another Cher album, you’ll find three bonus tracks at the end of the album. Here is the new material we’ve been looking for! It isn't unexpected or imaginative, but it is the sassy and brassy Cher we’ve come to know and love. In 'I Don’t Have to Sleep to Dream,' she describes a perfect love with a background full of electronic beats and lacking her usually incredibly strong auto tune. When Cher sings “So I got my eyes closed / hands up, dancing by myself / oh I never felt nothing better,” you might just feel the same.