Friday, October 4, 2013
Cher: Closer To The Truth - reviewed.
It's not every straight man who will buy a Cher CD, but last week that's what I did. I've been a fan for a long time -- probably because my mom was.
I remember her playing Heart of Stone on cassette tape waaaay back when I was four or five years old. My favorite song was "Just Like Jesse James" because it had my name in it.
In 1999, I got my mom Cher's Believe CD. Eventually, Cher came to a nearby arena for one of her farewell tours, so I got my mom tickets.
After all these years, I admit, I was curious to see if Cher could still sing. A lot of older performers, like Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks and Cyndi Lauper, don't sound as good as they used to. Cher always seemed like an exception to that rule though.
I'm going to pass Closer To The Truth on to my mom, but I took a listen to it first. I read that she'd said it was her best work. It's not bad. It is a nice amalgamation of a lot of musical styles. While I doubt many of the songs will get radio play, there's a good handful that are catchy enough to fit in with today's top 40 hits.
I’m not sure why this was the album’s first single. I guess they figured it would sell since it’s the closest thing to a club track.
It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing. It’s a women’s empowerment song set to dance music. The video was kind of fun with all the crazy wigs. Still, I didn’t really feel it.
At age 67, Cher asking, everybody in the club to stand up and come together doesn’t seem authentic. Cher makes it work because it sounds like she’s genuinely having fun with the song, but it seems like something more suited for Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.
Take It Like A Man
This one starts off like a flashback to the ‘80s. There’s a dance song from the 80’s that the first verse of “Take It Like A Man” reminds me of – I just can’t remember what it is. I searched dozens of videos on YouTube last night and couldn’t find it.
But it exists. If anyone knows what song I’m talking about or if this song reminds you of an 80s hit, leave a comment and let me know. Please! It’ll be in the back of my head until I figure it out.
After a verse, Cher transitions into Believe mode with Autotune coming into play.
For some reason I also got a Locomotion vibe.
Overall, I like the song. It’s one of the songs that’s stuck with me – probably because I can’t place that first verse.
This one was filler. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really stand out amongst the rest of the songs on the album. I had to listen to it a few times, while other songs on the album got stuck in my head after just one play.
There’s not a lot there lyrically.
It would have been nice to have a smidgen of rock music on the album someplace.
This song may have been a good one for it as it would have stood out a little more.
Instead it’s a ballad with Cher starting off singing soft and petite, eventually busting out the high notes for the main chorus.
With 26 solo albums, it’s probably hard to make every song stand out. Since the song isn’t unpleasing to listen to, it’s not a bad addition.
Dressed to Kill
There’s a great techno vibe to this song that works very well.
The song’s theme is the same as Lady Antebellum’s “Downtown,” but the song sounds very different.
Cher’s letting her man know that she’s needing attention. She’s “dressed to kill” and
The lyrics are sassy, but Cher makes them fun.
“How can you resist when, baby, I am dressed to kill.”
This one is fun. Cher belted out the lyrics on this one.
A large portion of the song is Cher extending out the word, “red” longer than I thought was humanly possible.
For that fact alone, Cher’s version of “Red” beats Taylor Swift’s song of the same name.
Cher sees red after her man ditches her.
“Used to be that you were every corner of my life -- a rainbow shining through the rain -- cutting like a knife."
Happier times disappear though, as Cher explains.
“All I see is reeeeeeeeeeeeeed now.”
This song starts with a lot of energy and doesn’t fail to keep up that pace throughout.
Cher is offering her love with some fast techno beats and some synthesizers.
“With one gesture I can set your spirit free. With one gesture, you’ll be mine eternally.”
She then goes into Cher mode, holding onto her notes as she belts, “Surrender to me noooooooow.”
There’s an interesting element to this song that fits with the lyrics. Cher almost seems like she really is trying to mystically entice you to fall under her spell, like one of the sirens from The Odyssey.
I Walk Alone
One of the reasons I was excited for this album was because I knew that Cher had collaborated with Pink, one of my all-time favorite singers. I knew Pink had written some songs on the album and that she leant her voice to one or both of them.
Pink apparently sang backup vocals on this track, but you wouldn’t know it if you hadn’t read the booklet that came with the CD.
That being said, the song is pretty good. I think Pink may have done a better job with it honestly, but it works for Cher too.
The music is the meat and potatoes of this song. It’s very gypsy-like with the banjo playing and the stomping rhythm. Kind of reminds me of Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.
They may have chosen the album’s title based on one of the other lyrics.
“…and there’s an anger as I get closer to the truth.”
One of my pet peeves is when singers use the same title for a song and the album, so kudos to Cher for not doing that on this album.
Cher was channeling Annie Lennox on this track, which was a new direction for her -- from the Cher songs I've heard anyway. This is a softer song, but it is far from elevator music. How soft can a song be with Cher belting out notes, after all?
The song title is very fitting because it's a very uplifting song. You get a sense of spirituality in it as Cher sings about always being there for a loved one.
"Hold your hand in mine. We'll swim against the tide and, from the sound of sirens, love will survive."
With the Annie Lennox-style voice, the amazing movie theme-like music, and some effects, this song leaves you with a positive feeling.
This song starts off with the kind of guitar picking that sounds like it was off of Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.”
It’s a song that encourages taking the chance on love and reveling in the times it doesn’t work.
“Love is the healing of a broken heart/the story behind all of my favorite scars,” Cher sings.
The light backup vocals help make this song a little lighter, as Cher’s voice is still as strong as it is on any of the other tracks.
I Hope You Find It
Based on the fact that Cher has been performing this song on David Letterman, The Today Show and the rest of her media tour for Closer to the Truth, it seems that “I Hope You Find It” is going to be the second single.
It’s one of my favorites on the album, so I’m hoping it gets a little attention, whether it’s through performances at the American Music Awards and Grammy’s or on the radio.
It’s a great change of pace with the strings and the piano.
Lyrically, it’s an awesome song. The story is about a woman who is letting her ex-lover know that she wants him to find happiness.
“I hope you find it -- what you’re looking for. I hope it’s everything you dreamed your life would be and so much more. I hope you’re happy and nothing’s gonna change that. I hope you find it."
It’s a very somber song, but also very positive, like most of the other songs on the album.
I guess it was actually a Miley Cyrus cover, but the song ended up with one of Cher’s producers and eventually on Closer to the Truth.
That’s a good turn of events there because it is a song that suits Cher well.
I had to listen to Miley’s version after finding out that it was a cover. If I hadn’t heard Cher’s version, I’d say that it was a good song, but Cher kicks it up a notch with the kind of vocal power that only she can bring to the table.
Her live performances on The Today Show and Letterman wouldn’t have left me very impressed, but hearing the album version makes me appreciate it. I’ll cut Cher some slack because I guess she was recovering from laryngitis during those performances.
Lie To Me
Cher’s trading in the dance music for another ballad with “Lie To Me.”
The lyrics just reek of Pink, who was the songwriter.
Cher owns the song, but, once again, I have to wonder what it would sound like if Pink sang it.
Hopefully she’ll perform both “Lie To Me” and “I Walk Alone” at a future concert.
There’s a little shout out in the lyrics to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” too.
“I don’t want to start over babe. This was my everything.”
I’m not sure if it was intentionally placed there or not, but I like that it was included in there.
I Don’t Have to Sleep to Dream
This one starts off like a dance hit from the 80s (and doesn’t lose that beat), but then Cher comes in, sounding sweet and almost melancholy, as she sings about the possibility of love never coming.
Cher then transitions into gratefulness, revealing that she’s found her lover.
“You’re everything that I thought I would never find/Now I don’t have to sleep to dream.”
Like “My Love,” there’s a lot of repetition in the lyrics. The lyric above is pretty much repeated throughout the 4:42 song. The sound that comes along with those lyrics is catchier than “My Love,” making it more memorable.
I'm assuming this song is about gay pride. It's kind of the guilty pleasure of the album.
The Sunday school-like, warm, fuzzy message of the song almost makes you roll your eyes, but the bells, the fast-paced dance music and Cher joyously singing, “Pride. We own, we own the night. We got pride,” is hard not enjoy.
It successfully makes you simultaneously tap your foot, nod your head and smile.
You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me
It’s Cher, doing her thing. She’s hitting her trademark notes and delivering a positive message.
That being said, it’s not my favorite song. It lacks a little something to make it really good, but it’s a solid effort and a solid outing.
It’s a nice end-of-the-album choice for Closer to the Truth and could probably be used on the soundtrack of a movie.
It does pick up about half way through the song, so don’t give up on the song unless you’ve heard all of it.
Will You Wait For Me
I absolutely love the lyrics that kick off this song.
“I’ll go for hours without saying a word. That don’t mean there’s nothing on my mind.”
As you can probably surmise by the title, the song is about love and asking a lover to be patient as they go through a rocky patch in their relationship.
Some good singing and nice sentimentality to close out the album.
Overall:I was disappointed that there was no duet with Lady Gaga, no guest appearance by Timbaland or even a few other modern-day collaborations. However, I probably should have known better.
Cher has her own style. She really is a living legend. While most of the songs probably won’t end up on the radio, they don’t need to.
Her legions of fans will buy the album, memorize the words, and then show up to sing them with Cher during her Dressed to Kill tour.
Based on the initial success of Closer to the Truth, it’s pretty obvious that as long as she’s making music, Cher will have an audience to deliver it to.
Standout songs: "Red," "Dressed to Kill," and "Will You Wait For Me"
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