CD Review by Bradley Stier
You’ve already made up your mind about the new album by Cher before you’ve even listened to it. Are you one who can surrender to the flashy, trashy, campy, kitschy allure of the 67-year-old diva or do you roll your eyes at the mere mention of her name? I (unsurprisingly) fall into the latter camp and, as such, have been having the best day ever devouring Closer to the Truth, Cher’s 25th studio album, which was released on Sept. 20 from Warner Bros Records.
Frontloaded with a six-track trip through clubland before taking a sharp left turn straight into 80s power ballad heaven, Closer to the Truth breaks no new ground when it comes to Cher’s sound. The up-tempo dance tracks mine much the same territory as her classic 1998 release Believe and its 2001 follow up Living Proof. The production on these tracks is glaringly dated, but Cher’s inimitable vocals provide them with passion and urgency. While there are certainly the requisite trendy vocal effects applied on some of these tracks (let’s not forget who pioneered the use of AutoTune and vocoder in the first place), for the most part, Cher’s trademark belt is unaltered and shines bright above the throbbing beats.
Cher clearly knows her audience here. The first half of the album is tailor-made for the gay clubs and their ceaseless dance floors. “Take It Like A Man” begs to be played at peak hour and many a drag queen will interpret “My Love” for years to come. I mean, there’s a bonus track titled “Pride,” for Christ’s sake.
Rounding out the album are four ballads that are equal part schmaltz and heartfelt. The best of the bunch “I Hope You Find It” is classic Cher. With vaguely country strings accenting her earnest delivery, the song cries and bleeds in the best way. It begs to be played over the closing credits of a particularly heartbreaking romance.
All in all, Cher’s first release in 12 years gives her fans exactly what they have been waiting for: CHER! She is certainly not going to win any new converts with this album, but for the crowds of people sure to buy out all of the dates on her upcoming tour, it is everything they need.