12 years after the last Cher studio album and 15 years since her last top 40 pop hit single, expectations have not been particularly high for the 67 year old living legend's new collection. However, this is a very solid effort. Plenty of current mainstream pop artists fail to put together full-length albums that are this listenable and continue to provide audio pleasure after hearing the songs multiple times. Closer To the Truth is well balanced with the first half amounting to an uptempo dance suite and the second half explore more ballad territory.
Plenty Of Uptempo Dance Anthems
The tempo does not let up for the first six songs that kick off Closer To the Truth
. All of the songs are solid. Four of them are produced by Mark Taylor who was the architect for Cher's massive #1 worldwide dance smash "Believe." The single "Woman's World" is an empowerment anthem that sounds convincing. Cher's full-throated chorus invites singing along. "Take It Like a Man" features Believe
-era auto-tune effects as well guest backup vocals from Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters
. "Red," co-written by Swedish songwriter Carl Ryden, features a chorus with Cher delivering stellar soaring vocals. The song "Lovers Forever," originally written for the 1994 film Interview With the Vampire
by Cher and Shirley Eikhard, finally has its day in the spotlight and blends perfectly with the rest of the dance music here.
"I Walk Alone"
"I Walk Alone" is simultaneously the most oddball recording here and also the album's most memorable song. The folk-country stomp that kicks it off might remind long-time fans of Cher's early 1970s heyday with songs like "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves." However, as Cher heads into the powerful, emotional chorus there is a pleasing depth here. Although she acknowledges there is a time for everything, Cher emphatically states that at many points, "I gotta walk alone." The song was co-written by Pink
, Billy Mann, and the Swedish team MachoPyscho. They worked together on Pink's landmark "Stupid Girls."
Mature Pop Ballads
The closing songs on Closer To the Truth mostly explore ballad territory, and there is a mixed bag of success. However, these songs sound like a mature artist pushing some boundaries and exploring new territory. "Lie To Me," the second song co-written by Pink and Billy Mann, has almost a country feel and at times feels like it stretches Cher's vocal versatility. However, it does have a disarming sincerity. On "Sirens" Cher is given the chance to stretch her vocal chords in territory familiar to fans of her 1980s hits like "I Found Someone." A good reason for purchasing the deluxe edition of Closer To the Truth is that it includes Cher's powerful "You Haven't Seen the Last Of Me" from the soundtrack of Burlesque. It is a track that belongs with the rest of the songs here.
Sharp Return For Cher a Dozen Years Later
Perhaps only her most diehard fans expected a new album from Cher that is this good. It doesn't show evidence that she is jumping on any particular new trends in pop music. Instead, it is an established star feeling confident to deliver songs that fit her talents and stand somewhat outside what is current or fashionable. If you have been a fan of Cher's music since her chart-topping hits of the early 1970s, you will find much to like here. If you are a skeptic, it is worth listening. You just may develop additional respect for this legendary entertainer.