Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The prices Cherilyn Sarkisian paid on her way to becoming the iconic figure she is today were recounted in stark and moving detail in J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography Cher of '89.
At the end of that book Cher was on stage at the Oscars picking up the best actress award for her role in Moonstruck and beating out Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Holly Hunter (Broadcast News), Sally Kirkland (Anna) and perennial Academy favourite Meryl Streep (Ironweed).
As the LA Times noted however, "It's not always who wins or loses that causes the biggest commontion, sometimes it's what Cher wears".
On this night she was, typically, stunningly attired . . . and that takes a lot of work. It's tougher being Cher than anyone might imagine, but she hasn't been putting on the clothes and wigs or reading scripts for a long time now.
After that Oscar she became a multimilion singer again with the single If I Could Turn Back Time, didn't quite crack such great or high profile movie roles (although got good notices), fell ill, and made a trimphant return to form -- while introducing the Vocoder on an unsuspectng planet -- with her hit Believe in '98. And then did a Farewell Tour.
She still enjoyed club hits but Closer to the Truth is her first major label album of new material for over a decade (we're not counting the Burlesque soundtrack with Christine Aguilera).
And although something of a shapeshifter when it came to her appearance, here she sticks with the proven formula of her recent years and delivers up (mostly) stonking dance tracks (with occasional Vocoder) by configurations of writers (including Pink, Paul Oakenfold and herself).
That blistering voice seems undimished by time (she is a remarkable 67) and the belting opening salvo on Red could strip rust from a hull at a thousand yards.
There are interesting oddities here though: the banjo which opens I Walk Alone (but gets overtaken by the dance beat); the deceptively quiet opening of Favourite Scars and the widescreen ballads (the beat-driven My Love, and Sirens which rather sounds like a showtune) show this isn't just some studio confection.
Cher could always belt out a lyric but she also chose words which meant something to her, and you can hear echoes of that on Closer to Truth in songs like the piano and string ballad I Hope You Find It (which she co-wrote).
Cher did, but she paid the prices.
This is the pay-off though. A big and bashing -- but sometimes considered and heartfelt -- album which stands as a late career high.
Get the deluxe edition with the three extra tracks, the last song written by Diane Warren's and it is . . . You Haven't Seen the Last of Me.
Let's hope not.