It all began in 2001. My mother rented a VHS at Blockbuster for my entertainment. Knowing how interested I am in music, she decided to rent a concert. That VHS was Cher: Live in Concert (The 1999-2000 Do you Believe tour).
Furthermore, I immediately demanded Cher CDs and my mother regretted her decision.
This was a big tour for Cher. It was the first after her smash number one hit “Believe.” I was mesmerized into the evening as each of her elaborate sets unfolded and was confused how one could dye their hair so quickly.
Over the next few years, I collected almost every album on CD (hence, my mother’s financial regret) that I could find of this impeccable performer. I was completely enamored by her originality and resilience. I loved her new dance tunes from the albums “Believe” and “Living Proof,” but I equally loved her 80’s, 70’s, and 60’s equivalents.
Throughout these albums, one always stood out to me, and 15 years later I find myself still listening to it. Cher’s self-titled LP in 1987 has always kept my attention differently then her other efforts. She sounds renewed with a new energy in these songs after what was a tumultuous decade and a half in her life. She was a new Cher while distinctly being nostalgic of where she came from.
The album opens with the anthem “I Found Someone.” This song is very empowering and Cher’s distinct vocals roll over the beginning notes with a gothic arrangement, taking the listener straight into the guitar and piano wrung “screw you” attitude.
Next is one of my all time favorite Cher songs, “We All Sleep Alone.” This song speaks a truth that many don’t necessarily think about. It’s not a ballad, it’s not an anthem, and it’s not pure rock. It’s raw emotion coming from the lonelieness in all of our souls, something Cher knew all to well. The song just glides over you, like wind rippling through sheets with Cher’s voice setting the climate.
Then there is her “remix” of sorts of the Sonny Bono penned “Bang Bang.” This new arrangement gives this song a new, rougher sentiment. Cher’s vocals are stronger than ever, yet within the song’s lyrics she is still the unlikely victim. These are brilliant, ironic vocals that only Cher can achieve.
Flipping the record to the last song, “Hard Enough Getting Over You” sends yet another message. This song conveys an optimistic message that there is always another chance, even though it’s hard to rid yourself of your past. It is a low amped power ballad sprinkled with ache with a durable spirit. She belts that she can’t say good-bye again, yet the future is in full view. This song signifies Cher closing the door, with no regrets, of her past.
Then there is the rest of the album that I equally love. She serenades us with her tender
power ballad “Main Man,” while we have the pure rock tunes like “Give Our Love a Fighting Chance” and “Dangerous Times” and pure pop tunes like “Perfection” and “Working Girl.” Then there’s this random one that reminds me of a 1980’s aerobic class with high cut leotards, “Skin Deep.” Was Cher thinking about a future video?
Today I have nearly every album she has made, seen her twice in concert, and I might have a poster on my wall. This is always my go to Cher album. This u proves Cher’s vocal ability. It was made before the time that auto tune and various measures took over pop music. Although Cher employs these today, underneath it all, she is a pure vocal acrobat.
This album is a cumulation of bad relationships, being a single mother, and rampant lies from the press attempting to destroy her character. When you look into her history, these emotions are heard clearly in this album. This is an album of strife, tears, and success.
It’s just too good to keep to myself. If you haven’t found someone, tend to sleep alone, have a fondness for vocals that go skin deep, and yet ring in your ear like a bang from a gun, just give me a ring, I’ll Cher this one with you.