Picks and Pans Review: Cher

updated 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST


The stage is set for magic. Cher, at 41, has become an actress to be reckoned with, showing herself to be a performer of considerable subtlety, taste and wit. This is her first album release since 1982, and in the interim her always distinctive, penetrating, darkly promising voice has been retuned by singing coach Adrienne Angel. So now, presto, here comes this shlocky pop drivel. While Cher sounds healthy of voice, she overemotes embarrassingly, wringing the natural tremor in her voice into a gargly quaver—what might be expected from someone singing while digging up the street with a jackhammer. All 10 tracks on the album are overproduced with the hyperintensity of hard rock opuses. The songs range from bad to worst, the latter quality ably represented by Bang, Bang. This song was dopey back in 1966 when Cher and Sonny Bono, who wrote it, were still together ("Bang, bang, you shot me down/ Bang, bang, I hit the ground"). It's no recommendation that Cher's single of the tune reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart then (remember this the next time you're tempted to criticize the kids' taste in music, Mom and Dad). This version has a heavy-metal dirge quality to it, which makes it more ludicrous than ever. The other songs are written (and in some cases produced) by such younger generation pop rockers as Desmond Child, Michael Bolton and Jon Bon Jovi and all seem exquisitely inappropriate for Cher. Give Our Love a Fightin' Chancel Anyone there heard of songs by Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell—let's not even get into Gershwin and Porter or Sondheim? The level of sophistication of this project may be estimated from the photograph of Cher on this page. Released in conjunction with this album, it represents zero growth from the days when Cher was a callow teenager and seemed to think an alluring navel was an integral part of singing talent. (Geffen)

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