Picks and Pans Review: Heart of Stone

updated 08/07/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/07/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Cher

Let's not draw any hasty conclusions—that Cher is maturing, say. But this splendid pop album is a quantum leap above her 1987 record.

No adolescent songs. No sledgehammer arrangements. No overacted, tremulous vocals. Cher sings expressively, with passion and control, and the music seems consistently intelligent.

Peter Asher, who has worked well with Linda Ronstadt and Carly Simon, produced three tracks, including the fine title cut by Andy Hill and Pete Sinfield and "After All," a balanced duet with Peter Cetera from the film Chances Are.

Composers Michael Bolton, Desmond Child, Diane Warren and Jon Lind seem thoughtful—which they didn't in their work for Cher's '87 album. (This record's weak track, the overdone "Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?" was written by Child, Warren, Richie Sambora, Cher's new flame, and Jon Bon Jovi.)

Someone should lobby with Cher to show a sense of pop music history and record a few standards—she isn't Ella or Barbra, but she's not Tiffany either. Until the real thing comes along, though, this album promotes thinking, feeling, dancing and listening in substantial quantities. It's a real triumph. (Geffen)

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