Warner Brothers Records, 1998



All of a sudden, nobody makes dance music... it's all "club" or "house music" now, with the exception of the Spice Girls. Morales-esque drum machines, brainlessly repeating samples, and virtually no lyrical depth whatsoever. Gloria Estefan more or less abandoned her tight Latin grooves for the bland club scene and her most recent dance album tanked. Ace Of Base never recovered after "moving up" from reggae. It's all fine in an actual club but man, on the radio it's flat-out BORING.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Cher recently made UK chart history with "Believe", the first single off her new album by the same name. It's infecting with the drum machine held underfoot by Cher's typical, but satisfying, brand of aerobic pop singing. Right off it's obvious her voice is processed through with effects but this is actually welcome; Cher's voice is, erm, unique in its loud fogginess that made earlier records irritating to listen to.

Aside from three formulaic, unmemorable tracks ("Runaway", "All Or Nothing", "Takin' Back My Heart") which resemble the slush being produced in virtually every other recording studio in the Free World, it's all in the name of decent pop music. "Strong Enough" and "Taxi Taxi" are true to Cher in its vocally-driven attitude (dance music all boils down to attitude... ask Madonna!). Less overbearing but equally effective are "Love Is The Groove" and "The Power". She's finally realized that we can still hear her when she doesn't shout. "We All Sleep Alone" is a dance remix of a previously released song and though it lost much of its original "yearning" tone, it sounds like a good bet in the clubs.

It's apparent that Believe is an effort to produce an unpretentious, honest pop album which strives to be both current and retaining of her traditional strengths. Though it falls short sometimes with its lack of diversity and club recycling, it still shows that Cher really can sing, and she has plenty of potential to exploit. If the next album dares to delve slightly deeper, the results would probably be met with warm hearts by radio listeners everywhere.

Rating: B-

User Rating: C



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