Closer to the Truth

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After half a century in the music industry, it's amazing that Cher is still making records in 2013. That Closer to the Truth is any good at all is even more shocking. With the help of her longtime producer Mark Taylor, plus Billy Mann and Paul Oakenfold, the album has a fully modern sound, a large portion of the songs (written by the usual cast of many who include P!nk and Cher herself) are hooky and fun, and her voice, aided by technology or not, still carries a lot of weight and power. The album is split down the middle with the first half made up of shimmering, supercharged dance tracks that have disco and house influences and seem destined to fire up clubgoers with their soaring choruses. The empowerment jam "Woman's World" has the most impact, but the whole batch of songs packs a big, glittery punch. Cher sounds absolutely in her element with these songs and her thundering vocals fit perfectly in the mix. After a campy, banjo-led romp that sounds like someone tried to fuse Mumford & Sons with the Scissor Sisters ("I Walk Alone"), the second half heads deep into some heavy adult contemporary sounds. The final four songs are stripped down a little, built on acoustic guitars and strings, and played for maximum drama with Cher emoting for all she's worth, only a little more quietly. These songs aren't as successful, thanks to the somewhat syrupy melodies and clichéd lyrics, but also because Cher's vocals sound a little worn and frayed around the edges. It's not terrible by any stretch, but the first half of the album is so much fun that the second half suffers in comparison. An entire album of disco ball-shattering dance songs may have been too much and worn out its welcome. Too bad Cher and her team didn't give it a shot, though. Maybe sometime in the next 50 years....

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