Monday, 5 October 2009

Cher's Black Rose

Between flops, Cher's first forray of the 80s was as lead vocalist for Black Rose and the resulting album shot its arrow straight towards the formula all her Geffen albums would emulate. The ill-faited album catapulted the singer's rock ambitions, served as basic training and skidmarks the debut of the leotard.

Above: Cher's dramatic objections and vocal virility turn what have been merely an average song into an orgasmic helter-skelter deserving of a future high-profile compilation inclusion.

Cher's lustful angst has never sounded so ambitiously furious. Her chainsaw vocals rip the material to shreds, which works wonders with the undue haste on the stark power ballad Never Should Have Started but quickly loses grip of the terrain by track two. However, this opener is very worthy: a steady piano rocks out, Cher sings a flickering falsetto beautifully like a Wolf silouette romancing the moonlight, and her band's backing vocals are taunting heckles which really finish this one off. With spine-chilling piano tinkles, witch-cackling hostility and cat-hissing enthusiasm, it is by far the best on offer here - the lurid guitar riff perfectly pitches Cher's ballsy performance and the piano chases after her.

Below: the old squat-and-pout signature pose couldn't rescue the dead end BlackRose project, but she did at least finally get rid of some wind after having a really bad curry for lunch.
The heavy chugging of Julie is borderline embarassing - Julie is definately an upturned-collar polo-shirt-clad lesbian. Oriental chimes glint off the singer's triggering intent, but the chorus is only worth it if one enjoys laughing at the singer's husky, BFG absurdity.

Below: If Cher were a ranch, they would call her the Bar Nothing.
The gangbanger Take It From The Boys is another gutteral attack - pub rock fodder despite promising arrow-pull-back spiringing bassline. Cher can make even the naffest rhymes sound glamorous but 'they got you sipping dry martini on a rack, they're slipping out the back door no slack' is one not best served sober.

Cher turns into Captain Jack Sparrow on We All Fly Home - it boasts an engaging chorus and her petrol-gargling vocals are significantly amazing. Observing the declining calibre of sex partners at the bar, she yells 'don't feel the danger cause it's the only fuckin' stranger' - we all have needs after all.

Above: Cher's wool-swallowing vocals led her to decide her next fashion craze - the emergency crotch-yank jumper.

The meddling 88 Degrees is the second semi-ballad with more bar-tender 'tart with a heart' rhetoric, but they are tying themselves in knots with this trainwreck.

You Know It is an in-band duet - it is always great to hear Cher sing alongside a man, usually emasculating them, but both stick it to the end admirably even if the melody feels like the end credits to just about any 80s movie.

Cher's bear-hug charm makes Young & Pretty a familiar 'old routine', the music pines and she stays slumped into her pint glass.

The burly Fast Company closes the affair in elegant exhaustion - someone give her a made up phone number already! Doo-wop backing vocals hurry her out the door, Lord knows who with.

The album would not have stood a chance without Cher, and despite being a flop with her, it really functions as a warm-up for what would follow, although despite the cheaper materials the solid opener is superior to 100% of her Geffen album cuts - the husky wail once again unshamed.

Above: christ, it's the Miami Sound Machine.


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