CHER: LIVING PROOF (2002)
1) The Music's No Good Without You; 2) Alive Again; 3) (This Is) A Song For The Lonely; 4) A Different Kind Of Love Song; 5) Rain, Rain; 6) Love So High; 7) Body To Body, Heart To Heart; 8) Love Is A Lonely Place Without You; 9) Real Love; 10) Love One Another; 11) You Take It All; 12) When The Money's Gone.
I shall hitherto abstain from resorting to crudely offensive jokes based on unscientific correlation of the title of this album with the photograph of the artist on the front cover. We take civility very seriously here at Only Solitaire — it is impolite and tasteless to produce jokes on subjects that have already served as the basis for entire joke pools and countless running gags — and prefer to treat the issues of Cher discontinuing a certified existence as a real human being and of Cher's music discontinuing the right to be called «music» as two completely separate issues, unrelated until proven so by a joint commission of expert plastic surgeons, fashion designers, musicologists, sound engineers, and cocktail waitresses.
In the meantime, we are going to keep this brief and state that since Living Proof, a bona fide follow-up to Believe, is everything that Believe wanted to be and less, the only people who would be interested in this second libation to the Great Goddess of Techno-Pop are those who actually dug the hypnotic grooves and mesmerizing textures of the lady's 1998 spiritual masterpiece. For the rest of us, the inclusion of ʽSong For The Lonelyʼ, the agonizing terror song of 2002 that may have cost more people their psychic sanity than 9/11 cost people their lives, will be sufficient reason to stay away from this abomination. Of all the songs written and recorded in memory of the tragic event, ʽSong For The Lonelyʼ, with its awful lyrics and generic techno beat, may indeed have been the most gruesome. The only way "I'll be by your side" is through radio overkill, and, indeed, the song was all over the place in 2002, almost like ʽBelieveʼ before it, and boy, have I ever suffered in public places (yes, even in Mother Russia) — you had to run for shelter from its shrillness, loudness, and total cheapness.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album is hardly better. There's nothing here, really, but a steadily calculated attempt at repeating the success of Believe — one flat, forgettable, trivial techno-pop piece of garbage after another. The European hit ʽThe Music's No Good Without Youʼ, with its light acid overtones and computerized chorus (which sounds as if they were teaching a robot some pickup lines), is, at the very best, just danceable (like everything else on here), but has less emotion than a Pepsi jingle. The near-obligatory Diane Warren contribution is the faux-Spanish «flamenco ballad» ʽBody To Body, Heart To Heartʼ that continues the «Latin exploitation» theme begun by ʽDove L'Amoreʼ and does it in an equally embarrassing manner. And if you try to dig a little deeper, in faint hopes of discovering some minor accidental nugget, beware — it is far more probable to hit a hot stream of shit under heavy pressure, such as ʽLove One Anotherʼ, a techno anthem taken from Dutch singer Amber whose chief achievement is setting the mantra "love one another, sisters and brothers" to a techno beat.
Ugh, no. It was pretty hard for me to imagine a sequel to Believe that would be even worse, but yes, this here is a sequel to Believe that is much, much worse — and did I even mention the Autotune abuse that is now all over the place? No? Go ahead, listen to ʽReal Loveʼ: it's like she's making fun of Stephen Hawking or something. Thumbs down does not even begin to describe the true reaction to the album — «six feet under» would be much closer to the truth.