Today’s POP RESCUE is the 1991 Love Hurts album from Cher.
When playing, you realise that a 12th track has been snuck on the end – her hit The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) from her film The Mermaids, which isn’t named on the sleeve notes, but does get a mention on the disc itself.
This album is still full-on rock Cher.
She was yet to be vocodered to within an inch of her life, and so this album relies on the power of her unmistakable voice, and a gutsy rock band, to belt out all 12 tracks. This style may have been influenced by her then partner – guitarist Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi.
The album spawned five singles, Love And Understanding, Love Hurts, Save Up All Your Tears, Could’ve Been You, and When Lovers Become Strangers, and 5 of the 12 songs were cover versions.
Opener, Save Up All Your Tears (a Bonnie Tyler and Robin Beck cover) is a rocky piano track, that gives the album a strong start, and one that hints of how it could sound when it would be played in a stadium.
Title track Love Hurts feels somewhat weak in retrospect. It’s a cover of her own 1975 track, but it comes across as a unremarkable power ballad that would probably have got Celine Dion whipped into a frenzy.
Thankfully, Love And Understanding comes along, and this is a highlight of the album. It’s catchy, up-beat, and feels much more slick than Love Hurts. This is probably why it was the lead single. It’s then no surprise to read that Diane Warren is the writer behind this track.
Judy Collins cover, Fires Of Eden, is a fairly up-beat track, and is certainly amongst the better tracks on this album. However, I’ll Never Stop Loving You is a very 1991 rock-by-numbers track, and whilst it may have stood up well 23 years ago, it feels very dated now.
One Small Step sees Cher duet with Richard Page (lead singer from 80s band Mr. Mister), and it’s an improvement on the previous two tracks but the next track, A World Without Heroes (a Kiss cover), is a marked improvement on the last three tracks. Musically it’s stronger, and more interesting, and gives Cher’s vocals a greater range.
Fourth single, Could’ve Been You is up next, and continues the upwards trend again. Sadly it wasn’t particularly a big hit for Cher, but it’s a welcome return to form. It’s far more pop than the tracks heard so far on this album.
Remaining on form, When Love Calls Your Name is a good sturdy track, with plenty of rock guitars and drums, and powerful Cher vocals.
An orchestra opens the next track, the final single from the album – When Lovers Become Strangers. It’s Cher singing a nice gentle ballad. It works. It might be clearly a late-80s sounding track, but it’s a great song. I could imagine this being a really nice orchestra or acoustic guitar-only version.
Who You Gonna Believe is a belter of a track, and I think that this should have been a single. It’s more powerful and interesting than a lot of the other tracks on the album.
With the album closing on the ‘hidden’ hit single The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss), which was already released on the Mermaids soundtrack, the album gets a final boost.
Essentially, this album doesn’t scale many heights. It feels a bit generic at times and gets lost and unmemorable in the middle. Whether this album was made simply to fulfil her Geffen contract remains a mystery (she left them after this one).
Sorry Cher, this is mostly just a Love And Misunderstanding.
where is cher now?
After huge success with single and album Believe in the late 90s, and a sell-out ‘Farewell Tour’, she soon came back to record and release more material. She has also continued to appear in film and television.
She hasn’t really gone away.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 2 / 5
- 1991 UK CHART POSITION: #1
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 (from a Poundland store).