Today’s POP RESCUE is the 1982 17th album I Paralyze by American pop goddess and actress, Cher. Will this album be a stunner, or leave you in a critical condition? Read our review…
Side One of this 9 track LP opens with the lead single Rudy, and this song kind of bursts open with a Meatloaf/Jim Steinman style dramatic way, laden with piano and guitars. It’s a rock love song and Cher delivers the vocals for it with power, and flawlessly. The track itself is fairly catchy, and the song flows with what feels like little effort thanks to its nice melody. The track is actually a re-titled cover of Dalida‘s 1981 track Quand Je N’aime Plus, Je M’en Vais. Neither artist managed to get it to chart in the UK singles charts.
Games follows this, and this takes a softer approach, allowing Cher to show off some of her softer style in contrast to the rock start. She sits here alongside a simple bass, and there are some wonderful vocal harmonies in the chorus. The piano and electric guitar seem to growl into a duel in the mid section before Cher returns, as if to break apart two fighting dogs and take control. It works well, perhaps better that Lisa Hartman‘s original 1982 album version.
That’s followed by the titular track I Paralyze, which begins with a wonderfully odd sounding intro – with saxophones and vocoder giving it a strange funky sound, and this works really well, and is certainly a contrast again. Cher of course, delivers her vocals flawlessly and the whole odd spectacle makes for a really great song, but despite this, it didn’t chart.
When The Love Is Gone is next up and this gives us a heartfelt tender ballad, where we hear Cher deliver her uplifting lyrics perfectly. She’s joined once again by the piano and electric guitar, and also some dramatic drum fills just to add to the positive feeling of the song. It’s a nice little track.
This side comes to a close with Say What’s On Your Mind, and this again takes another stylistic turn – the chugging guitars give it some kind of railroad song. Cher belts out the vocals in the way that she seems to do with great ease, and ultimately it’s a really great pop track with some country-ish style.
Side Two opens with Back On The Street Again, a cover of Babys 1979 track Back On My Feet Again, and this song really delivers. Synths swoop in and it sounds wonderfully 80’s as a result as they gurgle away throughout. Cher bursts in with guitars, particularly during the chorus, and the result is another uplifting, race through. Cher gets some more big vocal moments here alongside the roaring guitars. This track is pumped with energy, again perhaps echoing the Meatloaf/Steinman style of drama, and the result is a wonderful track that really should have been given a chance as a single.
That leads on to Walk With Me, which has a kind of 1960’s Motown vibe to it. Cher sounds really good here and she’s lifted gently up with the help of some backing vocals. It’s a simple song though, and therefore doesn’t really evolve much.
The Book Of Love follows that, and we’re back to growling guitar and tinkling piano. Whilst Cher puts in a decent performance here and the guitar solo in the middle is a treat, the song doesn’t really evolve from its simple path either.
The album closes with Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, which is a slower song that opens with organ. Cher takes to the vocals with great ease and the song gently meanders along with a country-esque sound. It’s a gentle end to the album.
Over all, this album is a bit of a mixed bag.
We know that Cher has delivered some truly fantastic rock greats, alongside some wonderful pop hits too, but this album seems to be a bridge for her, and one where it sounds like she can’t quite decide whether to cross it or not.
There are some good songs here; Rudy is a nice enough track but perhaps not the right starting point, with the likes of Back On The Street Again being an absolute belter, and Say What’s On Your Mind is worth a nod too. However, some of the other songs like Walk With Me and The Book Of Love feel a bit too flat for Cher, even though she delivers her vocals perfectly, musically those songs are dull or just feel too timid for her.
The echoes of Meatloaf here makes sense, when you realise that she recorded and released Dead Ringer For Love with him, but it didn’t make the album.
The album was a commercial failure for Cher, and it failed to chart. Neither of the singles performed well either, perhaps thwarted by a lack of promo videos. That aside, the unmistakeable sound of Cher beams undeterred from the album, and we know she would soon be back on her feet again.
Paralyzed is a bit of a bold claim, so let’s just say she slightly bores with this album.
- POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1982 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Did not chart.
- POP RESCUE COST: €12.34 from a Discogs.com seller.
Based on all of the Cher albums we have reviewed so far, we are able to calculate her average album score as 3.00 out of 5.