To find the truth on Cher’s first album of new material in 12 years, look beyond that over-polished, Britney-circa-Femme Fatale-era cover art on Closer to the Truth, wherein our leading diva confuses an album shoot for a JCPenney underwear catalog. The truth, it turns out, isn’t immediately apparent; it exists not in a 67-year-old woman trying to be a pinup girl, but in the frankness of Cher’s always-authentic self, when she preaches feminism (“Woman’s World”), tells a prospective lover to “Take It Like a Man” and, at her most honest, warns of her lethal wig-wearing, sequin-shimmering style (“Dressed to Kill”).
Picking up where 2001’s Living Proof left off — when Cher, impossible as it sounds, got even gayer — Closer to the Truth (her 26th LP) keeps the queers at her feet and on their knees; all three of the aforementioned songs pulse and bounce and bang like the icon never left the dance floor. And that’s only somewhat problematic, since some of these aren’t quite as ageless as the diva herself. “Woman’s World,” the first single, sounds very turn-of-the-millennium. One of two Pink-scribed contributions, “I Walk Alone,” exercises a country march that both befits early-era Cher and shakes up the sameness of the more vanilla-produced dance jams. Then she gets back to ballads, making magic out of “Sirens,” a glorious slow tempo that proves the timelessness of her voice, and breaking your heart just a little on her cover of Miley Cyrus’ “I Hope You Find It.” The truth is, Cher doesn’t need to turn back time. She’s fine right where she is.
— Chris Azzopardi