Some hits are timeless, while others eventually fall to the wayside. It’s safe to say that Cher’s 1998 hit, “Believe,” is here for good.
It has been 20 years since Cher released this iconic single, accompanied by its equally trailblazing album. The album Believe comes off the heels of Cher’s 1995 album, It’s A Man’s World. Although It’s A Man’s World truly shows the scope of Cher’s vocals, it was a commercial failure, only selling 700,000 copies worldwide to this day. Believe came at a “do or die” moment in Cher’s career.
After months of transformation the single, “Believe,” was released and went on to sell ten million copies worldwide. The album went on to sell one million copies in America alone, receiving platinum certification. “Believe” toped the charts in 23 countries and garnered a Grammy award for best dance recording. Not to mention, it introduced auto-tune, for better or worse, to the music industry.
This was a “do” moment for Cher.
For the album’s 20th anniversary “Believe” has been released on vinyl for the first time. Long overdue, this album was a classic on CD, but the vinyl gives it the affection it deserves. The vinyl pressing shows the intricacies of Cher’s voice while highlighting the pulsating beats of all ten dance club anthems. Even after 20 years, this album sounds like modern day vanguard in pop music.
The album begins with the smash “Believe.” From the moment this song starts, one can see Cher descending from the ceiling in something adorned by Bob Mackie. While the verses are overtly auto-tuned, the chorus and bridge bring on Cher’s classic vocal style. Although “Believe” is the standout track, great tunes follow.
From the Bollywood inspired “The Power” to the funky “Takin’ Back My Heart” with a dash of salsa from “Dove La Moré,” this album is a reflection of what dance and pop music would become in the next decade. Cher takes on each style with deep and robust dance beats mixed with a method that only one icon could achieve.
Cher went on to release three more singles from the album, most notably “All or Nothing” and “Strong Enough.” Following in the same stream of consciousness as “Believe,” these tracks are essential to Cher’s wide and varied catalog. “All or Nothing” walks the fine line between the pop anthem and dance floor, while “Strong Enough” starts with a bluesy piano riff before escalating to a modern disco classic. The album closes with a dance power ballad “Love is The Groove,” while remixing Cher’s 1988 hit “We All Sleep Alone.”
After listening to this album for nearly 20 years, it sounds just as fresh as it did in 1998. Cher has always been on the cusp, sculpting and creating blueprints for modern pop tunes and artists. “Believe” is no exception. With all of Cher’s career highs and lows, this album proves her accurate pop culture intuition, while giving us all a reason to believe again.
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