It’s one thing for artists to transcend generations, and stay relevant throughout a multitude of decades. There are plenty who have been going strong for 30 or 40 years, and while they may not maintain the same audience they once had, are still revered as respectable musicians. Paul McCartney. Billy Joel. Bob Dylan. The Rolling Stones.
But it’s another thing for an artist to reappear out of nowhere for three consecutive decades, thus evoking three different generations of music fans to say, “Holy shit, she’s not dead?!”
And I mean that with the utmost respect.
Cherilyn Sarkisian — which sounds like a character’s name straight out of Game of Thrones — best known by her stage name, Cher, released her first album as a duo with Sonny Bono in 1967. That is 46 years ago. A man hadn’t even walked on the moon yet.
So the older folks out there probably will remember her from those days, when she sang with Bono, who was her husband until 1975, before he went and got himself killed by skiing into a tree in 1998.
But for people under the age of 40, how you remember Cher may be distinguished by the time period in which you grew up. She released the track, “If I Could Turn Back Time” in 1989, and the song was a big hit. And she was 43 at the time. That age isn’t quite over-the-hill just yet, but it’s fairly old for a pop diva. When the song was released, I think people assumed it was probably her final hit.
But then, magically, nine years later, Cher reemerged, and introduced herself to a whole new audience with “Believe.” I was 11 years old when that song came out, and I can vouch that it was huge. Huge. It was played everywhere, and it was catchy as hell. Heck, I even still like listening to it now. And she was 51 when she released that song. That’s bordering on grandma territory.
The song also allegedly pioneered the use of Auto-Tune in contemporary music. While Auto-Tune is now looked at with a negative stigma, and viewed as a cop-out for artists who can’t sing *CoughGleeCough*, it wasn’t looked at that way when Cher used it. It was new and innovative, and actually contributed to the song. I honestly kind of forgot that Auto-Tune was even used. At the time, I thought Cher was just so talented that she was able to manipulate her voice. Again, I was 11.
But then Cher went into hibernation again. This time, everyone knew there was no way, no way, that she would ever come back again.
Until last night.
That’s a clip of last night’s season finale of The Voice, in which Cher debuted her new single.
When I first heard that Cher was premiering a new single, I couldn’t have been more surprised than if you told me that Whitney Houston was planning a comeback tour.
But any excitement that anyone might have had to see Cher perform should have been extinguished by her hairdo. What the hell is that? She looks like she has a purple feather duster on her head. Her haircut honestly makes her look like an angst-ridden teenage boy who hates high school.
Also, older artists normally try to appear to an older audience. This song is clearly meant to be something that is played in clubs or bars. It’s a fast paced dance song. Sung by a 67-year-old woman. That definitely is grandma territory.
Imagine your grandmother on stage doing dance moves, draped in leather and singing a song that is aimed to played when drunk college girls are grinding on guys at bars, go back with them to their dorm room and make a decision that they’ll regret deeply the next morning. And this song started that.
Oh and here’s a fun fact. The song is called “Woman’s World,” and, looking at Cher’s discography right now, she apparently released an album in 1995 called “It’s a Man’s World.” Tell your friends tomorrow about this great piece of knowledge that I just instilled in you!
As far as the song itself goes — I don’t know. I can maybe see it catching on, and it will probably get some radio play simply because of the allure of its singer, but I don’t really predict it to have the same level of success of “Believe.”
But you never know. She convinced me that there was life after love, so maybe she’ll also persuade me that it is indeed a woman’s world.