Cher had a big comeback in the late 1980's with two albums and several hit singles, including "I Found Someone" and "Turn Back Time". After incarnations as a part of a pop duo that was Sonny and Cher, a story-song singer in "Half Breed" and "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves", and a disco singer with "Take Me Home", these albums had Cher singing her "first love"--rock and roll. My opinion is that Cher has always been strongest singing rock and roll--her voice is so strong that it belongs with loud music accompanying her. This album was the least successful in the US of the "Geffen troika", the other two albums being "Cher" and "Heart of Stone". However, I think it is the most enjoyable of the three, and each song is a success.
In the US there were two hit singles from this release, "Love and Understanding" and "Save Up All Your Tears". My favourite is the latter, even though it wasn't as successful as "Love and Understanding". Both sound like a ray of sunlight on a cold winter day. "Save Up..." is about strength in the face of broken love; "Love..." is about how the world simply needs more love and understanding. I remember the sexy video for "Love and Understanding"; understandably, my mother did not want her four-year-old watching hardly anything to do with Cher! In the UK, where this album was one of the biggest of Cher's career, "Love Hurts" and "Could've Been You" were also hits. In "Could've Been You", Cher doesn't seek to "get even" or have revenge on her former lover who left her--she simply reminds him, with a hint of compassion, that it was not her decision to leave their relationship, and that her old companion had missed the boat on a future together. To me, break-up songs that seek no revenge make the best ones, and this song fits in that category. In "Love Hurts", Cher doesn't lose dignity while being distraught over the pain in her relationship. The guitars seem to wail right along with her.
One thing I love about this album is how within the seemingly standard love songs, there are hints of spirituality that make the songs have more meaning and depth. "Fires of Eden," "One Small Step" (a duet with Richard Page from Mr. Mister), "When Love Calls Your Name", and even the dark "A World Without Heroes" seem to insinuate faith in something stronger than us, which takes these songs beyond standard pop/rock fare. This does tie in with Cher's faith in God, and I'm glad that she chose to record something deeper than what most pop/rock albums offer.
Other gems on this album include the heartbreaking "I'll Never Stop Loving You" (co-written by David Cassady, and a song that I used to cry to as a kid), and another personal strength song in the album closer "Who You Gonna Believe." The only weak song to me is "When Lovers Become Strangers", but even that is listenable.
Cher is now best known for her dance hits in "Believe" etc., and I hope that this album is never forgotten in the midst of her remaining catalogue. Fans of rock and roll music with a deeper perspective and little in the way of hedonism will not be disappointed.