Sonny Bono isnít mentioned in Cherís new CD, but his presence is felt. From "A Song for the Lonely" and "A Different Kind of Love Song" to "All Alone," "Real Love," and "Love Is a Lonely Place Without You," Cher sings tempestuously about loss, about emptiness, about loneliness in many aspects. And what else but the missing of Sonny can be the message of "The Musicís No Good Without You," with its sad crying melody and its uncredited male vocalist standing off to one side of the mike and singing when Cher doesnít? Their voices meet only through the electronic distortion of a vocoder ó distortion accompanied by spacy, Eurodisco effects, as if the whole thing were an unrealizable dream.
Cher dedicates "Song for the Lonely" to the "courageous people of New York, especially the firefighters, police, Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki, and my friend Liz," and of course she means it, but the fan will supply the missing name. It is strange that she and Sonny, who made perfect music 35 years ago and then hardly spoke to each other for much too long afterward, should reunite so palpably, as the congressman and the pop icon, she fiercely alive, he serenely dead. Rarely has "I miss you" been sung with as much conviction as Cher sings it in "Love Is a Lonely Place." A voice as dominant and insisting as hers needs a message with conviction ó otherwise the songs sound top-heavy with camp. But not here. "Real Love," the disco tune "Love One Another," and a Gipsy KingĖish "Body to Body, Heart to Heart" cling to a passionate togetherness. Cherís solid alto leaves no room for doubt. And none for camp.