I Paralyze


Columbia Records, 1982


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Ever since she was a little girl growing up in Hollywood, Cher wanted to be a movie star and nothing else. It was only after hooking up with one Salvadore Bono at the tender age of sixteen that those plans were thwarted and she threw in her acting classes after he encouraged her to start singing. Bono worked for Phil Spector at the time and was already writing his own songs, and not being a singer himself, he began to form big plans for Cher. 

The rest, as they say, is history, and after enjoying one of the most celebrated careers in pop music for some 25-plus years, Cher turned her back on the pop world and her whopping salary from Vegas to concentrate on becoming an actress. It was because of this decision that when she did record, it was without billing (like 1980’s Black Rose) and she even recorded a duet with Meat Loaf (“Dead Ringer For Love”) but again, there was no mention of her name or image anywhere to be seen. 

Hollywood had told her she would never make it as a serious actress and she was hell-bent on proving them wrong. So a year before her major Oscar-nominated breakthrough (my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Silkwood, starring opposite Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell), Cher dropped into a studio and began work on her eighteenth studio album, the low-key but interesting enough I Paralyze

Considering her career was in the dumps at the time (for the third time), no one really expected this release to succeed at all, and when it did die a very quick death, Cher declared it would be her last album for some time. It would be five years until her next album (1988’s hit LP, Cher), and it arrived only after she had conquered Hollywood and picked up a couple of Golden Globes and the coveted Oscar as well.  So the hit records did come again, but it took some time and just why a couple of tracks from I Paralyze didn’t do much it anyone’s guess, because it’s far from Cher’s worst efforts. 

The album was produced by John Farrar, who brought in Desmond Child (who would prove vital for Cher’s late ‘80s success) to write some originals for the record. The best of these are the piano ballad “When The Love Is Gone” and the street-smart rocker “The Book Of Love,” the latter of which remains one of Cher’s most underrated gems to date. 

The album’s opener and lead single “Rudy” is a classic Cher song and really should have landed a higher place on the charts than it did. The track is a throwback to the girl group sounds of the ‘60s that is a real treat, and Cher’s voice was already beginning to lose its slightly nasal quality and mature into the deeper, sexier instrument it remains today. 

The most intriguing songs on the album come pretty early starting with the mid-tempo “Games” and the synth-pop gem “I Paralyze.” Even the quirky upbeat rocker “Back On The Street Again” seems to hit all the right notes, as does the retro styling of “Walk With Me.” 

Overall, I Paralyze isn’t really all that bad – in fact, for the time and place it came from, it still sounds pretty good to me. Cher’s versatility as a singer must be a treat for any producer to work with, and Farrar managed to update her sound as well as anyone had since the mid-‘70s. This album is definitely one of Cher’s lost gems that is a must for any fan to possess.

Rating: B

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© 2011 Mark Millan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.