After having major success with her two previous albums for Geffen, (Cher and Heart Of Stone) Cher wasted no time in getting to work on her 21st studio album, having barely taken a break after touring heavily throughout 1990. The third in her trilogy of soft-rock albums, Love Hurts would go onto become Cher’s second biggest-selling album of her illustrious career. Production was overseen by John Kalodner, and although he did produce a coherent and moody album here, there is just not enough spark to make it a wholly enjoyable experience.
And while the hit singles from Love Hurts still sound magnificent, the rest of the material here is not as strong or original than that on its sister albums. Cher’s voice was still in great shape, but she was suffering terribly from a moderate to severe case of Epstein-Barr syndrome. This meant that her energy levels were dropping ,which was hell for the fitness fanatic and following a short tour to support this album, Cher took two years off work and her career again took a massive nosedive.
I’m not sure how well Cher was feeling during the recording sessions for the record, but on songs like “When Love Calls Your Name” and “When Lovers Become Strangers,” she sounds bored and lifeless. “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” is only marginally better, and a little better still is the rocker “Fires Of Eden.” Cher did score a creative win, though, with a cover of KISS’ “A World Without Heroes,” which is tailor-made for her unique voice.
Another mid-tempo rocker that isn’t all that bad is “Could’ve Been You,” which was a minor hit, but as cool as it sounds, it’s also utterly forgettable. The guitar-driven “Who You Gonna Believe?” is very Bon Jovi-esque and it really doesn’t reach the heights that it should have. As I said before, it’s the hits that save this record’s ass big time, as they were perfectly crafted for Cher and rank among her finest moments on record.
The title track is a great cover of the classic song that was a hit for The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Nazareth, and Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. Cher’s version is a faithful one but the heaviest of them all, and in my opinion, it’s the best and seeing her do it live during her Farewell Tour in 2005 was a blast. “Love And Understanding” is a very catchy pop-rocker that still sounds fresh today and sports a another great vocal performance from Cher. Last but not least is the awesome slice of power-pop that is “Save Up All Your Tears,” which is a great song for Cher and hasn’t aged a bit (much like the lady herself.)
There really isn’t much more to say about this one because apart from the incredible sales figures, there is nothing much memorable about Love Hurts, and its best songs are readily available on several compilations. After finishing this album, Cher opted out of a renewal of her Geffen contract and vanished from public view for more than two years. When she was well again, however, she found returning to a rapidly changing music business quite challenging and struggled to get support from a record label for what she had in mind, but that’s a story for another day…