Believe (Cher album)
|Studio album by Cher|
|Released||October 26, 1998|
|Recorded||1998; Dreamhouse Studios, London
Soundworks Studios, New York
|Singles from Believe|
Believe is the twenty-second studio album by American singer-actress Cher, first released on October 22, 1998 by Wea Records and distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Records. Following the failure of her previous studio album It's a Man's World, her record company encouraged her to return to the studio to pursue a new musical direction. Recording took place over the summer at the Dreamhouse Studios in London and the Soundworks Studios in New York under the guidance of English producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling. The album was dedicated to her ex-husband Sonny Bono, who died earlier that year.
Believe represents a complete musical departure from her previous works, consisting of dance-pop and eurodance oriented styles, yet it includes a broader range of various musical genres such as techno, house, disco and Latin while its lyrical topics include freedom, individualism and relationships. The album features some of the new technology of the time, like the usage of Auto-tune, which would eventually become known as the "Cher effect". Upon release, the album received mixed reviews from music critics, who commended Cher's vocal performance, while others criticized the highly amount of vocoder and its overall production. It won one Grammy for "Best Dance Recording" from a total of three nominations.
Commercially, Believe proved to be extremely successful, peaking at number four on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of more than 233,000 copies, and was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of four million copies across the United States. The record reached the peak position in Canada, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Denmark and Portugal and charted within' the top ten in United Kingdom, France, Spain and several other international territories. It was certified gold or platinum in then record-breaking 41 countries across the world and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, having accumulated worldwide sales of more than 12 million copies.
Four singles were released from the album. The first single, "Believe", became one of the biggest-selling singles ever by topping the charts in a total of 23 countries with sales of more than 11 million copies worldwide. It was followed by "Strong Enough" which was another chart topping success. "All or Nothing" and "Dov'è l'amore" were released as the third and fourth singles respectively, both becoming moderately successful. In order to support Believe, Cher embarked on her sixth concert tour entitled the Do You Believe? Tour which became one of the highest grossing tour ever for a female artist at that time. Critics and scholars have noted the album's influence on popular music, especially how it helped bring dance music and Auto-tune into mainstream pop culture; they also noted the way in which Cher was able to re-invent herself and remain fresh and contemporary amidst the more teen pop-based music of the time.
Background and history
After the poorly received previous record It's a Man's World, Warner talked Cher into recording a dance album. Cher began working on Believe in the summer of 1998 in London, meeting with producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling, who had previously worked with Rob Dickins; additional producers included Todd Terry ("Taxi Taxi") and Junior Vasquez (who had originally worked on "Dov'è L'Amore", but when he sent back his version from New York, it was rejected by Dickens, who decided instead to give the production of the track to Taylor and Rawling as well). Cher worked also with long-time collaborator Diane Warren (who wrote "Takin' Back My Heart") and covered two songs: "The Power" (Amy Grant) and "Love Is the Groove". Furthermore, she decided to introduce a remix form of her 1988 single "We All Sleep Alone" from her 1987 Cher album.
The "Believe" single was originally written only by Brian Higgins, Matt Gray, Stuart McLennen and Tim Powell, and circulated at Warner Bros. as an unwanted demo for months. Mark Taylor said, "Everyone loved the chorus but not the rest of the song; As we were already writing other songs for Cher, Rob asked us if we could sort it out. Two of our writers, Steve Torch and Paul Barry, got involved and eventually came up with a complete song that Rob and Cher were happy with."
During early sessions Cher recorded a cover version of "Love Is in the Air" that she previously performed a cappella on the talk show The Magic Hour in 1997. The song was mixed and produced by Junior Vasquez, but it did not appear on the final cut of the album. Now it is only available on file sharing networks.
The album featured a new musical direction for Cher, with use of Auto-Tune, most notably in the title track. The album was influenced by Sonny Bono's death in a skiing accident earlier that year. Believe is dedicated to him.
|Entertainment Weekly||B− |
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Upon release, the album received mixed responses from international music critics. Allmusic's Michael Gallucci called Believe Cher's "latest playground move" and described Cher "merely moves through the beat factory with one drab vocal range into one endless, and personality-free, thump session" and "determinedly, if not wholeheartedly, clinging to the tail end of it". In his review he gave the album two and a half out of five stars. The major criticism was the strong use of Auto-Tune which changed Cher's voice. Beth Johnson of Entertainment Weekly gave it a B- rating, comparing it to Madonna's Ray of Light (1998). She said "One minute, this dance grab bag is mimicking Ray of Light; the next, paying homage to Donna Summer's disco days — then both at once!" But did say "Believe is erratic (and sometimes cheesy) as hell, but you gotta love how her Cher-ness shines."
The album had debuted at number thirty-nine on the Australian Albums Chart, and eventually peaked at number thirteen there, and was certificated X2 Platinum by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The album also peaked at number forty-one, and peaked at number one on the New Zealand Albums Chart and was certificated X2 Platinum by Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). It had peaked at number two on the Swedish Albums Chart, and was certificated Platinum in their country. It is also the 73rd Best Selling of All Time in Sweden. It had peaked at number five on the French Albums Chart, and stayed in the charts for forty-seven weeks. The album was certificated Platinum in that country. It peaked at number one in Austria, and stayed in there for thirty-seven weeks. It was certificated 2X Platinum in that country. The album was very successful worldwide, becoming one of Cher's most successful and iconic albums to date.
Awards and nominations
In 1999, the album received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Pop Album" and the title track was nominated for "Record of the Year", as well as winning the Grammy Award for "Best Dance Recording". Throughout 1999 and 2000 Cher was nominated for, and won, many other awards for the album, including a Billboard Music Award for "Female Vocalist of the Year".
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Believe.
|Believe – Standard edition|
|4.||"All or Nothing"||
|7.||"Takin' Back My Heart"||
|9.||"Love Is the Groove"||
|10.||"We All Sleep Alone" (Todd Terry remix)||
|Believe – Japanese/Australian limited edition|
|11.||"Believe" (Club 69 Future Full Mix)||
|12.||"Believe" (Xenomania Mix)||
- "Believe" contains samples from the compositions "Prologue" and "Epilogue" performed by Electric Light Orchestra from their studio album Time.
Credits and personnel
- Tracy Ackerman - background vocals
- Chris Anderson - piano
- Ryan Art - design
- Kevyn Aucoin - make-up
- Paul Barry - composer, background vocals
- Jeffrey Bernstein - programming
- Winston Blissett - bass
- Jon Bon Jovi - composer, producer
- Johan Brunkvist - keyboards
- Colleen Callaghan - hair stylist
- Cher - primary artist
- Desmond Child - composer, producer
- Betsy Cook - composer
- Rob Dickins - executive producer
- Ada Dyer - background vocals
- Humberto Gatica - mixing
- Marc Goodman - engineer
- Marlon Graves - guitar
- Matthias Heilbronn - editing, programming
- Brian Higgins - composer
- Sylvia Mason-James - background vocals
- Mark Jordan - composer
- Bill Klatt - engineer
- Michael Lavine - photography
- Eddie Martinez - guitar
- P. Dennis Mitchell - mixing
- Adam Phillips - guitar
- Timothy Powell - composer
- Brian Rawling - producer
- Antoinette Roberson - background vocals
- Tom Salta - keyboards, programming
- Richie Sambora - composer, producer
- Tommy Sims - composer
- Robin Smith - string arrangements
- Judson Spence - composer
- Hamish Stewart - background vocals
- Jeff Taylor - additional production, laughs, production engineer, remixing
- Mark Taylor - composer, guitar, keyboards, mixing, producer, programming, string arrangements
- Todd Terry - composer, producer
- Junior Vasquez - producer
- Diane Warren - composer
- Audrey Wheeler - background vocals
- James Williams - background vocals
- Bruce Woolley - composer
Charts and certifications
Sales and certifications
|France||October 22, 1998||CD, Cassette, LP||Standard|
|United Kingdom||October 26, 1998|
|Germany||November 2, 1998|
|Canada||November 4, 1998|
|United States||November 10, 1998||CD, Cassette, LP, mini-album|
|Japan||December 23, 1998||CD, Cassette||Standard, limited edition|
- List of best-selling albums
- List of European number-one hits of 1999
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