Very Best of Cher: Video Hits Collection
Warner Music // Unrated // $14.99 // June 22, 2004
Review by Don Houston | posted June 20, 2004
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Movie: Of all the pop divas I've listened to over the years, the one that has lasted the longest has been Cher. Born Cherilyn Sarkasian LaPiere on May 20, 1946 in Centro California, few would have predicted the multi-media success of this mixed race gal from the boonies. From her days with Sonny Bono to more recent times, this woman has dominated pop music, television, movies, and even the concert circuit more times than any of her peers. If you name an award, she's probably won it or been nominated for it at least once and her success continues to this day, with her "last concert tour" raking in the dough. As a fan of female-led pop music, I've enjoyed such diverse acts as Kylie Minogue, Pat Benatar, Selena, Sarah Brightman, Berlin, and Everything But The Girl, but in terms of long lasting superstar status, Cher outshines them all. That's why it's good to see her latest release, The Very Best Of Cher: Video Hits Collection, come to DVD.

By no means is any collection of Cher's works going to be honestly labeled "The Very Bestů" unless it has all of her songs since so many appeal to a variety of people, with most of us having a special memory of at least one song (our culture is so infused with Cher's large body of work that it's almost impossible to have lived for forty+ years and not be able to make that claim). Her range of songs varies from the personal power ballad of Half Breed, to the disco diva musings of Believe to the soulful Walking In Memphis to the romantic Shoop Shoop song and more. Much like her acting ability (comedy to drama, she's got it covered), her voice has something for everyone, as do her videos. Here's a list of the releases included on this DVD:

1. Believe
2. If I Could Turn Back Time
3. Save Up All Your Tears
4. Walking In Memphis
5. One By One (Dance Remix)
6. Main Man
7. I Found Someone
8. Strong Enough
9. Song for The Lonely (Almighty Remix)
10. Half-Breed
11. We All Sleep Alone
12. Heart Of Stone
13. The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)
14. Dov'e L'amore
15. Love Can Build A Bridge (with Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry & Eric Clapton)

I'm sure Cher's fans will understand that this collection heavily favored her more recent videos since most of her earlier works were in concert only but I can only hope that another volume comes out for other hits that were left out of this one. If you're a fan, this one will be on your must have list but even casual listeners of pop music might consider this one as worthy of at least a rating of Recommended. If it had some decent extras (it had none) or lasted more than an hour, I'd probably have elevated the rating another notch. It really did look and sound better than average but the content was the reason to pick this one up.

Picture: The picture was presented (mostly) in the original aspect ratios of the videos, typically 1.33:1 ratio full frame color as shot. The quality of the source material variety a bit but not as much as I'd have thought given the range of years between some of these videos. There was some grain and video noise as well as a soft focus (probably on purpose) in most of the videos but none of the limitations would prevent me from getting this one myself (my screener copy came without the box or any paper inserts) if I didn't already own it. The Mbps rate was pretty solid too for all those who refuse to rely on their own eyesight to tell them the picture looks good.

Sound: The audio was presented with the usual choice of either a 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo English track. The quality of sound varied with the age of the source material; the newer videos sounding much better with regard to dynamic range and channel separation. Even Half Breed sounded solid though and I'm guessing that some effort went into fixing up the audio and video masters for this release on DVD.

Extras: There were no extras included here.

Final Thoughts: If you've enjoyed Cher's movies, such as Silkwood, Mermaids, Mask, Tea With Mussolini and Witches Of Eastwick being favorites of mine, you probably can't help but like her music too. The range of her styles and vocals is enough to put most younger stars to shame and this DVD, while limited in many ways, was a good one to get since the videos were so pleasing on many levels. In future releases, I just hope someone decides to add in commentary tracks, behind the scenes footage, interviews, especially those taken from older television shows, and other rarities to make it more fitting of such a star as Cher.

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