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Cher Decades Smell Testings

Spray2So last year Cher released a fun new product in her new perfume line, four different perfumes called Decades (based on the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s). I was very excited to see what this was all about. Unfortunately, I was too excited because the night I received my spray-bottle versions I opened and snorted them immediately without trying a blind test them myself. Which I immediately regretted. 

So now whoever comes into the house is subjected to a Cher perfume smell test. For the most part, the test smellers have failed miserably and there seems to be no rhyme or reason who does better or worse (age, schnoz, recall ability). Seems it's hard to guess a decade by its scent although it doesn't seem an illogical task; decades do have particular smells: incense we associate with the 60s, that Windsong perfume I religiously purchased every year for my mother's birthday in the 70s, Calvin Klein in the 80s and, of course, teen spirit in the 90s.

That scents are so hard to ID is not surprising to me, though. There was a Children's Museum in St. Louis called The Magic House that my friends and I used to visit long after we were children (it was that fun) and The Magic House had an exhibit of boxes on a table with steel lids. You'd open each lid one by one and there'd be a powerful smell you were supposed to identify. The smells would be so familiar but impossibly illusive...like banana. 

The Results:

Mr. Cher Scholar (3 years older than me) initially ID'd all the smells correctly and then second-guessed himself and changed two of his answers. He said distinct memories came up from his childhood for each smell. The 60s scent had a floral smell he associated with that decade, the 70s scent reminded him of his mother's Jean Nate; and the 80s smelled like a date.

RollerballI gave the rollerballs out as a gift for Christmas. Dave (same age as me) guessed them all correctly. He couldn't articulate why. My friend Julie (younger but 80s era) got them all wrong. After knowing the correct smells, she did associate her mom's perfume to the 80s scent.

I threw two small Christmas parties this year (due to Covid). The first party was for my local cousins (both 60s kids). The party was a bit of disaster as the family was fully lactose intolerant and the menu was unintentionally dairy-laced. My cousins Mark and David both failed miserably. I blame the dairy.

The second party was for local friends all of whom were 90s kids. (I made sure to gather dietary requirements this time.) My friend Mary ID'd the patchouli in the 60s bottle right away. But got the others wrong and then proceeded to fold her answer sheet into an origami swan. Her husband Peter got the 60s/70s right but not the 80s/90s. He said he could tell they went from strong to subtle decade by decade. Melo got them all right but she cheated and guessed by the color wheel. Kalisha got the 70s/90s right but not the 80s/60s.

Rollerball2Last week, I just took a trip to Cleveland to try the rollerballs out on family members. My sister-in-law (five years older) got one right (80s), my brother (5 years older) got them all wrong, but did keep the 60s/70s together (which he said were more pungent) and the 80s/90s which he said smelled more contemporary, sweet, warm and leathery. My mother (1940s generation) made all the same guesses my brother did. My Dad (same generation) got only the 70s scent right.

You can get the rollerballs separately or in a set. 

Soon, according to Cher's Instagram, we will be able to buy the fancy bottles in all the decades too. Decades-bottle 


New Cher Channel Videos

I'll be visiting my parents and brother's family in Cleveland next week. When I get back, I'll have a lot more smell-test results on the Cher Decades perfumes and will be posting those when I get back. In the meantime...

Mainman2Main Man

Cher recently posted the official video for her 1988 single, the Desmond Child song "Main Man." Cher performed this on the MTV Video Music Awards that year but the song failed to Mainman1chart. The home-video feel of it was due to being shot at her Benedict Canyon Egyptian compound (soon to be sold to Eddie Murphy).

The hair is less big and the outfits less blingy and coincidentally this song will make an appearance in my 2022 NaPoWriMo project this April.

As in all the other videos of this era, Robert Camilletti makes an appearance; but instead of the fictional-music-video role he normally played, this video seems to be saying this is a glimpse into their much quieter real life together.

Elijah also makes a brief appearance in footage from the aforementioned Video Music Awards performance.

This has always been one of my favorite songs from Cher's Geffen Record/Power-Ballad era.

Looking for Love/When Will I Be Loved

Cher also released two more Celebration at Caesars clips, Johnny Lee's "Looking for Love," from the very popular 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, combined in a medley with Linda Rondstadt's "When Will I Be Loved," a song Cher sings from atop a mechanical bull.

These performances are illustrative of what I think is so special about this show. Since I was about 11 or 12, I've seen this concert many, many, many times and I believe it's a key show in her live-show timeline. Many fans had mostly only seen Cher on television up to the early 1980s, variety show episodes and some experimental TV specials up to this point. Not all fans had had the opportunity to see Cher perform live on the road or in one of her Las Vegas shows. So this was a different kind of TV special, a sustained concert. And Cher was turning a new leaf as a musical performer. The seeds of this show grew out of her Take Me Home tour which was her first tour without Sonny. Her demeanor is remarkably different from the torch singer on the 1970s TV shows.

She is confident, makes eye contact with the audience and the camera, her body language is full of bravado and she moves with a kind of ease that will make an impression on all the fans watching her. It's the ingredient of swagger everyone will take for granted by the end of the 1980s.

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These performances are very sexual. Cher is looking awesome in a cowboy hat and sporting her own turquoise jewelry.  (And dancing with her at one point is Damita Jo Freeman, who allegedly taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk, see pic at right). Cher's interaction with the male dancers is very physical. Cher lightly teases the hip-gyrating dancing cowboys and there's plenty of affectionate touching.

When2In "When Will I Be Loved," she romps with sometimes two cowboys. And there's an interlude on the mechanical bull with one of those cowboys which is very, very suggestive, their rhythmic movements indicating sex and exclamations of ecstasy, all providing some ironic distance from the lyrics of the song, ostensibly lamenting Cher's sad love experiences (lied to, put down, pushed 'round). It's a real "woe-is-me, wink-wink" performance.

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Look at all those cowboys!

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