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Cher’s new album drops in a few days.

There was a time when I’d have been very excited about that.

Believe it or not, back in the 1990s and the years that preceded them, Cher was different: apolitical, effortlessly hilarious, and humble.

I saw her in concert back then and her audience was the most diverse I’ve ever seen: all ages, races, and sexual orientations, gathered to celebrate the unsinkable survivor with the single name, who’d had hits in every decade since the 1960s and won deserved acclaim for her acting.

That was before Cher contracted Bush Derangement Syndrome and never found a cure.

It was also — I realize just now — before Sonny Bono died, in 1998.

Her unforgettable eulogy at Sonny’s funeral, and her exquisite televised special remembering their lives together, were Cher’s last great public moments before she descended into crazy-homeless-lady bitterness.

They’d been apart for years by then, but had Sonny served as Cher’s ballast all along?

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