Musician Review: Cyndi Lauper

My memories of Cyndi Lauper go back to 1984, when I was hearing “Time After Time.” Even at about nine years old, there was something about that song that stood out to me. I also have memories of seeing the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video on MTV. I remember my older sister asking to get the She’s So Unusual album for her birthday, but our parents refused; they didn’t like the hair color and style she had at the time. So, with her birthday money, my sister bought a copy of the album on cassette. I remember many a day listening to that tape on my sister’s Walkman.

A couple of years later, Cyndi released the True Colors album. This album featured guest appearances by the Bangles, Billy Joel, Pee-Wee Herman, and some others. Overall, I feel that the True Colors album is stronger than the She’s So Unusual album, although they are both solid 1980s pop albums.

1989 saw the release of the single, “I Drove All Night,” and the album it came from (A Night to Remember). While “I Drove All Night” was a modest success on the pop charts, the follow-up single, “My First Night Without You,” didn’t perform well at mainstream pop. Ultimately, this marked the beginning of the end of her mainstream success.

1993 saw the release, Hat Full of Stars, and the lead-off single, “Who Let in the Rain.” The single was definitely aimed at the adult contemporary market, where it seemed to have some success. Pop, however, failed to embrace the song. I was a little disappointed by pop’s unwillingness to give this song a chance, because I personally enjoyed it.

Cyndi’s next release in 1994 was a greatest hits album, which included a reworking of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Personally, I never cared for this reworking. This was followed by the 1997 album, Sisters of Avalon, which saw Cyndi move toward a more dance-friendly sound. She released a Christmas album in 1998, to fulfill her contract with Epic.

She then released an EP called Shine in 2002, which was followed by the covers album, At Last, in 2003. Under a new contract with Sony, Cyndi released The Body Acoustic, which included acoustic reinterpretations of Cyndi’s back catalog. Admittedly, I basically lost track of Cyndi’s music after this album. It appears that since The Body Acoustic, Cyndi has released two more albums: 2008’s Bring Ya to the Brink (which was released by Epic) and 2010’s Memphis Blues (which was released by Mercer Street / Downtown).

Cyndi has definitely gone through several musical transformations over the years. I definitely feel her 1980s material is her strongest, and that Cyndi just hasn’t truly been able to find her musical focus in more recent years. Not that the more recent material is necessarily bad, but it just seems to jump around all over the place musically.

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