I have listened to more Cyndi Lauper than probably any straight male should admit to. But alas, I love her so. She has a voice that could carry through the din of a Biblical storm. Blessed with a four octave range, she makes you think she can sing anything.
There are certain kinds of songs of hers that I prefer. I like when she has a great melody and sings either one of her rock/pop confections or one of her stirringly sad ballads. I have no use for her blues renderings, her take on classical pop tunes, or some of the stranger numbers in her career. Her recording career is no doubt dodgy and the great is heavily weighted towards her first three records.
That’s not to say that she hasn’t made great music in recent years. The song Shine off her Shine-Ep is fantastic. There are several songs that I love off her dance pop album Bring Ya to the Brink. Although she can sing anything, several albums just feel like marketing attempts, even if the intentions behind their creation probably ring true. It’s not her voice that brings them down, which is always exceptional, but the production is often too adult contemporary and the song choices uninspired.
She is one of those artists I wish could find a producer for, who would help her find the right material and treatment for her unique and tremendous talents. But there is absolutely no doubt that she is a tremendous talent. Listen to her voice at the end of Money Changes Everything. She is hitting notes that other singers could only dream of.
A great deal of her music is pop music, but it is pop music of the greatest kind. It is the kind of stuff infused with emotion. I have a soft spot for female sung pop music dating back to the 60’s girl groups. Lauper often carries on that tradition. Her songs of joy make you want to dance around the living room. Her ballads often can’t help but connect. No one should cover her classic hits. Any attempts pail in comparison to the originals.
I once found myself listening to Girls Just Want to Have Fun with the young girl (She is now a teenager and I don’t want to put her name here for fear of embarrassing her!) that I helped raise. It was like one of those scenes in a chick flick where the characters play guitar with mops and bounce around their home. That song is just ecstatic joy. I have always wanted to take the stage to that song to play with an audiences expectations. The idea always makes me smile. Maybe someday I will.
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. There are only things you like and things you don’t. I have always loved Lauper. If it ruins my credibility on other matters, then so be it. Watch the above video of I Drove All Night, a song originally written for Roy Orbison, and pay attention to when she hits the big vocal part while laying down. If you tell me she can’t sing, I’ll tell you you are fucking crazy!