When I was young I liked Cyndi Lauper. Well, I liked some of the songs when they appeared on the radio. I liked She-Bop; I can remember it going round and round on a C-90 cassette tape that I was given along with my first tape-player (after my parents’ first overseas trip).
The C-90 was bunged in the player and the record button went down without thought. I used to just fill up tapes with whatever the radio was playing.
But I definitely remember She-Bop. And Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Of course you couldn’t escape those songs if you tried…not back then. Maybe not now…
And then, sometime around 2005 I had my car door smashed. I left the car in Hawke’s Bay to be fixed and borrowed a bomb to drive around in; tape-deck only. I searched for tapes to fill the stereo – I had given away most of my cassettes many years back in the switch to CDs.
And then I spied True Colors on tape.
This wasn’t even mine. I had been given it – much later in life – when my aunty was ridding herself of tapes. I used to have a car with a tape-player when I was a student. So tapes got a thrashing, covers smashed, loops of tape strewn about the front seat, often they were thrown out of moving vehicles – in frustration – on road trips.
I decided I would have another hoon on True Colors.
Well it’s hard to really explain what happened next – except to say that I became obsessed with Cyndi.
I purchased True Colors on CD; and then quickly grabbed She’s So Unusual also. That album (of course) became the favourite. But I didn’t stop there. I went on a rampage, grabbing A Night To Remember and Hat Full Of Stars; revisiting her 2003 collection of show-tunes and jazz-standards, At Last (I had actually reviewed this when it was released – and that was the first time I stopped to wonder what Cyndi Lauper might be up to).
Yes, if you didn’t believe me before you’ll believe me now: I became obsessed.
There are also some great tracks on the follow-up, particularly Change Of Heart.
I realised, re-visiting Cyndi, that she’s an amazing song-interpreter and a great writer. She had the unique sense of style at the time, sure, but she was – and is – more than just a pop act. For all the talk of Madonna reinventing herself I would take a well-compiled Cyndi Lauper Best-Of over Madge’s sporadic high-points any day.
Much as The Mission concert is a total disaster these days – little more than a joke – I still think if they really wanted to bring it back, to save it, Cyndi might be the one to do it.
She’s more than just a voice – she’s a very talented musician; she was a guitarist in the pre-fame days; a keyboard player too. Nowadays she often uses a dulcimer to reinvent her old pop hits from the 1980s.
Since 2005, since that time some jerk drove in to my car and never left a note – and I was forced to borrow an old clunker while my car was fixed – I always include a Cyndi song on every playlist.
And most nightcaps are taken with a dose of Lauper among the late-night tunes. All Through The Night is often the last song played before bed in our house.
Hey, if commenting on Cyndi Lauper means nothing to you then perhaps you have your own story of rediscovering a real blast from the past; seeing something/someone (musically) in a new light? Do share…
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