Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
#494 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums List
Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper Thornton, was born in Brooklyn-New York on June 22nd 1953. Cyndi took up playing the guitar and writing lyrics at the age of twelve. The first song she learned to play was "Greensleeves". She went to 4 high schools. The one that gave her the honorary high school diploma was Richmond Hill High School in Richmond Hill, NY.
1. Money Changes Everything
: The opening track was originally done by The Brains. This is one of her most impressive songs EVER and certainly best when it's live. She blows you away. She did then, and she still does now. This is a great song with nice guitar work and a impressive harmonica solo.
2. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun:
A cover of a Robert Hazard song, and also the first single from the album. It was the perfect one to choose as the first, since its such a fun and catchey song that you can dance to. Cyndi is backed up by a chorus as she sings "Oh girls just want to have fun." This song includes an easily recognizable chord sequence for guitar and some wierd breakdown, where some instrument (A dulcimer??) plays a solo. The video for this song is number 45 on the 100 Greatest Videos of All Time on VH1.Com. How could you not give this classic a 5/5?
3. When You Were Mine
: Another cover. This one was originally a Prince tune, but this is a great remake. I've heard Prince's version, and this one is totally different and better than the original. Cyndi sure can reinterpret a song. The already racy lyrics are made even more so by Cyndi, a woman, singing them. But Cyndi really does let it out on this song. I saw her perform it on the Grammys one year and she did an awesome job. This is a stand out track on She's So Unusual.
4. Time After Time
: Beautiful lyrics in this song, written by Cyndi and Rob Hyman. It's a classic song that will withstand the test of time. The lyrics, voice(A duet between a man and Cyndi), and music(marvelous bass work in this track) are ENCHANTING. I don't really know of a single person (Cyndi fan or not) that doesn't love this song. It's amazing. This song won me over as a Cyndi fan, I think it could do the same to you.
5. She Bop:
I loved "She Bop" the first time I heard the line "be bop--a--lu--she bop." I don't really know what the lyrics mean, but you can't get the song out of your head. This is easily the catchiest song I have EVER heard. The song works because it is that fine line of fluff and substance- you can't help but to have fun.
6. All Through the Night
: A song written by Jules Shear. This song is pure bliss, the line "let me be there let me stay there for a while....." with the whistling in the back ground, the twinkly music which sounds so much like snow or rain coming down. The synthesiser break in the middle, the "ooooh" at the end which carries out the song as it fades away, this is a beautiful , beautiful song, so serene and peaceful and well arranged. The twinkly, sparkly synthesizer bit always makes me think of bright sunshine reflecting off the water or shards of glass. Cyndi really shows her vocal talent on "All Through the Night."
: Now this is a strange one. It sounds fairly reggaeish, and is actually a Blue Angel tune (her first band). The song is too repetative, and I don't like it. The drumming is the only thing that would make me listen to this song again though.
8. I'll Kiss You
: What a funky song! It's really different, but very Cyndi. The music, the kooky voice she does....it's just incredibly fun. My favorite lines in this songs is "Hopped into a taxi, told the driver, got to get me cross town! Killed the bottle started seeing double when the driver turned around!" What she does with her voice on that part is spectacular. Overall though I thought it was a bit to "novelty."
9. He's So Unusual
: This was originally recorded by Helen Kane in 1928 for the musical "Sweetie" with Stu Erwin, Jack Oakie and Nancy Carroll. Helen sang it as she unraveled Stu Erwin's football sweater. It's a cute song that is a tribute to Helen Kane- the boop boop be doo woman of the 1920's and 30's- the woman with that fantastical pop culture voice singing I Wanna be Loved by You ( I think that was her biggest hit ) and Betty Boop. With Cyndi, the song kills two birds with one stone. It brings old Hollywood, vaudville, early music theatre, Yiddish theatre to the world of pop/rock music 1980's.
10. Yeah Yeah
: The Betty Boop thing in the backround is perfect. Cyndi's backing vocals, where she says "I want sushi" is hilarious. The chorus is just her singing "Yeah yeah, yeah yeah." This song includes an interesting saxaphone solo and a simple synth riff. "Yeah Yeah" represents the more sexually agressive modern woman (of her generation). While "He's so Unusual" represents the sexually repressed women of her mother's generation. This is why the two songs go together.
So overall, I give this album a 4/5 (8/10). Mainly because it is short and has a couple weak tracks. Anyone who is a pop music fan would enjoy this. And I suggest anyone who has this cd somewhere to go find it. Give it a listen. I'm sure "She's So Unusual" will give you a smile somehow, whether it's the quirky yet intelligent lyrics, it's signature 80's sound, or the straight out crazy fun it offers for anyone who dares to listen. I felt touched after listening to it, you will too.