Album #523 – She’s So Unusual
She’s So Unusual is a unique album by a unique person. Cyndi Lauper has always been herself with her thrift store chic and whiny, Betty Boop-like voice. But, behind the wacky persona is an amazing artist and songwriter. The album helped Lauper win the Best New Artist award at the Grammys in 1984. She was pitted against Madonna for female pop supremacy. Madonna ultimately got the Queen of Pop title but, Cyndi Lauper was not adopting the flavor of the month every five seconds. The last thing I want to do is get in to a debate about who was better. Both Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were unique artists that helped shape pop music in the 1980’s. Their battle was just like Prince and Michael Jackson. At the core of She’s So Unusual, is the backing band Lauper used. Two years before their commercial breakthrough, The Hooters accompanied Lauper on this album and it marked the band’s first experience with their future producer Rick Chertoff. It was in fact Chertoff who got The Hooters signed to a major label. The album also features appearances by Jules Shear (who wrote All Through The Night), Ellie Greenwich and Future Late Show with David Letterman drummer Anton Fig. Many of the album’s tracks were written by other artists: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Robert Hazard, Money Changes Everything by Tom Gray of The Brains and When You Were Mine by Prince. But, it’s the songs Lauper co-wrote that are among her best. Time After Time has become a song with wings and one of the best breakup songs of all time. Lauper shows her vulnerability and huge emotion while singing the song. Co-written with Rob Hyman, it is among the best pop songs from the decade. Lauper also co-wrote She Bop, a playful song which showcases her fun and kinky side. Music in the 80’s is beginning to reveal to me that individuality is more important than cookie-cutter. There was manufactured music but, more of it on this list is showcased by artists who were true to themselves. Cyndi Lauper has always been one of those artists. Overall, I give She’s So Unusual, 3.5 out of 5.
Next: Hearts & Bones by Paul Simon