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Wicked and Cynful
Twelve Deadly Cyns... And Then Some - Cyndi Lauper
Member Name: stoffy
Twelve Deadly Cyns... And Then Some - Cyndi Lauper
Date: 14/12/02, updated on 14/12/02 (254 review reads)
Advantages: some classic tracks..., as well as a few good tracks you may not yet know
Disadvantages: the tempo is changed a bit too often, a few weaker tracks
Cyndi Lauper was one of the more flamboyant pop stars of the 1980's with her eccentricity, bizarre taste in clothes and of course, her ability to pen a catchy tune or two. The New Yorker, who managed to beat Madonna in claiming the Best Newcomer award at the 1984 Grammys, has had a number of massive hits throughout the world, and the best of those can be heard on her 1994 compilation '12 Deadly Cyns... And Then Some'.
Abandoning the tendency to tracklist a greatest hits package chronologically, the album kicks of with 'I'm Gonna Be Strong', one of her hits from the mid 1990's. Much slower and sedate than most hits you'd associate with Lauper, it is an unorthodox mixture of Celtic and Country and Western stylings. However, the song itself seems too delicate for Lauper's loud and unusual vocal technique and the song perhaps loses its impact in her delivery of it. However, she does manage an octave-shattering screech towards the end, which is truly remarkable if not particularly easy on the ears.
In an uneasy contradiction, 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' comes up next. The original song reached the top of the charts in America, whilst only just missing the top in the UK thanks to Frankie Goes To Hollywood's epic 'Relax'. However, despite playing a young girl trapped at home in the video, Lauper was 30 when the 5 year old song became a hit! Whilst perhaps overplayed nowadays, it's perfect pop and still sounds like one of the most fun records ever made.
'Money Changes Everything' wasn't a song I was familiar with before I'd heard the album. A Bangles-esque ditty, it doesn't stand out as being remarkable, and does sound quite dated now. However, this leads nicely in to 'Time After Time'. This track shocked a lot of people upon it's release as it marked a complete change in direction from 'Girls Just Wanna...'. A sensitive ballad in which L
auper sings reservedly rather than outlandishly, it features a beautiful chorus and is arguably the finest moment of her career. This track became her second US number one, and after a slow start, also went top 3 in the UK. It has been covered on a number of occasions in the past, although her original version is still head and shoulders above those of her imitators.
Another peculiar juxtaposition on the album is sandwiching her best ballad with a rocky track about masturbation. 'She Bop' actually sounds quite good these days still with its dirty synth-driven European rhythms although its subject content is easily missed unless you listen quite carefully to the lyrics...
'All Throught The Night' wasn't a big hit in the UK, and despite its Bucks Fizz production qualities meaning that you can picture Cheryl Baker ripping her skirt off to it in slow-motion, it still shows off Cyndi's unusual sound can transform any song and make it her own. One best glossed over is 'Change of Heart' who's drums make it sound like the soundtrack to a Pepsi advert featuring 20-something lycra-clad dancer exhaustingly reaching for the fizzy brown stuff before wiping the sweat of her forehead and looking smugly satisfied in the knowledge that hours of lung-busting aerobics have neutralised those calories... Anyway, I digress...
'True Colours' is widely regarded as one of her best songs, and was her third US chart-topper. Another slower ballad, the impact of the song's strong message about acceptance is now completely neutralised thanks to its use in a car adverts, so instead of equality and love, the song only evokes images of exhausts and catalytic converters.
The first cover version pops in Track 9. 'What's Goin' On' is one of those songs that's best not touched... The much covered Marvin Gaye song is reworked in an unusual style by Lauper, and whilst she gives a passionate pe
rformance that other mimickers often fail to reach, it still isn't one of the better examples of her work. A much more effective cover is her interpretation of Roy Orbison's 'I Drove All Night', her 1989 comeback single. Unusual from a gender reversal point of view, I actually prefer her version of the track to the Big O's, with its energy and vibrancy. Despite being a bit of a risk to release the track after a commercial absence, it thrust her back in the limelight for a brief moment before another couple of flops erased her from memory once again.
Yet another comeback followed three years later. Now 39, she returned with a more mature sound and the understated gorgeousness of 'World Of Stone'. One of her best works, it is as good as the likes of 'True Colours', with its singable lighters-in-the-air chorus. A bit sad and reflective, it also has some un-Cyndi like orchestra portions and is arguably her classiest song yet.
Running along the same vein is 'Who Let In The Rain', although this perhaps lacks the instant appeal of the previous song. It also does hark back a little bit to 'Time After Time' with its structure, but doesn't quite manage to pull of something special.
'That's What I Think' is a peculiar Irish-sounding but beat-influenced track that reminds me of 'Walking Down Madison' by Kirsty MacColl. Another one of her best songs that was criminally underrated when it only reached 31 in the UK pop charts, it's a put the fun back into her music after the slightly more toned-down approach of her previous offerings.
'Sally's Pigeons' was unrealeased in this country, but is included on the album anyhow. A sad song about remembrance, it sounds like the outro tune to a depressing film, and sits somewhat uncomfortably here. However, the tempo's soon right back up again with the 'Hey Now' remix of 'Girls Just Wan
na Have Fun'. A reggae-influenced reworking, it was her biggest hit in 10 years upon its 1994 release to promote this album. Featuring an assembly of drag-queens in the video, it showed that she still had a sense of fun.
The album is nicely rounded off with 'Come On Home' a self-penned tune that carries on in the reggae-stylings of the previous track. Despite being a commercial flop, and some slightly odd lyrics ('remember the rain even comes down in Shangri-La' anyone?), it's still instantly likeable and is rounds off the album nicely.
Although she perhaps didn't quite ascend to the heights that many people expected her to at the start of her career, this Greatest Hits collection represents great value for money and carries some great tracks. Dated in places and with a few weaker links, it's well packaged and even has a complete set of lyrics. Definitely a good buy for even the most casual fan!