1983, Music

She’s So Unusual (1983) by Cyndi Lauper

I have heard “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” way too many times and seen the video way too many times. I can’t say I’ve ever liked the song but at some point it became annoying. (And it doesn’t help that Weird Al’s “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch” is on the lazy side.) And, I guess, at some point, I just associated Lauper with the song to the point of basically forgetting about “Time After Time,” “True Colors” and things like that. It’s good to have zero expectations.

I wasn’t expecting a brash cover of a new wave song to open the album. Nor was I really expecting that Lauper was that great a singer. I love interesting voices when the singer can actually sing, and Lauper sure has an interesting voice with chops. This is probably my favourite song on the album, so we’re off to a good start.

I don’t know the original version of the Prince song but it sounds only vaguely Prince ish and I’m not sure I would have guessed it was one of his songs if I hadn’t looked it up. It’s to her credit. I’m not sure it’s the greatest song but her performance wins me over.

“Time After Time” is overplayed for me but it’s a good song. I think it would do better without the ’80s production but that’s because I hate that stuff.

I love how “She Bop” was considered one of the 15 most objectionable songs in America. I don’t think he Parents Music Resource Center got out much. The members should have been subjected to some Angry Samoans. They might have died. The song itself isn’t my favourite but I get why it’s a big deal.

“All Through the Night” is a song I suspect I would like in its original folk rock version. It’s a little too ’80s for me.

“Witness” has a new wave reggae feel that makes it stand out from a lot of the rest of the record.

I appreciate “I’ll Kiss You” for how out of character the verses are to the rest of the record, but it is not my favourite thing here. It’s almost as if she should be singing over some loud guitars or something. The arrangement gets better as it goes on, though.

I’m not sure I love “Yeah Yeah” but it’s quirky.

Lauper is brash and forceful and compelling. The record is super ’80s but at least they lean into it, playing synthesizers that sound like synthesizers instead of synthesizers trying to sound like other instruments. This is so much better than I ever imagined.

I still don’t like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”


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