She's So Unusual
Cyndi Lauper
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Label: Sony
Duration: 38:35
Genre: New Wave

Cyndi Lauper--how could I ever forget? That quiff of candy-coloured orange-red hair, that garish dime store prom dress she wore on the She's So Unusual album cover, and Van Gogh's Starry Night painted on the soles of her shoes (inner sleeve art)? That goony, wacky Olive Oyl meets Betty Boop meets Jean Hagen's character from Singin' In The Rain voice? That comical face that looked like it got squashed against a window and stayed that way? I wore out the tape of this and had to buy another, the only artist that's had that honour in my collection and for that reason.
Despite Madonna being the "Material Girl" in 1984, Cyndi proved she could put out a similarly themed song, "Money Changes Everything" with the in-vogue synthesizers mixed with Hooters guitarist Eric Bazilian's crunchy lead guitars. I love this song from the catchy rock rhythm. The following mirrors 80's yuppie-type business world ethics: "They say we'll be your friends/We'll stick with you till the end/Ah but everybody's only looking out for themselves/And you say well, who can you trust." The live version from the promotional 12-inch disc, has Cyndi intro-ing its recording in a typical New Yawk accent.
One of Cyndi's two signature tunes, and definitely the more fun. From the opening synth glissando that ripples from left to right speaker--the effect is best felt on headphones--to the catchy synths and drums that reflects a spirited girl responding to her parents after asking her what she's going to do with her life. As the line goes, "When the working day is done/girls, they wanna have fun. "The backing girl chorus and pizzicato-like upper range piano synths in the middle are also really neat.
She then covers Prince's Dirty Mind song, "When You Were Mine", heavy on bass, a slower tempo than the original, bathed in the 80's synth glow. Although I prefer the original, Cyndi's version is the one I first heard.
Then a timeless song that makes my sad chip to go into overdrive, the heartfelt "Time After Time," the #1 song she co-wrote with Hooters keyboardist Rob Hyman: "If you're lost you can look and you will find me/time after time/if you fall I will catch you-I'll be waiting/time after time." This featured in Strictly Ballroom, and even Miles Davis did this on his You're Under Arrest album.
The grinding safe-sex/autoerotic anthem "She Bop" with its impish lyrics still makes me smile after all this time. It shows Cyndi has got quite some mischief in her: "They say I'd better stop-or I'll go blind", "Do I wanna go out with a lion's roar" She even has a playful giggle after mentioning she needs a chaperone. Included is a lyrical nod to Gene Vincent's "Be Bop A Lula". The live version included has different stylings and false starts, but is still good.
"All Through The Night," penned by Aimee Mann's beau Jules Shear with its glittering piano-like synth is yet another winning ballad sung with sheer sensitivity. The metaphor of the time of the couple has with a ticking meter is interesting, as she says, "Until it ends, there is no end." There's some vintage 80's synth played during the bridge. The live version here has differing but worthwhile instrumentation.
With the same kind of guitar heard in "She-Bop", the catchy "Witness" also has Cyndi doing a Ronnie Spector-like "oh oh oh". "I'll Kiss You" which details the results of drinking Love Potion #9, has a funky synth and beat and was co-written with Jules Shear. Her Betty Boop-ish vocals come in handy on the 1929 song "He's So Unusual" with duplicated LP hiss, which then segues into the high adrenaline "Yeah Yeah" which really showcases her vocal power and comical baby-ish vocal intrusions like "sushi, I want sushi!"
A vintage 80's classic which makes she bop, he bop, we-bop, and I-bop and be bop a lu she bop whenever I hear it nearly 20 years later.

Money Changes Everything5:05
Girls Just Want To Have Fun3:58
When You Were Mine5:06
Time After Time4:03
She Bop3:51
All through the night4:29
I'll Kiss You4:12
He's So Unusual0:45
Yeah Yeah3:19
Original Release: 1984-01-01
Composer: Tom Gray
Arranged By: Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Cyndi Lauper, William Wittman
Producer: Rick Chertoff
UPC: 74643893022, 74646216927, 5099749994324