Album Review: Cyndi Lauper – Detour
During an illustrious career that has lasted several decades, petite Queens crooner Cyndi Lauper has certainly made an impressionable mark on the music world and in pop culture. From her early She’s So Unusual era, which produced many of the singers most widely recognized singles including Girls Just Want To Have Fun, She Bop, All Through The Night and Time After Time, as well as further successes from her True Colors sophomore, all of which were heavily rooted in pop music, through to tracks like Into The Nightlife from 2008’s dance-drenched Bring Ya To The Brink release, the years have been overflowing with successful gems from one of the most eccentric and influential acts in music.
Right form the start of her career, pop was her fall back genre and a genre that she mastered effortlessly throughout her first few records. With the exception of Bring Ya To The Brink, the last 20 years has seen Lauper venture confidently outside of her early pop comfort zone. 2003’s At Last allowed the singer to offer her take on some of the most famous standards in Jazz while 2010’s Memphis Blues, Lauper’s last foray into genre experimentation, delivered fans with a collection of blues masterpieces.
Much like her persona and pioneering fashion sense, Cyndi Lauper has always kept people guessing in terms of what to expect next and musically the same can be said with previous sidesteps from those celebrated pop roots into such contrasting waters as Jazz and Blues. It’s now time for the singer to turn her attention toward another unchartered territory – country music.
It’s been proven, through several of her previous collections, that Cyndi’s voice lends itself to any pretty much any genre. We’ve heard it throughout the last 30 years as the pop chameleon has turned out new records, each very different to the last but each also as captivating and unique as anything the musician had produced prior, and the musician’s latest effort, Detour, is no exception.
Detour is a polished collection of country classics that Lauper has handpicked from the weighty country music pool; favourites that the Queens-raised starlet has admired from an early age and throughout her career.
Dotted with classic country covers and inviting collaborations with some of the greats of the country world, Detour is a twang-rich collection which showcases Lauper’s love and appreciation for one of the most popular musical genres, and is not just a collection aimed at fans of old-time country music but is also a record for Lauper’s fans who will be able to easily appreciate these flawlessly performed country antiques which has the Lauper stamp all over them.
The musicians cover of the iconic 1961 Patsy Cline hit, I Fall To Pieces is a superb injection within the closing half of Detour; Lauper’s bellowing low notes as soothing as the soaring peaks of the tracks haunting structure. The track is one of the most iconic pieces within Detour and Lauper offers a spectacular rendition of the hit; very quickly making the track her own.
The highlight of Detour comes with the closing duet; Hard Candy Christmas. The track was the first to be released from this new collection and immediately set the tone for the records arrival. For this track, Lauper invited celebrated bluegrass-country superstar Alison Krauss to lend her contrasting, whispery vocal to the track; the performance capturing a soothing quality as both musicians share shining moments on the once Dolly Parton sung classic from the 1982 film, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
The bitter yet humorous toe-tapper, You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly unites Lauper with country superstar Vince Gill. The track pulls out more than a few insults as the pair throw digs at each other in tongue and cheek fashion; banter between the two icons closing out the number as they laugh through several lines, never taking the track all too seriously.
Begging To You shines within the collection as Lauper offers listeners one of the finest vocal tracks on the record while the lyrics ring with desperation and dispair; “What a pitiful sight I must be tonight begging to you” the singer sings over-top the twang of a slide guitar which adds a heavy seasoning of old-time country splendor.
Further collaborations appear within the record with country great Willie Nelson offering his husky vocal stamp to Night Life, but one of the most impressive duets to be found on Detour is on I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart where Lauper enlists fellow pop idol Jewel. Country music is no stranger to the Foolish Games songbird, having ventured into the genre herself on a handful of occasions, however on I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart the singer stretches her vocals around an impressive yodel. The track is one of the more upbeat additions to Detour and one of the most memorable, if not purely for Jewel’s outstanding yodeling contribution.
Cyndi Lauper has always shone within the music industry as one of the most gifted musicians and her effortless ability at delivering such musically contrasting records throughout her career is just one of the reasons why she has remained a mainstay in pop culture and such a tour de force of the recording and touring world. Detour is yet another example of this icons many, many talents.