Album Review: Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual (A 30th Anniversary Celebration)
One of the most vibrant, fun and inventive records of our time is getting a well-deserved reboot this month in a tasty deluxe form. She’s So Unusual is the debut album from 80’s pop icon and vocal powerhouse Cyndi Lauper. Earning the Queens starlet two Grammy Awards following its release back in 1983, She’s So Unusual offered the world a string of timeless hit singles including Money Changes Everything, She Bop, the sentimental Time After Time, her upbeat signature hit and female power anthem Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and my personal favourite, All Through The Night. Since its release in ‘83, She’s So Unusual has sold in excess of 22 million records round the world and is regarded as one of music’s most successful and ground-breaking pop releases, successfully laying the foundation for a career that would be carried over several decades.
She’s So Unusual is as big of a hit factory as a record can get and it serves as a reminder of how great music was in the eighties. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t too many albums produced these days to match the quality and bravery of releases like She’s So Unusual but thankfully we can always turn to recordings of years gone by like this one by fondness and nostalgia.
Of the 10 tracks featured on the original version of the album, 6 were released as singles and some of these have gone on to become some of the defining hits of the 80’s. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is symbolic of Lauper’s effervescent and precise delivery of infectious pop music, unleashing what would become her signature hit and an anthemic statement on behalf of females the world over.
She Bop raised a few eyebrows when it was released because of its controversially sexual theme but proved a huge success for Lauper, hitting the Top 10 spot on charts around the world. Diversity is evident on She’s So Unusual as the tempo shifts from tracks like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and She Bop to timeless balladry in the shape of the gorgeous Time After Time and the memorable All Through The Night.
It’s not just the diversity or lyrical genius that makes She’s So Unusual such a masterpiece. The record also puts the spotlight onto one of the most talented vocalists of our time. The way Cyndi hits those high notes is exquisite and impressive, particularly as she unleashes her vocal prowess through Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and hits a glass breaking peak in the middle of When You Were Mine.
Along with the original record, the 30th Anniversary Edition of She’s So Unusual also comes hand in hand with a plethora of additional tracks all crammed onto a second disc for the 80’s enthusiasts and Lauper fans out there and is well worth the purchase, even for those who own the original.
Within the bonus disc is dance-floor remixes of the usual suspects; Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Time After Time, as well as several demo’s and rehearsal tracks including a fly-on-the-wall recording of All Through The Night where we are taken into the studio during the recording of this inspiring album centerpiece. This disc contains a fascinating mix of remixes, demos and live recordings not found anywhere else within Cyndi’s catalogue.
In the age of reality shows and two-a-penny pop stars, credibility and longevity isn’t given much of a head start at all. Thankfully it is records like these that remind us that music was once a spectacular art form to be appreciated and adored. Every now and then a release does come along that gives us hope for the future of music but nothing quite as epic or hit-rich as She’s So Unusual.