Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – #494: Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual (1983)

Madonna who?  If it has to be an 80s female pop vocalist, I’ll take Cyndi without a doubt.

Lauper

Part of the beautiful/horrible dichotomy of this project is the fact that it exposes me (and perhaps you, dear reader) to music that I otherwise would literally never voluntarily listen to.  She’s So Unusual is a perfect example – and after giving it a few listens I must say given it’s time and genre it is pretty epic.  Sure it is pop through and through, but at least some of the songs have legitimate guitar riffs behind them.  And Cyndi sings (and sometimes wails) as if her life depends on it.  This review will be short, cuz 80s pop, but I have respect for both the album and the artist.  Oh, and 1983 was a great, great year…

The first thing you hear on this record is the riff behind “Money Changes Everything”, and who doesn’t like the line “I’ve got someone new, and he is waiting in the car outside”?  The guitar and drums on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is irresistible, as is her delivery of the coming of age story.  This song is a guilty pleasure for sure, although I could do without the backing vocals.

“Time After Time” is so epic that even when it appeared in Napoleon Dynamite in total ironic jest, it stole the scene.  “Witness” seems to be channeling The Police’s quasi-reggae vibes through a distorted snyth-pop lens, and is a bit of a mindfuck.  There are plenty of weak moments here that I cringe through (see “She Bop”, “I’ll Kiss You”, and the non-chorus portions of “All Through the Night), but overall it comes down to this: if you can avoid 80s pop you should- but if you can’t, well this is pretty solid.

Worthy Tracks: “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, “Money Changes Everything”, “Time After Time”

Final Verdict: Do I like most of this music? Not particularly.  However, it is considerably better than much of the pop music of the day and Madonna has got nothing on Cyndi.

Spotify album link:

https://open.spotify.com/album/1FvdZ1oizXwF9bxogujoF0?si=hGR_G8TsSjW55cJfhfYrkw