She’s So Unusual – Cyndi Lauper

ShesSoUnusual1984Release Year: 1983

Rating: 8.5/10

It’s no surprise after seeing Lauper live I wanted to dive into her debut album. This has to be one of the most fun records of the ’80s. Lauper proved she wasn’t just good at making hit singles with this LP. Her classics are of course great, but there are other tracks here that are thoughtful, sweet, and just plain weird. After listening to this, it’s easy to see why she’s of the biggest female icons from the ’80s and why people are so crazy for her even today.

The album opens with “Money Changes Everything,” a great song that has aged surprisingly well. It mixes pop with some sweet synthesizer to create a cool beat that’ll get stuck in your head. There are times when it has this good ol’ rock and roll feel, like a Springsteen song, most likely due to the harmonica and the guitar riffs. It’s still a relevant song thanks to its cautious message of people wanting to be around others who have money. The immensely popular “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” follows. It’s so easy to write off this song, especially since it’s still played all over radio today, but it’s still a great song. It has to be the most fun and poppiest song from the ‘80s. That upbeat riff you instantly recognize matched with Lauper’s abundance of energy puts you in a really good move. It’s one of the best feel great songs about having fun and letting loose.

Time After Time” is another classic I wasn’t the biggest fan of. Before, I thought it was kind of cheesy and didn’t like hearing it. Now that I’m older, I actually see what a great track it is. Her subtle singing really shows what a nice voice she has while the bittersweetness of the song will make you want to crawl under the covers and eat a whole pint of ice cream. Though it is a slow song, it doesn’t drag out like some ballads, keeping you interested the entire time. The way she whispers the chorus at the end sounds like she’s near tears and shows the emotional power of the song. Things pick back up with the scandalous “She Bop.” Listening to it now, I don’t understand how anyone doubted it was about masturbation. Lauper is wonderfully cheeky as she sings “I can’t stop messing in the danger zone” while her wit is laced throughout. The pounding bass and drums rings throughout your head in the best way and it’s damn catchy with it’s message of don’t worry, everybody does it. Though whistling part is a bit weird, it’s a wildly wonderfully track.

It’s clear Lauper is all about having fun since every song sounds fit for a party. “Witness” has this great ska punk feel that makes you want to move. It also has a super catchy chorus you’ll be singing all day. “I’ll Kiss You” is really quirky with its booming synth riffs and her off beat singing. It may take a while to grow on you since it’s a bit weird, but you’ll grow to love how aggressive she is in the song. You can picture her bopping around as she screams “I’ll kiss you, kiss you.” “Yeah Yeah” is another fun, crazy song that’s reminiscent of Oingo Boingo and “All Through the Night” has this fantasy vibe to it thanks to the vocals and the whimsical music.

“When You Were Mine” is actually a Prince cover. Just like a lot of the tracks here, this one is upbeat and fun, especially with the larger than life synth keeping the song together. Her vocals really shine here as she holds certain notes in an impressive manner. Though the lyrics paint a picture of an ending relationship, it’ll still get you dancing. The odd one out here is “He’s So Unusual.” It sounds like a ragtime song from the ’20s that finds Lauper puts on her best Betty Boop impression while she’s singing. What’s cool about it is it has all the clicks and pops of an old time record and really completes the vintage feel. It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album, but it’s still interesting to hear and showed that Lauper was someone unique you wouldn’t be forgetting soon.

Overall, the album gets 8.5/10. It’s a great album that’s full of fun, upbeat songs. Her biggest singles are found here, but what’s great about the record is the other tracks are just as good. It’s clear she likes to party and have fun, while showing she has a soft side too. With the success of one song overshadowing her career, it’s easy for general listeners to write her off. This album shows she’s talented, funny, witty, and a pretty good singer. It’s not wonder the album did so well when it was released 30 years ago. There isn’t a dull moment to be found here. If you want am upbeat soundtrack for a roadtrip or just want something fun to dance in your room to after a long day, give this album a listen.


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