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Pop - Released October 14, 1983 | Portrait

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One of the great new wave/early MTV records, She's So Unusual is a giddy mix of self-confidence, effervescent popcraft, unabashed sentimentality, subversiveness, and clever humor. In short, it's a multifaceted portrait of a multifaceted talent, an artist that's far more clever than her thin, deliberately girly voice would indicate. Then again, Lauper's voice suits her musical persona, since its chirpiness adds depth, or reconfigures the songs, whether it's the call to arms of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" or the tearjerking "Time After Time." Lauper is at her very best on the first side, all of which were singles or received airplay, and this collection of songs -- "Money Changes Everything," "Girls," "When You Were Mine," "Time," "She Bop," "All Through the Night" -- is astonishing in its consistency, so strong that it makes the remaining tracks -- all enjoyable, but rather pedestrian -- charming by their association with songs so brilliantly alive. If Lauper couldn't maintain this level of consistency, it's because this captured her persona better than anyone could imagine -- when a debut captures a personality so well, let alone a personality so tied to its time, the successive work can't help but pale in comparison. Still, when it's captured as brightly and brilliantly as it is here, it does result in a debut that retains its potency, long after its production seems a little dated. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released December 11, 2014 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | Epic - Legacy

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There were a few years in the mid-'80s when one couldn't go out for a cup of coffee without encountering Cyndi Lauper in one form or another. Her videos were playing constantly on MTV, her music was everywhere on the radio, and, best of all, children were even dressing up as Cyndi for Halloween. In retrospect, it was a Lauper-ish time but it was all over quite quickly; in fact, the period in the ultra-limelight didn't even span the period covered by two album releases, which means that this follow-up to her smash debut album was relegated to the also-ran pile, with sad results such as only one sort-of hit single (the title track) and nobody apparently interested in imitating the skirt she wore on the back cover photo, which seems like it is made of slashed-up concert posters. Kind of a shame since so much love and attention went into this album. Guest stars and high-dollar session musicians abound, including other '80s icons such as the Bangles and the manic Pee Wee Herman, who provides a great little answering-machine bit at the end of "911." Lauper is a fantastic vocalist, meaning that any record producer worth hiring would be happy to dream up endless settings for her. This album is nothing if not ambitious, and some of the stretches really pay off, such as the ultimately endearing cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Other aspects date badly. For example, highly reverberated and artificial sounding drums and keyboards were really popular at the time, but a vocalist with a clear voice such as Lauper sounds much better in the context of real instruments with their warmer sounds. When it comes to tunes such as the nice Cajun number "The Faraway Nearby," drums should have been turned way down and other instrumental colors brought up. Despite these sorts of problems, there really wasn't that much music recorded by this artist during her most popular period, so fans will no doubt want to own it all. © Eugene Chadbourne /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | Epic - Legacy

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There were a few years in the mid-'80s when one couldn't go out for a cup of coffee without encountering Cyndi Lauper in one form or another. Her videos were playing constantly on MTV, her music was everywhere on the radio, and, best of all, children were even dressing up as Cyndi for Halloween. In retrospect, it was a Lauper-ish time but it was all over quite quickly; in fact, the period in the ultra-limelight didn't even span the period covered by two album releases, which means that this follow-up to her smash debut album was relegated to the also-ran pile, with sad results such as only one sort-of hit single (the title track) and nobody apparently interested in imitating the skirt she wore on the back cover photo, which seems like it is made of slashed-up concert posters. Kind of a shame since so much love and attention went into this album. Guest stars and high-dollar session musicians abound, including other '80s icons such as the Bangles and the manic Pee Wee Herman, who provides a great little answering-machine bit at the end of "911." Lauper is a fantastic vocalist, meaning that any record producer worth hiring would be happy to dream up endless settings for her. This album is nothing if not ambitious, and some of the stretches really pay off, such as the ultimately endearing cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Other aspects date badly. For example, highly reverberated and artificial sounding drums and keyboards were really popular at the time, but a vocalist with a clear voice such as Lauper sounds much better in the context of real instruments with their warmer sounds. When it comes to tunes such as the nice Cajun number "The Faraway Nearby," drums should have been turned way down and other instrumental colors brought up. Despite these sorts of problems, there really wasn't that much music recorded by this artist during her most popular period, so fans will no doubt want to own it all. © Eugene Chadbourne /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 28, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released April 23, 2003 | Epic - Legacy

Competing nicely with the earlier Time After Time: The Best of Cyndi Lauper, Columbia/Legacy's The Essential Cyndi Lauper features most of the '80s icon's big hits as well as lesser-known album tracks. Considering the inconsistent nature of Lauper's albums, it is nice to find tracks like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "True Colors" packaged alongside "Sisters of Avalon" and "Who Let in the Rain." Most Lauper fans will already own these songs, but for casual fans, The Essential Cyndi Lauper will do the trick. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 19, 1994 | Epic

Regrettably bypassing the Top Ten hit "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough," Twelve Deadly Cyns features almost all of Cyndi Lauper's Top 40 hits, tacking on a handful of new tracks at the end, including "Hey Now (Girls Still Wanna Have Fun)," an updated version of her breakthrough hit single, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." As hits collections go, the album is fine, but with the exception of the ballad "True Colors" and the pop confection "Change of Heart," all of her finest songs and biggest hits were on She's So Unusual, which is a more consistent and entertaining album. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 1, 2002 | Columbia

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Country - Released May 6, 2016 | Rhino

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With Detour, Cyndi Lauper is most definitely looking toward Nashville. It is from the Mecca of country music that the singer has put together this album on which she revisits Hard Candy Christmas written by Carol Hall and popularized by Dolly Parton. As she said herself, this album is intended as a "tribute to a time when country and rhythm'n'blues were close." The great Willie Nelson made the trip to appear on the track on Night Life in a duet with Lauper. "When he came in, I almost cried," declared the singer of Girls Just Want To Have Fun... But the most rebellious of country singers is not the only guest on the record, with Cyndi Lauper also inviting Emmylou Harris (Detour), Vince Gill (You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly), Jewel (I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart) and Alison Krauss (Hard Candy Christmas).
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Pop/Rock - Released October 27, 1998 | Epic

Cyndi Lauper closed out her Epic Records contract with this holiday album, which consists mostly of original compositions. Lauper seeks the Christmas spirit in some snowless locales, giving a Cajun sound to "Early Christmas Morning" and an appropriately tropical feel to "Christmas Conga." She favors folkie arrangements and is heard playing dulcimer, recorder, and ukulele, among other instruments, which lend a homemade feel to the tracks. Merry Christmas...Have a Nice Life! is an unusual but ultimately winning collection, rendered with Lauper' s typical cockeyed conviction. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released November 18, 2003 | Epic - Daylight

As the girl who just wants to have fun, Cyndi Lauper became an '80s music icon with her flamboyant style, powerful baby-doll voice, and quirky songs, but as time and tastes moved on, her playful persona wore thin and attempts at becoming a more serious artist failed to regain her dwindling audience. With At Last, Lauper steps even further away from that playful image to become the girl who just wants to sing as she tackles a set of pop standards that showcase her underrated voice. Although occasionally shrill and reckless, Lauper's forceful tones can be quite moving and awe-inspiring when corralled into the proper setting, as with her bluesy take on Etta James' "At Last." With its lazy tempo and minimal arrangement, Lauper is able to relax and convey the lyrics in one of her most mature and affecting performances. Even more low-key is the whisper quiet of "Walk on By," in which she turns Dionne Warwick's midtempo gem into a dark tale of mourning by sadly singing the lyrics over a crawling tempo. Getting a Tori Amos-style ballad treatment is the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which lets Lauper's rock roots rise to the surface with her edgy performance. While some of her song choices work, others fall flat, like "La Vie en Rose," in which her slightly ragged reading is too rough for the delicate song. Also misfiring is her corny duet with Tony Bennett, "Makin' Whoopee," where the voices of these two New Yorkers clash like stripes and plaids. Lauper also has a little too much fun with Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs' "Stay," as she reverts back to her boisterous voice of yesteryear and disrupts the mature tone of the disc. Although the results are mixed, At Last does focus on Cyndi Lauper's best asset -- her voice -- and may help to rejuvenate a career in which the personality unfortunately overshadowed the talent. © Aaron Latham /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 9, 1989 | Epic

On True Colors, Cyndi Lauper began to edge her way into adult contemporary territory, but it was on her third album, A Night to Remember, that she concentrated all of her attention on becoming a self-consciously "mature" singer/songwriter. A Night to Remember doesn't always work, but not because she's incapable of performing polished, well-crafted middle-of-the-road material -- "Time After Time" and "True Colors" prove that she could convincingly deliver ballads. Instead, the album bogs down because it assumes that labored arrangements and precisely detailed production are tantamount to musical sophistication. That said, there are some moments -- such as the seductive "I Drove All Night" -- that make a lasting impression, illustrating what Lauper was attempting to achieve with the record. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 1986 | Epic

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There were a few years in the mid-'80s when one couldn't go out for a cup of coffee without encountering Cyndi Lauper in one form or another. Her videos were playing constantly on MTV, her music was everywhere on the radio, and, best of all, children were even dressing up as Cyndi for Halloween. In retrospect, it was a Lauper-ish time but it was all over quite quickly; in fact, the period in the ultra-limelight didn't even span the period covered by two album releases, which means that this follow-up to her smash debut album was relegated to the also-ran pile, with sad results such as only one sort-of hit single (the title track) and nobody apparently interested in imitating the skirt she wore on the back cover photo, which seems like it is made of slashed-up concert posters. Kind of a shame since so much love and attention went into this album. Guest stars and high-dollar session musicians abound, including other '80s icons such as the Bangles and the manic Pee Wee Herman, who provides a great little answering-machine bit at the end of "911." Lauper is a fantastic vocalist, meaning that any record producer worth hiring would be happy to dream up endless settings for her. This album is nothing if not ambitious, and some of the stretches really pay off, such as the ultimately endearing cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Other aspects date badly. For example, highly reverberated and artificial sounding drums and keyboards were really popular at the time, but a vocalist with a clear voice such as Lauper sounds much better in the context of real instruments with their warmer sounds. When it comes to tunes such as the nice Cajun number "The Faraway Nearby," drums should have been turned way down and other instrumental colors brought up. Despite these sorts of problems, there really wasn't that much music recorded by this artist during her most popular period, so fans will no doubt want to own it all. © Eugene Chadbourne /TiVo
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Country - Released May 6, 2016 | Rhino

A spiritual sequel of sorts to Memphis Blues, Detour finds Cyndi Lauper swapping out blues for country & western. The "western" part of the equation is crucial to Detour, a record equally enamored of cowboy camp as it is of Music City craft and corn. Such a wide purview is testament to Lauper's taste-savvy show biz sensibilities. The slow-burning-torch set pieces of "End of the World" and "I Fall to Pieces" have their charms -- they offer ample evidence of Lauper's nuance and control, elements that are often underrated -- but when paired with the ferocious, mincing wink of "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly," "Cowboy Sweetheart," and "Detour," the spell diminishes. Despite this, the album has its charms. Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" -- a fine, faithful rendition that closes out the record on a sweet note -- and the crisp, digital, modern sheen of the opener "Funnel of Love," don't quite suit the tone of the record, but they're endearing on their own. Such sudden shifts in tone might work better on-stage than they do on record, and with its cavalcade of guest stars, Detour often does play a bit like a stage revue, for better or worse. After all, much of Lauper's charm lies in her innate theatricality, and when she's paired with someone who shares her humor -- Emmylou Harris on "Detour" and, especially, Vince Gill on "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" -- there's a crackling vitality that nevertheless winds up diluting the diva showstoppers, something that could possibly be finessed on-stage but sounds like sharp turns on record. Nevertheless, on a track-by-track level, Detour has few stumbles, and if it's taken as a collection of performances and not a coherent record, it's fun. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 1, 2016 | SnapShot

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Pop/Rock - Released May 23, 2008 | Epic

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Pop - Released October 1, 2002 | Epic

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Pop/Rock - Released July 1, 1996 | Epic

Cyndi Lauper made a valiant effort to jump start her career with the varied and eclectic Sisters of Avalon. Working with producer Mark Saunders, Lauper attempts to work worldbeat, adult alternative, and even trip-hop influences into her trademark adult contemporary pop, and while the results aren't always successful, the record is the most intriguing and rewarding album she made since True Colors. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released March 1, 1993 | Epic

After Cyndi Lauper's disappointing A Night to Remember release, she took matters into her own hands for 1993's Hat Full of Stars, giving more of her attention to the writing and to the album's overall musical appearance. Unfortunately, the same results resurfaced, and the album failed to give Lauper a single, which at least A Night to Remember did. Hat Full of Stars has Lauper all over the map, converging into folk, soul, and other styles that have her sounding out of context and diluted. Many of the tracks have Lauper singing about social issues, and although it's a valiant effort, the seriousness just doesn't comply with her persona or her customary flamboyancy. Even with the help of Ron Hyman and Eric Bazillian, tracks like "Product of Misery" and "Someone Like Me" fail to get off the ground, mainly because of their tone and heavy lyrical weight. The title track and "That's What I Think," along with "Sally's Pigeons," make for the most promising of the 11 cuts, even though "Who Let in the Rain" and "A Part Hate" are courageous attempts. Sounding a little too driven and like she has something to prove, Lauper's adroitness seems forced to a certain degree, and the chemistry that is endeavored falls short of its mark. Cyndi Lauper sounds much more appealing and enjoyable as an effervescent pop singer wading through simplistic and feel-good material rather than trying to befriend mildly opinionated pieces, which is what happens throughout most of Hat Full of Stars. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 15, 2008 | Epic