Cyndi Lauper – Bring Ya To The Brink

Yes, she of True Colours, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and the amazing ra-ra skirt is back with a new album. “Really?” most would ask after such a long hiatus. I would have agreed, but as any fan would know, just cause she wasn’t on the pop radar doesn’t mean she hasn’t been recording music since her –  “80s heyday. After touring Australia earlier this year and performing at Mardi Gras, I can guess there are more than a few people who are interested to hear what Cyndi has come up with for her 11th album.

Word is that Cyndi collaborated with leading dance music producers such as the Basement Jaxx and Kleerup (producer on Robyn’s single With Every Heartbeat). The influence is evident on the album, with strong pop/dance beats and synth melodies pulsing and bubbling under Cyndi’s rather recognisable vocal style. In this she is following, as she did in the –  “80s, in the footsteps of that other transformer of pop music, Madonna. Unfortunately the first few songs on the CD follow her formula a little to closely, with dull minimal electronic backdrops to average songwriting – although Into the Nightlife features an enjoyable trancey synth line in the chorus.

Filling a large chunk of the album is stock material for someone now known as a gay icon – diva songs with trimmings. Listening to the likes of Same Old Story and Set Your Heart you feel like you’re in the main room at Mardi Gras. Raging Storm and Give it Up, update that sound into the ‘00s, with a more electronic edge but similar feeling.

Cyndi’s strong suit has always been her unique voice and the tunes mentioned really don’t showcase it to any depth. They all seem rather generic. Highlights of the album for me were the ones that had a touch of her old flavour and focused on her voice, such as the particularly enjoyable Echo, and to a lesser extent but still enjoyable, the closing tracks Grab a Hold and Rain on Me. Both reminded me of what a unique vocal talent she still is.

Bjork might own the ‘90-’00 crown of exceptional female vocalist, but it belonged to Cyndi in the –  “80s and on at least a couple of songs here she reminds us why.