Cyndi Lauper: Detour

Posted May 17, 2016 by in Country



3.5/ 5


Label: ,
Genre: Country
Producer: Tony Brown, Cyndi Lauper
Label: Sire, Warner Bros.
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 38:13
Release Date: 6 May 2016
Spin This: "Walkin' After Midnight," "Hard Candy Christmas," "Heartaches By the Number"


Lauper sounds timeless, at home on Patsy Cline standards and humorous material ("You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly"). Production and duets with most country stars are a plus


The duet experience of Willie Nelson and Lauper on "Night Life" seems out of sync; would've been refreshing to hear her on material geared towards contemporary radio

’80’s pop icon takes a “detour” towards classic country on 2015 effort

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

’80’s pop icon takes a “detour” towards classic country on 2016 effort

cyndilauper-01It may come as a surprise to some to see ‘80’s mega-star Cyndi Lauper dressing up as a country saloon singer on her eleventh studio album, Detour, but as stated inside the album’s liner notes, country music was a part of her upbringing. “I remembered some magical moments when my aunt would sing and float around her kitchen to Loretta Lynn. Then I remembered sitting with my Nana when I was very young, watching Patsy Cline sing on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show,” Lauper penned. Those warm memory-lane recollections are enough inspiration for Lauper to go down the path of country, something fellow Eighties pop stars and other genre-linked acts have already done. Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, and Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Katy Perry have also dipped their finger in the twangy Tennessee blues.

Detour, her first record with Warner Bros via Sire and yet another detour record in Lauper’s collection (see 2010’s Memphis Blues), plays like a classic country record. To make that happen, she’s surrounded by producer and country hit maker Tony Brown (who yielded Lionel Richie’s country Tuskegee) and a glowing supporting cast: Famed country legends Vince Gill and Willie Nelson show up on guitars; 35-year Nashville session musician vet Steve Nathan handles the work on the keys; Willie Weeks, known for his work on Donny Hathaway (Live), Randy Newman (Good Ole Boys) and David Bowie (Young Americans), is on bass. The twelve-track set, mostly covers from classic country royalty, also plants her in the company with such heavyweight champs as Jewel, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss and the aforementioned Gill and Nelson.

The song selection aboard Detour finds Lauper rushing to the feet of a few heavy rotating standards, like “Misty Blue” and Nelson’s “Night Life” (which he duets on), but the album paces with a smart execution of unpredictability. “Walkin’ After Midnight” traces Patsy Cline’s classic, but stuffs a little more pep in its step. The faster tempo is more exaggerated for those looking to cut a rug. Adding a modulation on the closing chorus also comes as a surprise. Lauper sounds at home on Guy Mitchell’s “Heartaches by the Number” and Marty Robbins’ “Begging to You.” She also maximizes her girly pipes on the befitting humor-clad “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly,” a foot-patting uptempo gem anchored by Vince Gill’s harmonizing. Lauper’s vocals, virtually timeless in structure, are still etched in a grandeur of youthfulness. She marinates those punk-oriented trademarks inside the album opener “Funnel of Love,” where its final seconds and coda fade off like a clever jam band experiment. Possibly the album’s most poignant highlight is the closer, “Hard Candy Christmas,” which bubbles with trance-like pop melodies, casual Hawaiian guitar strokes and a gutsy vocal. It’s her finest moment in this lesson of genre-hopping, where an aging pop star can rediscover her creative muse and force open the gauge of folk’s expectations.

But let it be known that not everything aboard Detour comes off as a tour de force. “The End of the World” positively sits in a dreamy soundscape akin to “True Colors,” but there just isn’t a mesmeric climax to the melancholic swaying. Plus, the duet sparring on “Night Life” doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in heaven, either. Nelson’s short, breathy and whispery phrasing just doesn’t cozy up with Lauper’s elongated notes. Put those tidbit worries aside; Detour still is a refreshing chapter in Lauper’s handbook. Now two albums deep into style shifts, Lauper is still a girl that wants to have fun. Traditional country – all wrapped around entertaining stories of infidelity, country living and booze – is now considered a type of fun befitting a 50-and-up crowd. She’s also aware that country music sells (63 percent of country buyers actually buys physical copies of albums). At the age of 62, the “Time After Time” singer knows she can fully experiment with other styles without jeopardizing her base. She will return to norm on the next record, but in the meantime it’s pretty cool to hear Lauper stretching those taste buds and mojo some on some tried-and-true Tennessee Valley/Texas barrelhouse country.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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