Sunday, August 10, 2008

Same Old Fucking Story, and it's a new album from Cyndi Lauper

"Bring Ya To The Brink" is the name of Cyndi Lauper's 11th album, and shows the American singer in a powerful light. What I like about the new album is, lyrically, Cyndi still in a thought provoking mode.

There's been cheap candy talk about Madonna and Lauper being rivals in the eighties, but I've never seen the musical connection between both artists. The only thing I see is bad journalism.

Before you shy away from the new Lauper album, thinking that it's just another comeback album from a fifty something Diva, looking at the Gay market to re-estabish her place in the pop palace of Gwen Stefani gimmick grabbers, hold up for a minute.

There's enough eletronica, soul, disco and plenty of big bouncy tunes here to fill up your girlfriend's swimming pool, however, although the album does has the odd predictable dancefloor filler, there's just too many great songs on this album to put a damper on anything.

The album really gets cooking with track 3, the brilliant electro ragga, Japanese friendly dance ditty "Rocking Chair". This is Lauper doing Gwen Stefani doing Cyndi Lauper.

This is the song that proves that Stefani's always been a Cyndi Lauper impersonator. In so many words, Cydni sings "Romeo boys they'll be dancing with the Cha Cha girls," while Gwen is treading water in her annoying Hekiru girls bubble.

But Lauper isn't really striving for postal natal depression Studio 54 drivel. Even the most minimal of electronic beats, evident on the track 'Echo', can't take away from Lauper's wonderful vocal stylings.

Cyndi's swansong has to be the disco belter, "Same Old Fucking Story". It's like a hip now generation of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", but it's more direct and it's got a million times more attitude. Deep down inside Cyndi's always has been and will remain a punk at heart, and this song is no diffrent.

"It's the same old fucking story
With your two differnet sets of rules
It's the same old fucking story
One for me, two for you"

The next six tracks are a masterclass in pop perfection. "Raging Storm" talks about the world's obsession of celebrity. "There's a raging storm in a troubled sea, but you're clouding my mind with celebrity. You can fight for the right to be, but you better not do a bad show on MTV."

One of my favorites, "Lay Me Down" could possibly be the best electronic chill out dancefloor classic of 2008. Lauper has perfected organic dance music with feeling and meaning. This is a far cry from her last magnificent album "The Body Acoustic", but then again, there are also a lot of smilarities. In a strange way, these songs could be played with acoustic guitars. Drop the big beats and Cyndi's vocals could still make the songs shine.

As with "The Same Old Fucking Story", the track "Set Your Heart" is another big beat dancefloor belter that's positioned as an optimistic dance monster track. Lauper's vocals soar high like a raging eagle. This is a skydiving kick drum delight, the perfect showcase to the woman with the biggest lungs in showbiz. This is Cyndi Lauper, larger than life, taking flight and conquering the world.

Cyndi makes a confession on the second last track, "Grab A Hold", and backs it with her trademark emotional Cyndi vocal delivery. This is undeniable Lauper, and features all the ingredients that has always made her so important in the current hollow pop landscape. Sings Cyndi, "If you want grab a hold, let it go."

Lauper ends the album with the ballad "Rain On Me". It's an electronica nod to "Time After Time", the kind of song that gets played at a disco when everyone's packing up to leave at 6am, or perfect for when you're driving home in your car when it's raining. It's Lauper at her most spiritual.

Check out Cyndi performing "Into The Nightlife", the second track from the new album, "Bring Ya To The Brink" on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

The Mail on Sunday Hails Martha and the Muffins' 25th Anniversary Edition of Danseparc

An insightful review of Martha and the Muffins' recently reissued 25th anniversary edition of 'Danseparc' was written by rock critic David Bennun in today's edition of the UK's Mail on Sunday Newspaper. Bennun comes up with some interesting observations about Toronto's best loved rock band.

Says Bennun - "The under-appreciated Toronto New Wave outfit Martha and the Muffins are nowadays known mainly for their jaunty yet curiously haunting 1980 hit single Echo Beach. Perhaps the reissue of Danseparc will help rectify that."

"By the time of its 1983 UK release, prime movers Martha Johnson and Mark Gane (aka M+M) were making the best Talking Heads records not actually created by Talking Heads themselves."

"But M+M were not simple copyists. While their sound was deeply indebted to the New York trailblazers, Danseparc has a character of its own; lyrically less abstruse - indeed, often precisely observational, with the unforgiving focus oif a documentary camera lense."

"Walking Into Walls, Danseparc (Every Day It's Tomorrow), Several Styles of Blonde Girls Dancing, and Boys in the Bushes all merit a place among the treasures of their time, and still burst with life and energy."

"Now, if only whoever owns the rights to what may be the band's best album of all, 'This Is The Ice Age' (1981), would do us the favour of making it available again."

David Bennun,
The Mail on Sunday
10th August 2008