Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Hat Full of Stars
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
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Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 03/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cyndi Lauper's album "She's So Unusual" made her a pop phenomenon in the 1980's. Lauper's commercial success has faded, but she has continued to create good music. "Hat Full of Stars" is a collection of music tinged by darker subjects. This project was critically acclaimed and generated a number of songs that were far more challenging than the light pop music Lauper sang in the 1980's. However, the darker subjects and the lack of promotion seem to have doomed this album to obscurity.
This album begins with "That's What I Think." This song has a dark edge as it speaks of problems that range from small (no rent money) to large (overpopulation and pollution). Yet Cyndi sings that she can forget about all these problems when she thinks about a special person. This catchy song has feels at home on a dance floor. This song was released as a single in 1993 and saw its best success on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, where it reached #14.
The darker edge of this album is in plain sight in the song "Product of Misery." The music is catchy with a solid beat, but the topic is dark. "She's just a product of misery" has personal meaning to Cyndi. Cyndi describes people stuck in drudgery and pain for generations, with no way out. Cyndi says she does not want to live like that. I suspect that these lyrics relate to Cyndi's childhood because of observations she made about her mother and other women like her.
The song "Who Let in the Rain" is a beautiful song that relies on poetic lyrics for its strength. Cyndi dug deep for the feelings in this song. This song was the first song released as a single from this album. The song did poorly in the United States, failing to reach the Hot 100 and only reaching #33 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart.
The subject turns darker in the song "Lies." The song has a very catchy beat that pulls you into the lyrics. The lyrics speak volumes of the abuse that Lauper received as a child. The lyrics are marginally angry, but they are also self-assured and confident. The abuse theme continues in "Broken Glass." Cyndi swears that she will not be abused like her mother, and then she fell into the same kind of relationship. Cyndi claims her revenge in this song when "it sounded like a gun, but it could have been a firecracker." Cyndi did not stick around to see which it was, but she noted that he got back up "like broken glass." Cyndi may have been a victim, but she is also a survivor and she refuses to put up with this sort of nonsense any more.
"Sally's Pigeons" remains my favorite song on this CD. This song is a touching story about a friend of Cyndi's that became pregnant and then died while after having an abortion. Cyndi throws herself into this song emotionally, and if you focus on the song it is difficult to listen to it without getting watery eyes. This song alone makes any CD with it worth purchasing.
This album has a lighter moment with "Feels like Christmas." This love song provides relief from the darker topics covered by earlier songs. The music is bouncy and fun with a catchy beat. The following song is also relatively upbeat. "Dear John" is a song of encouragement for someone who keeps telling him what he can't do. Cyndi sings that he could be anything he put his mind to, including an astronaut. The music is solid and the lyrics are written in a non-traditional format. I am less enthused about Cyndi's vocal style for this song, which is quite unlike any other song on this CD.
"Like I Used To" is about possession and probably abuse. The music is ironic in comparison to the lyrics. There is a bouncy pop beat with catchy hooks. The lyrics reveal that Cyndi has been controlled and treated as a possession, but she is no longer having any of that. As she says at the end of the song, "I'm my own possession."
The beautiful song "Someone like Me" reflects on topics she covered in earlier songs. The line "I can't see what someone like me is doing in a life like this, slipping back into the past" indicates to me that she is talking about the abuse and neglect she thought she escaped. She also recognizes that it must be her decision to make her life different. The music is pop sensible with catchy hooks. I think this song would have had a good chance as a single.
Cyndi speaks her heart on a related subject in "A Part Hate." The music and vocals are excellent as she sings about the ills of modern society. Her commentary on drug dealing, racism, and violence are applicable to most countries of the world. This song is another winner from this CD.
The final song is a song of hope. "Hat Full of Stars" is about things accomplished, dreams, things that became and things yet to be. This song is also about how we have changed as people and how we have remained the same. The hat full of stars is a reminder to Cyndi of who she is, and how she thought others should have seen her. Cyndi beautifully wraps up this wonderful CD.
How well we remember Cyndi Lauper from the 1980's. She seemed so carefree and exuberant. This album tells us different. She is full of pain and anguish. This CD finally gave her the chance to say what she really wanted to say. Cyndi's music is better on this CD than the stuff she did in the 1980's; perhaps because she is more honest with herself, perhaps because she has allowed the artist to speak. Regardless of the reason, this is wonderful music to speak to the hidden places in your heart.
Hat Full Of Greatness
Bradley Jacobson | 05/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of those overlooked CDs of her releases, this is to me is Cyndi's crowned achievement in music. She's So Unusual is of course fun from start to finish and though it has moments of honesty and angst like the brilliant "Time After Time", it was mostly an album to launch a career with tongue firmly planted in cheek, her next album True Colors was supposed to be a more mature approach and definitely achieved that with the equally brilliant "True Colors", "Change Of Heart" and some very good album cuts, then came 1989's A Night To Remember which other than another brilliant single "I Drove All Night" (damn Celine Dion, damn her!) the album was mostly forgotten. A few years later Cyndi said critics be damned and made the album she wanted to make - Hat Full Of Stars is full of everything you come to expect from my favorite Cupie Betty Boop girl - the emotional ballads "Who Let In The Rain?" (can I just keep using brilliant as an adjective?), "Hat Full Of Stars" which tells the story of a love affair gone which was all the better when all they had was a hat full of stars and nothing else, then "Sally's Pigeons" a woeful tale of an old friend who seemed to have bad luck with a lot of her life, but then Cyndi brings on fun and bouncy music "That's What I Think", and for the first time some real urban plight / world affairs songs like "A Part Hate" and the abuse tale "Shattered Glass" - every single song is worth hearing over and over and though it didn't sell well, and Cyndi would next record Sisters Of Avalon, an album closer to heart since she seemed to have complete control, that album is a little too overly dramatic while Hat Full Of Stars is a perfect combo of fun, cynicism, heartache and of course the great vocal chops of Cyndi - who if the world was a better place would hold the throne as the queen of pop instead of that other woman who can't sing like Cyndi can.
PERSONALLY MY LEAST FAVORITE
Jurai's Heir | Denham Springs, LA, USA | 05/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Hat Full of Stars" is Cyndi Lauper's 4th studio album, it was released in June of 1993. The album was taken from Cyndi's pop-rock sound of previous albums and made heavily into R&B. Cyndi wrote topical songs about social issues that was inspired by her childhood in the '50s. The songs are held together by synthetic loops and percussion, like abortion, racism and spousal abuse. "Hat Full Of Stars" was successful internationally, achieving Gold sales in France and multi-platinum sales in Japan (where her albums sell extremely well.) However it was considered a commercial flop here in the United States, despite glowing reviews from music critics, it received little or no promotion, making it stop at #112 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. "That's What I Think", "Sally's Pigeons", "Hat Full pf Stars", and "Who Let In The Rain" were released as singles. Cyndi has commented that she wishes that her vocals on this album were sharper. She worked with a vocal coach to sharpen her vocals for her next studio album "Sisters Of Avalon" and mentions this in the liner notes on the album.
Personal favorites: "That's What I Think", "Who Let In The Rain", "Sally's Pigeons", "A Part Hate", and "Hat Full of Stars.""