Ahhhhh the late fall of 86' and early winter of 87'.........
David | Baton Rouge, LA | 08/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album certainly has a lot of memories attached to it for me. Then again, all 80's music has a special memory for all of us. The first time I remember hearing "True Colors" was in late November of 1986, I was 17 and a junior in high school working late in the town grocery store. I was the only person left in the store to close up late, and I turned up the radio and Cyndi Lauper started singing her song. It had been a while since I had heard her voice on the air. Her last hit was "Goonies" in late summer of 85'. I really loved "True Colors" it came out at just the right time of year. In late November of 86', when its cold outside and the wind is blowing and you had to wear a coat. Those were great memories, and also about 2 months later in January of 1987, that's when I first heard "Change of Heart". Both of these songs remind me of my small hometown in Oklahoma during the fall and winter. Of a fun job that I didn't have to take too seriously and mopping the floor after the store closed. Turn up the 80's tunes! If you like Cyndi Lauper, then you'll love this album. It's quite a bit slower than her first album "She's So Unusual", but then again it's also 2 years later also. The music started to change as the world started to change. I urge you to buy this album, it's truly a classic!David"
A Superior album compared to "She's So Unusual"
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 05/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My initial reasons for being interested in Cyndi Lauper's recordings go back to her debut album, "She's So Unusual". The reason for my interest was the inclusion of two musicians - Eric Bazilian or Rob Hyman. Two years following this album, Bazilian and Hyman would go on to found "The Hooters". Despite the fact that I was a fan of The Hooters, I was disappointed in "She's So Unusual". While the album had great commercial success, I found that there were only a few songs that I felt were any good. These songs included "Time After Time", "She Bop", "All Through the Night", and "When You Were Mine". I felt that these songs showed that Lauper had plenty of potential going forward. My curiosity led me to eventually check out Cyndi Lauper's follow-on album, 1986's "True Colors". While not the monster commercial success of "She's So Unusual", I found that Lauper had matured a great deal as a musician on "True Colors".
One reason I think that "True Colors" didn't sell well is because people who purchased "She's So Unusual" probably felt it wasn't a strong enough album to warrant the purchase of the follow-up. For the most part, I found "She's So Unusual" an album that blended with Lauper's bubbly personality. For "True Colors", I think of this album as the closest thing to Lauper's version of the "..But Seriously" album (Phil Collins' 'serious' album). With a couple of exceptions, Lauper not only shows more maturity in her music and songs, but in her performance as well.
I think a lot of credit for this maturity has to go to Lauper herself. Lauper takes a much more "hands-on" approach to this collection. Lauper is involved in the songwriting of 7 of the 10 songs. Keep in mind that 2 of these 10 tracks are covers, so she has a major role in the original material. This contrasts to "She's So Unusual" where she co-wrote 4 songs. Cyndi is the co-writer on each of the seven songs, but still she played a major role. Cyndi also is the co-producer of this album with her longtime producer, Lennie Petze. Despite the fact that Bazilian and Hyman are not a part of this collection - I still found there were some excellent musicians. There are also some name guest musicians in The Bangles, Nile Rodgers, Billy Joel, Aimee Mann, Pee-Wee Herman, and Rick Derringer.
The first single released from this album was a non-Lauper written song - the title track "True Colors". I must say that this song did not make me do handstands. While it's clear there is a new maturity in Lauper's voice - I found the song kind of boring. It wasn't enough to gain my interest in this collection.
It was the second single that completely changed my tune - "Change of Heart". Like its predecessor "She's So Unusual", for the most part "True Colors" is a synth-pop album. However 1986/7 was a time where the 80s music landscape was moving more toward a guitar-laden sound. "Change of Heart" demonstrates Lauper can handle this sound seamlessly. I like how Lauper blends with the harder edged guitar sound. It features guitar-work by Nile Rodgers. The Bangles also contribute some of their trademark vocals. While Lauper didn't write the music, she did contribute some additional lyrics. While I think her voice sounds a bit tentative at the start, as the song goes on - Lauper demonstrates some major intensity to her vocals to go with the guitar-laden sound.
Lauper's maturity contributes on the cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?". Cyndi brings a lot of creditability to this Vietnam-era song that advocates for peace. In some ways, I think Lauper's vocals are stronger on this track than the Marvin Gaye cover. The overall sound of the song is terrific - most notably with the inclusion of Linn Drums. "What's Going On" has a terrific percussion segue into the collection's other cover "Iko Iko". I have never been a fan of "Iko Iko", however I do think this version of the song is superior to the version of the song done by the Belle Stars for the movie "Rain Man". Lauper and Lennie Petze deserve an enormous amount of credit for the arrangements of these covers - because they not only find a way to blend Lauper's unique vocals with this songs, but overall they come up with superior products to the originals.
It was around this time that Lauper contributed vocals to the track "Code of Silence" to Billy Joel's "The Bridge" album. This time Joel returns the favor contributing vocals to the track "Maybe He'll Know". This song has a retro-sound - much like the sound to Joel's "An Innocent Man". While this may sound like a Billy Joel penned song, it isn't - it is a song written by Lauper and John Turi. This is another terrific track - Joel's voice blends perfectly. This track is better than the "Code of Silence" collaboration that was previously done.
Other good tracks include: "The Faraway Nearby" - this features some terrific co-vocals by Aimee Mann; "Calm Inside the Storm" - featuring guitar by Rick Derringer; and "Boy Blue" - an underrated track. The collections' final track, "One Track Mind" is average at best. The one poor track on the album is "911". I felt there was no value in this track - especially the inclusion of Pee-Wee Herman as a guest 911 operator. This song almost brings down the rest of the collection.
The liner notes include all of the lyrics, songwriting, and musician credits. For some reason, the lyrics to "Boy Blue" in a "handwritten" form and kept separate from the other lyrics. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this follow-up album. This is definitely an improvement over "She's So Unusual" - as well as a very different album. The serious Lauper fans will like this album, but I'd also recommend this collection to the casual fans."
A TRULY Great Album
Teapot Tales | Brooklyn, NY U.S.A. | 12/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't listen to any "overanalytical" reviews. This album is awesome. Cyndi does a much better job singing. Practically every song is unforgettable. Her voice successfully conquers every imaginable musical style, such as rock ("Change of Heart", "One Track Mind"), romantic ballad ("True Colors"), Mardi Gras music ("Iko Iko"), pop ("Calm Inside The Storm", "The Faraway Nearby", "911"), and a much more successful remake of the "Blue Angel's" "Maybe He'll Know". IMO, "Change of Heart", "Iko Iko", and "The Faraway Nearby" are the greates tracks on this album (although all of them are distinctly different). "True Colors" is a real classic; it's one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. It's not a mess of different styles, though. "True Colors" is a very solid album. All songs are logicall integrated into one unforgettable performance. For those who would like to listen to other awesome Cyndi records, I suggest "A Night To Remember" and "Sisters of Avalon". You won't regret it!"
Not a Perfect Sophomore Effort...Not A Slump Either
Gregor von Kallahann | 03/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recall reading one very perceptive review, I believe it was in the Village Voice, when this album first came out in 1987, that insisted that THIS was the album on which Cyndi Lauper set out to prove herself as a SINGER. SHE'S SO UNUSUAL her solo debut, had any number of moments that showed off Cyndi's multi-octave range to good effect, but it was more about sass and image and "girls having fun." I had been listening to (and enjoying) the first two singles on the radio for a few months before I heard the entire record. There had been some mention in the rock press of Cyndi's considerable vocal prowess. But I didn't really get what might distinguish her from any other pop princess of the time (including you-know-who) 'til I actually heard her wail torrents of regret and anger and Lord knows what other emotions at the close-out of "Money Changes Everything." It was one of those hair-stand-end moments, like Janis' "Try," when I realized what all the excitement was about.But aside from that spinetingler, SHE'S SO UNUSUAL was not a record that let Cyndi pull out all the stops vocally. The focus was on something else, creating a great pop record, not a vocal showcase. On her second release, she tried to do both. The vocal pyrotechnics are there on numbers like "Boy Blue," "Calm Inside the Storm," and "911"--she gets the chance to belt and not just embellish. On the other hand, unlike so much of the current diva-driven product, the songs remain the thing. The vocals are still at the service of the lyrics and melody, not the other way around. Lauper's detractors sometimes mock the little-girl voice apparent on the title track, and such affectations are to some degree a matter of taste. But "True Colors" represented only one of the colors on the artist's palette. (I happen to like it still, especially after seeing her perform it again last year on Cher's "farewell" tour--but even for those who don't, Lauper has much much more up her sleeve.)Like its predecessor, TRUE COLORS has its pure pop pleasures, guilty or otherwise. Guest spots by the Bangles, Billy Joel and, in a non-musical spot, Pee-wee Herman, add to the fun quotient. A more somber tone is achieved on "What's Goin' On?"--perhaps the most controversial song on the record. Some critics seemed to think it was sacrilege: others just thought it was too Viet Nam era! Maybe she should have updated the lyrics to read,"But who are they to judge us/just because our hair is...purple." I thought it was a nice tip of the hat to the late, great Marvin Gaye and a creditable performance in its own right. Cyndi Lauper was taking some chances with this record. For the most part, she pulled it off."