Still trying to chase after the elusive shred of credibility, perhaps Cyndi Lauper will finally put her ghosts to rest with The Body Acoustic, a simultaneously frustrating and beautiful reinterpretation of her older songs, mostly in collaboration with artists that one won’t expect to show up on a Cyndi Lauper record.
I have always adored Cyndi Lauper since her heydays as a high-pitched fun-loving banshee with too many colors in her hair. Many of the songs here are some of her biggest hits ever as well as some of my favorite songs ever. However in The Body Acoustic, it is frustrating how some tracks like Money Changes Everything (featuring emo guy Adam Lazzara) and All Through the Night (with the irrelevant and pointless ad libs by Shaggy) don’t offer anything new in terms of interpretation. Most of those tracks only offer cosmetic changes in terms of how they are now performed while being accompanied by an acoustic backing track. Time After Time is beautiful the first time around but this time around with Sarah McLachlan as a duet partner, Ms Lauper doesn’t do anything new with the song other than showing the world how she manages to outsing Ms McLachlan without even trying, heh. On the other hand, She Bops is a travesty, stripped down from all the sense of mischief and energy in the original into this too-slow and lethargic version. I miss the dancing nuns.
The best moment on this CD is Shine, where Ms Lauper shows that the wild child she once was is still bright and alive here. Since this is an acoustic version of the song, the violins really let fly and the result is the happiest song ever from Ms Lauper since she decides that she’s no longer that silly fun gal and starts chasing after dreams of credibility and critical acclaim.
I’m not saying that this CD is bad, of course. Some of the songs here are simply haunting, such as Time After Time which is accompanied only by a cello and a dulcimer that Ms Lauper teaches herself to play after reading Mel Bay. True Colors, easily one of the best songs she’s ever come up with (made even more poignant by the fact that there is an underlying gay-friendly message here that she dedicated to a late friend), is a great song… but there is very little in this new version that improves on the original version.
While Ms Lauper sounds very good here with age and maturity tampering her unique voice into being more distinctive while remaining strong and steady, I don’t really see the point of many of the songs on this CD since these songs are mostly given cosmetic makeovers without any actual innovative reinterpretations. How about giving her fans a CD of new material instead of trying to improve on what, in my opinion, doesn’t need to be improved in the first place? As for this CD, let’s just say that if you ask me to choose between this CD or Ms Lauper’s greatest hits CD Twelve Deadly Cyns… and Then Some, I’d take the latter without hesitation, if only because there is no butchered She Bops in that one!