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Time - August 7, 1995

This article has been typed by Ray Gordon and Mark Ben-Yosef.


MUSIC: Viva the Divas !
by Richard Corliss

Background: The article is a bit of a celebration of female singers. It talks about how women are much more free and are not restricted, the women are no longer in the shadow of men but are their own beings. Some of the albums which are knid of reviewed are: The Woman In Me by Shania Twain, the Boys On The Side soundtrack, Now That I've Found You by Alison Kraus, a three cd compilation called global divas, Diva by Annie Lennox, When Fallen Angels Fly by Patty Loveless, Thinkin' About You by Trisha Yearwood,Bette of Roses by Bette Midler, and of course Twelve Dealdy Cyn. The article also discuss the mold that female singers broke by beginning to write their own material.
Pictures: Bette Midler, Annie Lennox, Patty Loveless, Alison Kraus, and that picture of Cyndi.
The column about Cyndi ends with speaking about Bette Midler and reads as follows:

Midler has never left the concert stage. But Cyndi Lauper was in desperate need of a comeback. A decade ago, she was a sort of hip novelty act. With her cartoony, little-girl-lost voice, she sounded like Betty Boop after a month at Betty Ford's. This vocal persona was so successful that she could baby-talk her way sulkily through an entire ballad, the smash True Colors (or, as she pronounced it, Twu Cuhwuhs). Lauper had golden pipes, but she mostly kept them hidden; perhaps they embarrassed her.

Now, in her Twelve Deadly Cyns album, they're out of the closet. This greatest-hits compilation has three previously unreleased cuts, one of them a cover of Gene Pitney's 1963 I'm Gonna Be Strong. A renunciation lament written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in the one-huge-crescendo mode fashioned by Roy Orbison, it gives Lauper the chance to create scary musical melodrama within three minutes. She starts in a whisper, escalates to a taunting rasp and ends--a declaration of solitude later and a couple of octaves higher--in emotional exhaustion. At the climax Lauper daringly slips in a phrase of her old baby talk ("How I'w bweak down and ...") before the grown-up sonic blast of the final "cry," a keening that might have come from Oedipus.

I'm Gonna Be Strong is a gut-twisting turn for both listener and singer. It proves again that, in somebody's trunk, there are terrific songs just waiting for sensational performances. Lauper's example here is instructive for female singers of the pop persuasion. Don't send in the clown. Call out the diva.

© 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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