South China Morning Post - June 27, 1993
The article was typed and sent by S.C. Lee.
Hatful of Cyndi Rings True
by Erich Boehm
In the acknowledgements to Hat Full of Stars, Cyndi Lauper thanks to Tommy Mottola, president of CBS Records and husband of Mariah Carey, for having advised her to make her own graceland. Hat Full of Stars is not as grandiose as Paul Simon's epic chartbuster but it is a good album.
Instead of mining the musical gold of other exotic cultures, Lauper digs closer to home, crafting vignettes of virtually every kind of American sound. Product of Mistery, for example, is a stew of folk and country while Who Let in the Rain rings like slow "Philadelphia" soul. And if Like I Used To harkens to early Motown then Feels Like Christmas feels like backwater Cajun.
Lauper, despite a decade in the business, is also not above absorbing an influence or two. Aretha Franklin's gospel-tinted R&B; underlies A Part Hate with a near cop of Enigma's riff (the only one) thrown in for good measure. And on Sally Pigeons, Lauper is clearly in Suzanne Vega's urban folk territory.
Sally's Pigeons, as well, is the best piece of songwriting on Hat Full of Stars. One-upping Vega's cool demeanour with a quietly passionate delivery, this is the story of a childhood friend who is lost to a back alley abortionist.
But what about orginality ? The selling point is Lauper's exceptional voice. She may not be the best singer out there but she is one of most truthfully emotive - a quality sadly missing in most pop music.