Billboard - June 10, 1995
The article was typed and sent by S.C. Lee.
Lauper Rejuvenates Career With 'Cyn'-ful Epic Anthology
by Jim Bessman
NEW YORK - On paper, Cyndi Lauper's new single and album seem a step backward for the Epic artist who roared out of nowhere in 1984 with the aptly titled quadruple platinum album "She's So Unusual" and its monster first single "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
The new record, "Twelve Deadly Cyns . . . And Then Some" is a 14-track career anthology that is being promoted initially by the single "Hey Now (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)." As the title suggests, the single is a reworking of Lauper's debut hit - but not a reversal of direction.
"It's a reggae-style remake with a brand new chorus which emerged naturally from some live performances that she did last year," says David Massey, Epic VP of A&R; and marketing. The track borrows its "hey now" intro from the 1974 Redbone hit "Come And Get Your Love."
"We feel that the single is a great presentation of where she's at now," Massey adds. "It's not a re-release, but entirely new version with a new flavor."
It was also a huge hit internationally, Massey notes, selling nearly three million copies worldwide. "Twelve Deadly Cyns" has been available with two additional tracks in foreign markets since last September. Epic hopes that Lauper's overseas success can repeat itself with the album's domestic release on July 18 and rejuvenate a career that seemed to have stalled somewhat with her fourth album, the preceding "Hat Full of Stars" from 1993.
"We're very aware that she needs rebuilding here," continues Massey, who believes that while the acclaimed "Hat" album did not live up to the sales standards set by Lauper's early efforts, the very personal disc - which Lauper entirely wrote or co-wrote - went a long way toward promoting her artistic integrity and credibility.
"Obviously, we're aware of the perception problems Cyndi faced in the mid- to late '80s, which affected her development here," says Massey: "But songs like Sally's Pigeons,' which she co-wrote with Mary Chapin Carpenter [and is included in "Twelve Deadly Cyns'] went way beyond where she'd gone before, not only lyrically but vocally."
Massey, citing Lauper's enormous vocal talents and proven star quality - both as concert artist and TV and film actress - expects her anthology to return her to the forefront in the manner of Tina Turner's comeback and points to the album's achievements elsewhere as evidence. "We think she'll sell a million copies in Japan, which is almost unprecedented for an international artist there," he says. "She's already quadruple-platinum [sales in excess of 800,000 units] there, nearly triple in the U.K. [900,000 units] there, and gold or platinum in nine major territories where the early career errors that were made in North America didn't apply."
Here Massey alludes to Lauper's notorious "wrestling phase," which "presented her as being more quirky than she is and underrepresented her extraordinary talent as an artist." Epic's goal now, he says, is to "re-introduce" Lauper to a "distracted public." The "Hey Now (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)" remake, he feels, provides a platform from which to do just that.
The single will be targeted at pop radio here in late June, and Massey is looking for potential crossover to hot AC and the dance market, which will be serviced an "extended carnival" mix featuring Jamaican dancehall artist and Lauper labelmate Patra. The album, meanwhile, will be accompanied by a simultaneously released companion home video anthology. The videos, along with interview footage shot at Coney Island, will be cut into an electronic press kit and in-store play reel.
Lauper, who usually helms her own videos, has directed a TV spot for the album, which Epic product manager Heidi Brown Lewis says utilizes the artist's striking album head shot. Lauper's yellow hair, dramatically made-up eyes, and bright red bowler hat make for an immediately memorable image, which will be further featured in advance point-of-purchase and major market sniping.
A Letterman appearance is confirmed for July 17, adds Lewis, and other TV appearances are being coordinated.
To help Lauper reconnect with her domestic fan base, Epic has begun a classified ad campaign in major metropolitan markets, highlighting an 800 number that gives caller a "sneak preview" of the upcoming album along with Lauper's reminiscences about her big hits and recent overseas success.
"I have no idea why, but it took off like a new record," says Lauper of the album's chart performance outside the U.S while "Twelve Deadly Cyns" includes such hits as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "Time After Time," "True Colors," "All Through The Night," she stresses that it's not a best-of or greatest hits package, but a true career anthology.
"Before making 'Hat Full Of Stars' - which I waited my whole life to make - the record company wanted a best-of," says Lauper. "We even put the whole thing together, but I didn't like it. I wanted a record of my work from the beginning, for people to understand me and who I am as a singer."
"Twelve Deadly Cyns," then, starts with a new version of "I'm Gonna Be Strong," the Gene Pitney classic which Lauper originally performed and recorded with her early band Blue Angel. "I wanted it in the anthology because it represents a very large part of my life, and for people who know me from before my solo career," she notes.
The "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" remake came about when she and her band "ripped apart" the original version during her "Hat Full of Stars" album tour. The reggae influence continues on "Come On Home," the anthology's only new song, which will be its second single.
"It's about coming home to yourself," says Lauper, recalling all she's gone through since her initial breakthrough, when "everything was amplified," she says, and "I wore all my bruises on the outside like warpaint. I had to find out who I was, which wasn't who everybody thought I was. People like to pigeonhole you into a little space, but I'm a very real person who tries to do what's real - from my heart - whether it's successful or not."
Touring plans, however, depend on the domestic success of "Twelve Deadly Cyns . . . And Then Some," Lauper adds. Otherwise, she'll continue writing and furthering her studies into world music, which she commences in earnest during her "Hat Full Of Stars" touring.
"I love music, and every day there's new music to learn," she says.