Cyndi Lauper‘s an icon known for reinvention. Not in that chameleon-like way Madonna’s done it over the years. She’s reinvented herself musically: downtown punk pop turned into adult contemporary into disco diva into standard interpreter to her current incarnation, full-throated blues singer.
The squeaky-voiced woman with many octaves went to Memphis and caught up with Ann Peebles, B.B. King, and Johnny Lang. They jammed and recorded an album, Memphis Blues, that is not perfect. Some of the songs work extremely well and some her voice just doesn’t have the proper register to make convincing. But more times than not, she’s convincing. She definitely sings the blues and knows the blues. Whoever says a yellow-plumed girl from Ozone Park cannot possibly interpret the blues is simply wrong. When she’s on, like on “Don’t Cry No More” and “Just Your Fool,” she gives many a Memphis resident a run for their money.
As the most outspoken, vocal, and visible gay rights activist around today she’s definitely not pandering to her audience with this one. There is no disco beat. But if the gays and the straights take a minute to sit back and wallow in Lauper’s depths of misery, they’ll be surprised. She may wanna have fun, but she too gets the blues.