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Cyndi Lauper

With all due respect to Cher, it's Cyndi Lauper who should receive top billing on the pair's current tour of America. Sure, it's been more than 15 years since Lauper's classic debut, She's So Unusual, made her a star of the pop charts and the MTV generation. It's now nearly...

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With all due respect to Cher, it's Cyndi Lauper who should receive top billing on the pair's current tour of America. Sure, it's been more than 15 years since Lauper's classic debut, She's So Unusual, made her a star of the pop charts and the MTV generation. It's now nearly impossible to separate Lauper's wacky, giggly punk image, as well as hits such as "Time After Time" and "She Bop," from the decade that spawned them. Listened to in the right mood, She's So Unusual — which kicks off with the not-so-played-out single "Money Changes Everything" — sounds just as fresh and genuine today as it did way back in 1984.

Unfortunately, Lauper's career began a slow decline through the late '80s and, despite a couple of comeback attempts in the '90s, she never attained anything like the acclaim she had in the earliest days of her career as a multihued, brassy-voiced songwriter from Queens. (It probably didn't help that she followed up Unusual with "The Goonies R Good Enough" — which was not to The Goonies as Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" was to Ghostbusters.) Sure, Cher gets points for persistence, but, musically, has never shined as brightly as Lauper once did. In a just world, Cyndi would be in Cher's shoes — though hopefully not in her clothes.

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