We usually like Cyndi Lauperexcept when her website is stealing from us — so we approached her new album, “Memphis Blues,” with both excitement and trepidation.  We were excited to see her join Tom Petty and Steve Miller in the release of new Blues albums over the last week; we were trepidatious because, in our experience, the best Blues albums come from those who are musicians first and singers second.

The Blues is a stringed instrument method of music making.  Sure, vocal cords can sing the Blues, but to move The Blues, you need the vibration of string in the air against wood to bring alive the heartache of the earth — and that means a piano or a guitar or even a thumping bass.

Brass does not play the Blues.  Brass celebrates Jazz.

Cyndi Lauper’s “Memphis Blues” stars a wide variety of Blues legends:  B.B. King, Charles Musselwhite, Allen Toussaint, Johnny Lang and Ann Peebles — but they all outshine Cyndi because she is trying too hard to match them and The Blues is not the natural genre for her type of screechy Pop singing.

Cyndi released this album on “Mercer Street Records” — not her usual SONY/BMG Music label — so it looks like she was dealing with an immediate aesthetic disconnect between her old label and the risk of a new one.

When Cyndi performed “Just Your Fool” with Musselwhite on the Celebrity Apprentice finale, it was uncomfortable watching her squirm on the table in front of Donald Trump:

You don’t lap dance The Blues and you also don’t ask the audience to clap along during a Blues song.  Cyndi has the wrong tone, temperature and intonation for singing and performing The Blues.

If you purchase “Memphis Blues” from iTunes, you’ll get one version of the album that includes a digital booklet.

Now, I’m not going to say Cyndi Lauper is an Old Hag at 57 — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but why include such a horrible image of her when there are obviously other shots you could use that are more lucidly charming?

I can’t imagine SONY/BMG ever letting loose a posed Old Hag image like this one for the public eye:

I don’t know why Cyndi Lauper wanted to make a Blues album; her soulless voice is thin and erratic throughout — perhaps she was just bored and wanted to record some tone exploration — but that doesn’t mean she can actually sing the proper Blues or that she should release the failed effort for sale.

For Cyndi Lauper to leap into the Blues realm without the proper historic insight, musical edification, or yearning confidence we have come to expect from her — she leaves us cold and lifeless in Memphis — and still searching for The Real Blues.


    1. Her album comes off as an “idle minds” attempt. I think she’s bored with her life and wanted to try something new. I suppose there’s value in that if you’re a blindly following Lauper fan — but for the rest of us — we expect, and demand, so much more.

  1. Oh, please…one thing the blues is not is didactic and rule-oriented. I mean “Horns don’t play the blues” — oh, really? That would be a big surprise to Duke Ellington and the Memphis Horns, my friend. And what about “Blues don’t lapdance” — a big, big surprise to Ma Rainey! There are all kinds of blues, Mr. Boles, and nobody appointed you the town sheriff of Music Town. Junior Kimbrough is blues and and so can be Cyndi Lauper. May not be your cuppa but that’s no reason to go all know-it-all and suggest you understand all the cosmic barriers that separate Cyndi from Junior. You don’t.

    1. One can always invoke the anomalous outlier, but I still argue The Blues is historically more guitar than brass and more standing during performance than lap dancing.

      Musical genres necessarily find life in their didacticism and benefit from rules and context and majority agreement for comprehension.

      If “anything goes” when it comes to having a discussion about “The Blues” — then nothing means everything.

  2. whatever dude. Your review is clearly based on the issue you guys had with her website. The music on her new Blues CD is pretty damn good. And its been # 1 on Amazon and itunes for a couple weeks….so clearly your alone in your view.

    1. Dude —

      Your criticism is rich. We’re surprised you didn’t accuse of not liking her because we’re jealous of her hair. So funny!

      We appreciated Cyndi on “The Apprentice” and we never would’ve spent our own hard-earned cash on her album if we weren’t anticipating greatness. You don’t spend money in expectation of writing a “bad review.”

      We, of course, are not alone in our dismay:


      Google searches reveal other major mainstream media outlets that share our disappointment.

      Don’t mistake popularity with quality. Just because something sells doesn’t mean it’s any good: Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber…

  3. lol,u guys are funny.once again cyndi turns her hand and completely slots right in to the feeling and ability to sing the blues,who else can cover pop,dance and blues in the way that cyndi does.leave her alone and let her true fans marvel in what is the legend of cyndi lauper.

  4. I agree with most of the comments here and say that this review is terrible…her “screechy” pop singing isn’t even in this at all. There are some good tracks with some amazing artists and it’s just a good album all around. Too bad you can’t enjoy it for music and instead bash her because of some claim of website stealing. Yuck. I’d rather read Rolling Stone and they may be the worst music critics of all time.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      As we previously stated, our reaction to Cyndi’s “Blues” album isn’t based on the previous bad behavior of her website stealing our content.

      We enjoyed Cyndi on “The Apprentice” as a contest. We have enjoyed her acoustic efforts in the past.

      We, unfortunately, find her foray into The Blues more folly than fruitful. Her voice, history, being, and style of singing are not suited to the genre. She doesn’t have the technical or emotional range to make the concept a success. Is it her nasal, baby voice, that doesn’t work digging into The BLues? Or is there something deeper missing within her that just doesn’t click us into her full comprehension the history of suffering and The Blues?

      When — at the end of “Early in the Mornin'” — she scolds one of the players by saying, “What are you doing?” It ruins the fit and tone of the song as the musician reacts to her inappropriate behavior. SONY would never have allowed her to correct, or make fun of, another musician like that on a song — even if she tries to laugh it off as a joke. Her scolding is just plain bad, unenjoyable, form on a Blues album.

  5. Agree. Actually I like Lauper’s energy and voice and really was looking forward to this release but am disappointed now to find that her performance and approach is smashing the brilliant musicians around her. Since it is not her terrain she would have gone better with a label that can lead her a bit and avoid major mistakes in producing this album.

  6. first, sorry for the mistakes i’ll make because i m french, not american ;-). i relly like previous cyndi’s records. but i heard that she was going to make a blues album i was astonished because it is far from her usual music style. i listened to it and i agree with you david, this isn t a good blues album, because it s a blues record made with a pop production. i don t know if i explain well. blues is blues and can not be mixed with other style of music. Cyndi can sing, is full of energy, in one word she has a big talent, but for pop-rock music. i hope you understand my sentences lol. farid

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