Cyndi Lauper – “The Japanese Singles Collection”
by Mark Keen
“Twelve Deadly Cyns…and Then Some” is one of my all time favourite greatest hits albums. It was huge hit in the UK hitting number two on release in 1994 off the back of the success of “Hey Now (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)” and selling a million copies in Japan. It went on to sell six million copies around the world. It introduced me to some great tracks, such as “Sally’s Pigeons” from the “Hatful Of Stars” album, but I was always disappointed that the “A Night To Remember” album was only represented with one track, “I Drove All Night“. There were some great singles off that album that completely missed the charts in most countries, such as “Heading West” and “My First Night Without You”, and therefore were missed off the album. I was lucky enough to see Cyndi on tour in York promoting the album.
Being a bit of an aficionado of music videos I also loved the DVD collection, particularly the ‘Cyndi at Coney Island’ segments, but again disappointed to see some great videos missing. So some 25 years later it was with great anticipation that I spotted the “Japanese Singles Collection” with DVD available from all good record stores (ok I mean Amazon). Yes, I know you can watch the videos on You Tube, but it’s not the same. The first thing I noticed when the album arrived was there’s an awful lot of Japanese writing (what did I expect?, I hear you ask), but it’s all the more fun for that. It adds to the mystery! There’s not much mystery these days with every music announcement picked over before releases even hit the shops. Firstly there is some lovely art work of Japanese single covers with song lyrics in English and Japanese. There’s a fascinating introduction to the album, and each song, but you will have to learn Japanese first!
The CD runs to 19 tracks, but there are some interesting additions missing from “Twelve Deadly Cyns”. These are “When You Were Mine”, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”, “Boy Blue” and “Hole In My Heart (All The Way To China)” as well as the aforementioned “A Night To Remember” tracks. We also get some more recent tracks such as “Hope” and “Time After Time” (featuring Sarah McLachlan) off the underrated “The Body Acoustic” album. However, the highlight is the accompanying DVD with an enormous 26 videos. Compared to “Twelve Deadly Cyns”, fourteen videos this is an enormous leap forward. As far as I can see it is definitive with all those missing “A Night To Remember” videos, plus rarities such as “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” and “Hole in My Heart”. Also it is great to see videos from albums subsequent to “Twelve Deadly Cyns” such as “You Don’t Know” and “Into The Nightlife” appearing on DVD for the first time.
I won’t cover the videos on “Twelve Deadly Cyns”, but here’s a review of the new editions. “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” is an extended version which is good fun showing clips from the film, and a real blast from the past. “Boy Blue” is a live concert performance and the rocky “Hole In My Heart” is another great humorous video from the ‘Vibes’ film soundtrack. The trio of videos from “A Night To Remember” missing from the “Twelve Deadly Cyns” DVD are more serious affairs, but still enjoyable. “My First Night Without You” is surely a lost classic, closely followed by “Heading West”. My only previous viewing of “Heading West” was a couple of minutes at the end of an edition of The Chart Show! In those days if you didn’t have MTV that was it, unless they appeared on Casey Kasem’s late night US Top Ten show.
I don’t remember ever seeing “You Don’t Know”, so that’s a welcome treat as Cyndi heads into the mid 1990’s, along with “Sisters of Avalon” and the “Ballad of Cleo & Joe”. The budget of the videos did decline towards the end, but they are still worth a viewing. “At last” is a welcome addition, and is a rather sublime version of a great song with a classy video, with Cyndi perhaps at her most vulnerable. It’s a simple video set amongst the lights of New York City, but simple is always best. “Into The Nightlife” brings Cyndi back to the dance floor in the Noughties, and the DVD is rounded off with 2017’s “Hope”. There’s always hope in life! Hope, and don’t give up! Whilst the collection is around £40 this is surely a must buy for competists! Now, I just need to enroll on to the Introduction to Japanese course at my local college in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Anybody want to join me? You don’t have to wear ‘Kinky Boots’ (but it helps!).