Cyndi Lauper – “Bring Ya To The Brink”
“Bring Ya To The Brink” is Cyndi Lauper’s “Confessions“, but twisted and more electro than anything Madonna could dream up. Her ninth studio album was delivered four years after “Shine” as Cyndi hooked up with Basement Jaxx, Peer Astrom and many others to produce a riot of Queer sounds and noises that matched the messed up times and attitudes of 2008. Work began at the start of 2007 with recording sessions in Europe and The States as the then 54 year old took her booty to the floor like never before. It was in the early Spring of 2008 that the first song materialised in Japan, a market where Cyndi has enjoyed unparalleled success and high chart positions throughout her career.
If you’ve never been to the ‘brink’ before, slam play and absorb…
1. High And Mighty
The album kicks off with the pumping “High And Mighty”, an electro trance fantasy with layered vocals and sounds that grow and grow to keep you locked in from the word GO. It’s infectious and demonstrates Cyndi’s sometimes, almost, unbothered approach to her vocal but returning at the turn of the next corner with passion and dominance. Quite brilliant!
2. Into The Nightlife
Cyndi’s unashamed dance floor filler, “Into The Nightlife”, fires things up with easily catchy words and repetitive verses and choruses that make this her most jolly and engaged sound yet. That’s probably due to the produced of Max Martin and Peer Astrom (who also played a part in Madonna‘s dancefloor epic). The song was released in September 2008 and topped the US dance club chart and is generally regarded as one of the most memorable and best loved tracks on the album. High, high, high!
3. Rocking Chair
There’s a feel of Gloria Estefan-carnival-Samba to “Rocking Chair”, as Cyndi ushers in Latin rhythms and a sun drenched production to this upbeat number. This is THE Basement Jaxx number and it’s a shame that it’s the only one to make the final cut of the album. Cyndi’s vocals are performed with delicious malice as she ‘lords’ this track with all its glory and finery.
“Echo” starts as it means to go on. Infectious, ear-worming, addictive and totally magnificent. “Echo, echo, echo”. Simple production and a constant beat and synth are the secret this two-layer song’s success. “Echo, echo, echo”. Just when you think the verses are going nowhere on their one tone, the chorus sparks into life with vitality and glory. “Echo, echo, echo”. Cyndi’s vocals are sublime too. Definitely a standout and one to return to. “Echo, echo, echo”.
The album’s title is drawn from “Lyfe” as Cyndi informs us that “Lyfe – it can shake you, it can make you, it can bring ya to the brink”. This is another multi-layered orgy of various sounds at every new corner. Funky at one moment, chilled and relaxed at the next and hard edged around another. The song certainly will shake you!
6. Same Ol’ (Fuckin’) Story
Cyndi’s global lead single to herald in this album was launched in May 2008. “Same Ol’ (Fuckin’) Story” is the Queer anthem to end all Queer anthems. This is where a zenith is reached as Cyndi returns to the floor with co-writer and producer Richard Morel that returned her to the top of the US dance chart for the first time since “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun“, twenty five years earlier! The Pride festivals LOVED this tune as Cyndi clearly relishes where this song is going and knew exactly the sound needed to put her centre of that rainbow stage. Holy f**k!
7. Raging Storm
Morel returns to keep ya on ya feet with another dance spectacular, “Raging Storm”, which often feels like an early 90’s dance hit in its sound. That’s what makes this number so engaging. Madonna sang of knowing the secrets of success and fame in “Let It Will Be”, Cyndi counteracts that with “you clouden your mind with celebrity”. This is her anti-fame anthem as she quotes about being on MTV one moment and then not. This lady does not care. And why should she?!
8. Lay Me Down
Cyndi teamed up with Andreas Kleerup, who had just had a big global hit with Robyn (“With Every Heartbeat”) for “Lay Me Down”, another infectious song that pumps and grows with each verse to hammer its message of passion and uneasy love home.
9. Give It Up
We return to 90’s dance for this most delicious track on this album yet, the majesty of “Give It Up”. Here Cyndi demonstrates her outright understanding of writing an unashamed floor filler making you wanna fling all arms up in the air and shake everything to the groove and snare of this pop-dance trap you just won’t wanna be set free from. Outrageous! Yeah.
10. Set Your Heart
“Set Your Heart” was the teaser released in Japan to launch the return of Cyndi Lauper with new music as we step back to the 1980’s with more than a feel and sound of Stock Aitken Waterman to it. Once again, this is another superb slice of glory and lustful pleasure, courtesy of Richard Morel and one wonders what a whole album from he and she would have sounded like… This, I guess! Go Cyndi, set your heart…freeeeeeee!
11. Grab A Hold
80’s synths bury deeper with the next track, as Cyndi teams up with Canadian duo Dragonette. The good vibes and a happy heart continue with this song that also boasts of a rousing chorus as so many of the tracks on this album so, even if the tone of the song questions “if you want to grab a hold…”. The answer is “let it go”. You choose…
12. Rain On Me
Cyndi ends the album by staying in the 80’s as she offers a loose follow up to her classic “Time After Time” or perhaps “True Colors”. A down-tempo almost balladesque that brings ya off the floor to cool off and cool down. Cyndi’s vocals from her two big number one’s are replicated here with sublimity as she reveals her voice is still on par with itself, a quarter of a century on.
“Bring Ya To The Brink” came as a special edition with two bonus tracks, another Richard Morel highlight, “Got Candy”, and another down-tempo, sad number, “Can’t Breathe”, from the pen of Alexander Kronlund (Britney Spears).
The album was released at the end of May 2008 and proved a massive hit in Japan (unsurprisingly). It was a milder hit elsewhere, reaching No.41 on home soil, about average for a Cyndi Lauper album, although on the new fangled medium of digital music, the album did peak top ten on the US digital album chart (if that really means anything?!). Strangely, there was virtually no interest in the UK or European market for this out-of-character Cyndi spectacular, despite promotion and live performances over a period of twelve months to the cause. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter. “Bring Ya To The Brink” is still a masterpiece and a glorious return with edge and attitude by Ms. Lauper, long overdue and after some years of ballads and dreary middle of the road numbers, she brings spunk and vitality to the table, and to the floor. Hoorah!
For all we have on Cyndi Lauper, album reviews and more, CLICK HERE