Cyndi, velour, and Captain Lou

Posted: August 18, 2013 by The Social Retard in Music
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After Georgette’s post about Cyndi Lauper, I felt I wanted to contribute a little bit to She’s So Unusual. I was also raised on MTV and look where that got me. I was four when Cyndi Lauper started tearing up the charts. I remember seeing the video for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” in the finished basement of our house in Westchester. That place was the shit. We played Atari down there, listened to records, and watched TV while sitting on my mom’s maroon velour and chrome-lined couch. I had to ask my mom what the couch was made of. When I told her why, she said “I thought you were just down there playing with He-Man figures”. Yes, mom, I was able, even then, to multitask in time wasting. The video being legendary, everyone knows what was in it. My impression at that age was, “Captain Lou Albano has a daughter”?

I was a huge wrestling fan as a young kid. Hard to believe, but I actually used to say my prayers and eat my vitamins because Hulk Hogan told me so. At the first Wrestlemania, Hogan was accompanied to the ring by Lou and “daughter” Lauper. If the Hulkster vouched for her, she was okay in my book. She was, well, unusual. She didn’t look like I thought women were supposed to look. I thought women were supposed to look like Madonna, bleach blonde and slutty (still kinda do). To be fair, I had no idea about the slutty bit at that time. It was the 80’s, man, nothing is what it was supposed to be. Cyndi had bright red hair and a feather ear ring like Mr. T, who was also there with Hogan. Surely, he of the twenty four inch pythons and B.A. Baracus would not steer me wrong. When “Time After Time” came out, I knew they hadn’t.

Even then, I remember thinking how sad this song was. Weirdly that now when I think of that video and wonder what the big deal is. Not about the song, no, the song is amazing. I just don’t get why Cyndi and that guy are breaking up or what their irreconcilable difference might be. I think she just hated in living in that shitty little trailer and wanted that doofus with the hat to get a real job. He was so douchey looking. But that wasn’t what the song was about, I hope. “Time After Time” has been one of my favorite songs for thirty years, maybe the longest tenured such piece of pop culture. It’s right up there with Batman. High regard but it is deserving.

After those first two singles, I admit that I didn’t hear anything from Cyndi until The Goonies. “The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough”? No shit, they are, and that song was ridiculously good. At that point, she crossed over into a different realm of my childhood geekdom. Everywhere I looked now, there she was: MTV, WWF, MF’n Corey Feldman movies. But again, for some reason, she fell out of favor with me again until probably 1997.

My friend Steve and I used to go to the Downers Grove Public Library and snag a mess of CDs to listen to. In this area, the DG and Oak Lawn libraries have the best stuff. I don’t know why. Oak Lawn sucks balls. On one occasion, I grabbed She’s So Unusual (probably for comic value, outside of “Time After Time”). We listened to it and immediately “Money Changes Everything” changed, not everything but my stigma of the rest of the album. This song was fan-fucking-tastic. I skipped “Girls” to see if this was an anomaly, but no. Her Prince cover was even better than Prince’s original (I know G won’t agree).

After “Time After Time” after time after…huh? Track five is “She Bop”, more like “She Blip” as I still think of that song as the album’s one weak link despite its trying to be menacing synth riff. Following that was the unimpeachable “All Through the Night”. With five of the first six songs as strong as any first half of any album, it almost doesn’t matter what’s on side two. As it is, I usually skip right to the end with “Yeah Yeah”.

I don’t care if people think I’m weird for being a guy that loves this album. When I showed up to work one day with the blonde vulture was dropping me off in ’99, I remember listening to radio and we always blasted the thing to uncomfortable decibel level. As we pulled up to the door, “Girls” was on the radio and it was pouring out of the windows. I walk in and there are snide comments from the underlings and I just told them to shut the fuck up. I didn’t care what they thought. The album is great. I was lucky to find a copy of it on vinyl at Music Masters in Downers Grove a few years ago for $4. It still plays great. The album is totally of one particular era but there is something ultimately timeless about the way the songs hit you, or me at least. Sometimes, boys want to have fun too.

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Comments
  1. Ha ha, excellent. I actually do agree that Cyndi’s version of “When You Were Mine” is better than Prince’s. We do disagree on the weakest link, though. It’s funny that my favorite and yours are the linear opposite. Captain Lou was great, RIP. I should have thrown him into the post, but I wasn’t as huge into wrestling as my mom was. She made my brother and I watch it every week, and I did enjoy it, but it was more “Macho Man” Randy Savage and “Jake the Snake” Roberts, not to mention “The Junkyard Dog”. I liked Hulk okay, but she overdid it with him so I tired of him quickly. My post and the record itself was more about the joy of the music, so I’m glad as a wrestling fan that you added your thoughts and brought Captain Lou into it, not to mention the awesomeness that was “The Goonies.”

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