Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Cyndi Lauper, the fearless pop star

By ki0nk Jun10,2024

This documentary on the singer of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” stays true to the genre clichés while showcasing the musician as well as an activist who is devoted to the cause of minority rights.

The 1980s either belonged to Cyndi Lauper or they didn’t. “True Colors,” “Time After Time,” “She Bop”… and the charming pop song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” which is a hymn to female freedom, above all. The New Yorker knew how to make a name for herself in the decade that saw the rise of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince.

Recognized for her songs, appreciated for her voice that could fit any genre, and actively involved in the struggle for minorities, 70-year-old Cyndi Lauper was a trailblazer in every sense. An emblem of feminism, driven by the will to defy expectations and escape the confines that society had placed her in. At least that’s Cyndi Lauper’s take on the subject in Let the Canary Sing, an Alison Ellwood documentary that has been streaming on Paramount Plus since June 5.

Many times, Cyndi Lauper was invited to take part in a documentary that traced her life and career back. Up until this point: “I knew I could trust Alison Ellwood to tell my story honestly, which is very important to me,” she stated in a May public statement.

a designated route

It is evident that Alison Ellwood does not intend to confound her audience if we choose not to evaluate her candor. The life of Cyndi Lauper is presented here in a linear and chronological fashion, overlaying historical photos with contemporary reflections, featuring the artist and witnesses of her career. There are no significant digressions and intricate narrative weaving.

Childhood is the first stage of this designated trail. The documentary, which is presented by the artist’s brother and sister, highlights the lack of a positive father figure and, on the other hand, the growing significance of the maternal female figure. As a child growing up in multicultural Queens, the Italian immigrant’s daughter was already making her differences known. “What a sight!” she exclaims to a priest at her Catholic school who is dressed in uniform. Vibrant hair, quirky attire, “Cyndi” rather than “Cindy”…

She had already developed a talent for what was considered irreverence at the time. She would later remark, “I had no idea what was acceptable or not.” It became evident over time that she would become a vocalist. His incredible stage presence was already evident in his early groups, Flyers and Blue Angel.

A feminine look

But the teenage singer wanted to be on her own two feet very quickly. She remembers that there is already one, so she won’t be the next Barbra Streisand or Dolly Parton; instead, she will be the first Cyndi Lauper.

Even the most indifferent viewers get the chance to discover the creative process behind the star’s best-selling songs through lighthearted remarks. Robert Hazard wrote the song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” but Cyndi thinks it’s too misogynistic and will only cover it if she can change a few lines.

His weapon is writing. His assertion is supported by history, as the first single off the album She’s So Unusual, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” which was released on September 6, 1983, achieved critical and popular acclaim and peaked at number two on the American Billboard Hot 100.

The LGBT population

Rob Hyman, writer and composer; Janet Perr, artistic director; David Wolff, manager and former partner; Katie Agresta, vocal teacher;… Everyone talks and expresses how much they admire the musician, highlighting his wish to avoid being labeled as a “vocal” or even “pop” singer. However, Allison Ellwood does not escape the questioning and loss in success that marked the 1990s (though, happily, all turned out well, she found success on Broadway). Cyndi Lauper will venture into uncharted territory.

In the documentary, two major performers are featured: Broadway star Billy Porter and Boy George, the former frontman of the group Culture Club, who both publicly identify as gay and who model Cyndi Lauper. The way Let the Canary Sing illustrates the necessity of bringing attention to taboo subjects at the time is where the novel develops depth. The vocalists invoke “True Colors,” which was the name of his second album released in 1986 and has since grown to become a gay community hymn.

A little too perceptive

Pop, rock, vocals, blues… Cyndi Lauper was adept at blending many styles and defying expectations while resisting the allure of fame. We could, however, be disappointed by a documentary that is perhaps overly star-studded and a touch too didactic. However, it does have the advantage of spotlighting an iconic and feminist singer from a bygone era who is set to embark on a farewell tour in October of next year.

By ki0nk

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