Essential New Music: Cyndi Lauper’s “Detour”

Though her career went supernova via the weird, wild, gloriously iconoclastic molecular restructuring of pop/rock on 1983’s landmark She’s So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper has mostly played the chameleon in recent years. The Goonies chanteuse offered pristinely produced renditions of jazz standards on 2003’s At Last; 2008’s Bring Ya To The Brink took a deep digi-dive into EDM, earning her a best electronic/dance album Grammy-nomination alongside Daft Punk and Moby; and 2009’s Memphis Blues saw her belting out, well, you know.

Now comes Detour, a country-classics record featuring guest spots from heavyweights Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson. Like the aforementioned efforts, the record is immaculately executed, if—aside from a few falsetto hiccup accents on “Funnel Of Love” and the playful banter with Vince Gill on “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”—a bit too faithful to the source material. Detour is a great showcase for Lauper’s vocal range and prowess, but the freak factor is dishearteningly low.

—Shawn Macomber