A Night To Remember

Cyndi Lauper

Epic, 1989


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


While Cyndi Lauper’s second album True Colors had failed to reach the dizzying heights of her debut LP She’s So Unusual, it had earned her two hit singles and the following tour had also boosted sales figures into a more respectable bracket from her label’s point of view. When the time came for Lauper to begin work on her third LP, however, said label opened up the long-running argument with the singer as to who was best able to write songs that showed her off the best to the ever fickle record-buying public. 

Following the success of “True Colors” on the singles chart, Epic paired Lauper with that song’s creators, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, who by now had a decent strike-rate on the singles charts (most notably for Cyndi’s main adversary Madonna, for whom the pair wrote “Like A Virgin”). It was thought that by working so closely with the pair, Lauper wouldn’t move too far away from the hit-making sounds of the day. Whatever the plan was, though, something backfired because my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 A Night To Remember died a pretty fast death, posting very disappointing sales figures and only sporting one truly great song. 

Lauper’s voice was a little deeper and more alluring here than it was one her previous efforts. She used this to great effect for that hit song, the sex-charged “I Drove All Night,” which remains one of her finest moments on record to date. Dance cuts like “Primitive” (musically, the backing track is a direct lift from “Like A Virgin”) and “Like A Cat” are okay songs, but neither one is anything but just average at best. “Unconditional Love” is the one attempt at a serious love song/ballad for the record and again, it isn’t the worst song that Lauper has recorded, but it is a long way from the greats like “Time After Time” and “True Colors.” 

“My First Night Without You” is more up-tempo and better for it, as is the decent groove of the title track. “Heading West,” “Insecurious” and “I Don’t Want To Be Your Friend” should have all been shelved and replaced with more assured, powerful songs. With Lauper having success covering Prince and Marvin Gaye on her first two albums, I can’t think why someone didn’t suggest throwing a couple of covers into the mix here, as it surely would have lightened the dark and heavy-hearted mood that Lauper was intent on creating here. This is, of course, in direct contrast to the colorful and exciting photo that was used for the album’s cover. 

Much has been made of the dreaded “third album,” and if ever there was a textbook example of how not to go about it, A Night To Remember (or as Cyndi refers to it these days, A Night To Forget) would be the one.

Rating: C-

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