From The YouTube Music Archives X: Selected Songs of Cindy Lauper

I got all warm and fuzzy a couple of weeks ago while I was watching that Dylan interview and heard him mention a Cindy Lauper video as one of his favorites. Who woulda thunk it? I’ve always loved the Unusual Girl, certainly much more than the Material Girl. But which video was Bob referring to? They were all so good, starting with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, in which Cindy strong arms her dad, chats on the phone with her girl friends, and takes us all on a kind of music video acid trip, all the while sporting the worst haircut I’ve ever seen. Then there was Time After Time, which has unfortunately been scrubbed by Viacom, so the version here is a cover by Miles Davis at the 1985 Montreaux Jazz Festival. Which is great, even if it isn’t Cindy. Then there was Money Changes Everything (later remade in an acoustic version shown here), and True Colors, recorded live here for a television audience.

You with the sad eyes / don’t be discouraged / oh I realize / it’s hard to take courage / in a world full of people / you can lose sight of it all / and the darkness inside you / can make you fell so small / But I see your true colors / shining through / I see your true colors / and that’s why I love you / so don’t be afraid to let them show / your true colors / true colors are beautiful / like a rainbow

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I’ve managed to find the original music video for True Colors, in which Cindy starts the whole thing off by hitting a drum with her hand. Her back is to the camera, her hair is an even bigger mess than it was in GJWHF, she all too obviously isn’t playing the drum that introduces the music, and she still looks fantastic. She gives up the drum for a black narcissus (or some kind of black flower), which she then tosses out of the frame so that it lands on a beach where some children happen to be building a sandcastle. A young girl, perhaps Cindy as a child, picks up the flower, and just then the camera pans back to reveal that she is now walking in the corridors of the sandcastle she just built. She finds her way out and then sees a boat where two middle aged women are drinking tea (shades of Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies, which doesn’t come until ten years later), and as the women reach into sand we the viewers see that the sand has turned into water. Then we see a grown-up Cindy walking in the castle, wearing what might be a belly dancer’s costume and a chandelier on her head. As she sing ‘if this world makes you crazy / and you’ve taken all you can bear / you call me up / because you know I’ll be there”, she is holding a conch shell, as if you could magically reach her on some kind of conch phone. Then she puts the conch on a sand shelf, and the conch looks like… well, it looks like a Georgia O’Keefe painting or something. If you needed any proof of this, the next sequence has Cindy lying down on a bed (gorgeous as ever; I don’t care what her hair looks like), and then that low-rent Fabio guy from the Time After Time video (are they done yet? surely by now that whole deal has sadly run its course), and then they make out (ugh!), and then we see Cindy walking on the beach with 20 pounds of headlines stapled to her waist. Finally she lies down, naked (her back, anyway), and lets her head fall down onto a pool of water. Which is actually a mirror covered with sand. And then we are back to watching Cindy in a black dress (Cindy in the realm of the dead?) and banging the drum, just as the video began. The whole thing is perhaps too obviously influenced by Jean Cocteau’s Orphée, but I still love it. As I love you, Cindy.

Show me a smile then / don’t be unhappy, can’t remember / when I last saw you laughing / if this world makes you crazy / and you’ve taken all you can bear / you call me up / because you know I’ll be there


  1. Rufus McCain says

    I like how this is becoming the retro feature on Korrektiv. The MTV logo and all.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    Yeah. Dylan mentioned her, so I thought it’d be okay here. Lutoslawski was a bit of a stretch, I admit.

  3. Rufus McCain Himself says

    Lutoslawski was cool; it briefly pulled us out of the gutter. You fell behind on the saints and Soren says. I was worried about you to tell the truth. Everything OK?

  4. Quin Finnegan says

    Yeah, just overworked right now. Which for me just means that I’m actually working.

  5. Quin Finnegan says

    I think the Miles Davis version is from Montreal, not Montreaux. And here’s a version of Michael Jackson’s Human Nature for fans of the man with the horn.

  6. Actually working is cruel and usual punishment.

  7. Henri Young says

    The real connection to Dylan is Miles Davis. Both are emaciated enigmas. Often stoned.

  8. Henri Young says

    And incomprehensible as well as possibly deseased.

  9. Sigh 🙁

  10. Quin Finnegan says

    Yikes! So those are her True Colors? Sounds pretty awful, and pretty awfully written. I couldn’t even finish reading it. And what kind of blogger includes her own name in the title of a post? I’m still confused.

    Cindy, if you’re reading this, you either you need to start dating me now so that I can double as your catechist, or I’m through spending my Saturday nights looking up your old performances on YouTube.

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