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Madonna "Remixed and Revisited" and Cyndi Lauper "At Last"

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Cyndi Lauper - At Last

Cyndi Lauper - At Last

Sony Records
Twenty years later, we find Madonna and Cyndi Lauper once again in times of artistic expansion, as both branch out their sound from what we've come to expect. Lauper's At Last finds her back with Sony and allows her to visit some of the classic songs of the past five decades, making a strong case for her as an interpretive singer equally at ease with modern pop and with standards.

This isn't a surprise, since her first album featured an all-too-brief cover of the twenties nugget "He's so Unusual," and Cyndi's voice, then as now, specializes in storytelling. If I have any complaints about At Last, it's that the arrangements sometimes just aren't strong enough for Cyndi's supple voice. "At Last," "Until You Come Back To Me," and a slightly-salsified "Stay" are delights, while her versions of "Walk on By" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" are emotional powerhouses. Listen to Cyndi's subtle and gorgeous "Unchained Melody" and marvel at how strong and expressive her voice has become.

Madonna - Remixed and Revisited

Madonna - Remixed and Revisited

Warner Brothers
Madonna's Remixed & Revisited feels like a toe being dipped into a bathtub to ascertain temperature. There's a couple of reinterpretations of "Hollywood" (the live one with Christina, Britney, and Missy and the non-Gapped "Into The Hollywood Groove, also with Missy), an interesting Bedtime Stories outtake done with Dallas Austin called "Your Honesty," an abysmal Mount Sims mix of "Nobody Knows Me," a song I have no love for to begin with, and rock revisions of "American Life," "Love Profusion," and "Nothing Fails."

The Headcleanr (formerly of Hi-NRG sluts The Waterlillies) mixes of "American Life" and "Love Profusion" are interesting but don't work for me, while Jason Nevins' mix of "Nothing Fails" is a mutant disco/rock/gospel hybrid that sounds as fresh and relevatroy musically as the initial Madonna/Mirwais collaboration on "Music" years ago. If this EP is an example of Madonna looking for so new genres to crosspolinate her sound with, I'm hoping that the Nevins Mix serves as inspiration for whatever she has next on docket.

Twenty years later, and Madonna and Cyndi Lauper are still vital parts of modern music. I wouldn't have it any other day.

Cyndi Lauper - At Last: 4.5/5
Madonna - Remixed & Revisited: 2.5/5

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