Cyndi Lauper 

Indispensables

Critics initially predicted that Cyndi Lauper's staying power would surpass Madonna's. Uh, no. But that's not to say Lauper didn't make her own mark on music -- and particularly video -- history. From her orange-haired, warbly-voiced years (circa her iconic 1983 debut She's So Unusual) to the classically styled chanteuse of this year's covers album At Last, ol' Cyndi has stood the test of time.

So her new fifteen-track greatest hits package begins with the obvious megahits: "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "She Bop," "True Colors," and "Time After Time." But her relatively ignored later work, from the impassioned "I Drove All Night" to the Diane Warren-penned break-up ballad "I Don't Want to Be Your Friend," also stands up well, while Lauper showcases her stylistic versatility and astute philosophical awareness on the despondent "The World Is Stone." At a time when the term "pop" implies dull, soulless dance music, this excellent chronicle is striking enough to live up to its title.

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