In all honesty, I truly believe that this was one of the best recordings of the 1990's. So many people always have, and sadly always will, think of Cyndi Lauper as the goofy New Wave chick with the Day-Glo hair and the wacky clothes, and really, only two or three of her numerous smash hits from the 80's are even remembered.
I'm going to be shot for this one, and I really don't care; this album, together with "Hat Full of Stars," makes Cyndi's 1980's work look like so much forgettable, trite pop (except "Time After Time," "True Colors," and "Money Changes Everything," which are all immortal). Cyndi plays a number of different instruments on this one, including guitar, recorder, dulcimer, zither, and omnichord. Her voice sounds remarkable, and the arrangements are fresh and invigorating, and utterly original.
The fact that "Sisters of Avalon" was not one of the biggest hits of the last decade is an absolute crime against humanity. The music is all over the place, she borrows from so many different styles. "The Ballad of Cleo and Joe" is a dance-club-ready song with a Middle-Eastern flavor. "Love to Hate" qualifies as grunge. "Hot Gets a Little Cold" and "Fearless" are beautiful folkish songs. "Fall Into Your Dreams" is a really cool slow burn. "Say a Prayer" is what would happen if jazz and rap mated. "Searching" and "Mother" are New Age and yet somehow not. The title cut and "You Don't Know" are anthemic and powerful songs with amazing hooks that should have been chart-toppers.
I feel Cyndi's plunge into obscurity in the '90's can be attributed to a few things; 1) her refusal to stick with the pop formula that made her rich and instead make out-there records like this, for which I truly respect her; 2) she's a female singer who turned the big five-oh in June of 2003. Let's face it, Johnny Cash can have a hit record at 74, but Cyndi Lauper can't have one at 50...it's a double-standard and it bites; 3) the image she had in the '80's, which seems to have permanently and unfortunately labeled her a relic.
Say you were a fan growing up back in the day. Or even if you hated her back in the day. Either way, go ahead and buy this record. You'd never believe this is the same woman that sang that pre-teen slumber party anthem "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."