She's So Unusual
My parents, who listened to music day in and day out when I was growing up, bought me my first record player for my 7th birthday. And it wasn't a Fisher-Price bullshit record player. No, this was an adult record player, all black and silver with a plastic cover on it that I almost never put down. Obviously, such a present makes an impact, as I can remember to this day where I was sitting when I peeled the paper off it and started squealing and giggling with delight. (On the fireplace.)
I got two records that day--Michael Jackson's Thriller and Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual. I thought both Michael and Cyndi were the best things ever, but at seven I knew I had a better shot at being someone like Cyndi Lauper. So I memorized the lyrics to every song on both sides of the record and sang them constantly, which must have been disconcerting for the adults in my life, considering the racy nature of some of the songs. (Believe me, I had no clue.)
To this day, I still have an affection for Lauper's chirpy, downright yelpy voice and giddy devil-may-care attitude she had in the 80's. She's surely the reason that I have an interest in distinctive-sounding singers to this day. I kind of got beyond really listening to her much, though. After She's So Unusual, her music got boring and tedious. And I discovered that I liked the original version of "When U Were Mine" better than the cover that Lauper does that I loved so much as a child. But to this day, I get a big grin on my face when I hear the opening guitar riff of the best song on the album, "She Bop", especially since I now know exactly what that song is about.
I was thinking about that record player and my first records today when I was reading a magazine article about record collectors, an obsession I could see myself falling into if it weren't for my greater love of having some money in my pocket. I own a total of one vinyl record now, having ditched the rest when my dachsund tore the crap out of my record player. (Yes, the very same one.) While I'm more than content with digital media now, particularly loving MP3's, since they are easy to shuffle around and DJ with, it did give me pause to remember the pleasure of cracking open the cardboard sleeve of the a vinyl record just so that the LP rolled out into your hand cupped just so that your fingers wouldn't touch the surface and the welcoming crack of noise when the needle lay into the initial groove, right before the song began to play.