On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Cyndi Lauper – True Colors (1986)
” True Colors” is a song written by American songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was both the title track and the first single released from American singer Cyndi Lauper’s second album. It was the only original song on the album that Lauper did not help to write.
We’re continuing in the US, dear reader, and find ourselves in Brooklyn, New York. By modern standards, Cyndi Lauper’s music career took off late with her debut album coming in 1983 when she was 30. Her first record, She’s So Unusual, was a big success for Lauper but now it’s 1986 we are more concerned with her next album – True Colors. 1001 Songs have gone with the title track for our listening pleasure.
True Colors is all about seeing deep within a person and finding the core of who they truly are. Lauper sings to an individual who is really struggling with the world. They are unhappy and seem completely overwhelmed by everything around them. The narrator offers many reassuring words and lets them know they are always there for them when needed. They tell this person they love them and encourage them to show their “true colours” to the world for they are too “beautiful” to keep hidden.
Cyndi Lauper enjoyed a string of big hits in the 1980s and True Colors is up there as one of her best. It has a universal message that you could apply to any relationship and that is one of the reasons it has endured. It would top the charts in the US and be the last time Lauper took a song that high in her homeland. True Colors would later become an anthem for the LGBTQ community with Lauper co-founding the True Colors Fund in support of homeless LGBTQ youths in America. A noble cause indeed.
Favourite songs so far: