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Sorry, 'Girls': 30 years on, 'Time After Time' is Cyndi Lauper's best song

Cyndi Lauper's blockbuster album "She's So Unusual" came out 30 years ago last fall, and an entire generation has grown up since its New Wave melodies rang through the halls of every high school in America.The anniversary was marked this month with the release of "She's So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration," which includes demos and remixes that its original Valley Girl fans never had the ch
Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper Jordan Strauss / AP

Cyndi Lauper's blockbuster album "She's So Unusual" came out 30 years ago last fall, and an entire generation has grown up since its New Wave melodies rang through the halls of every high school in America.

The anniversary was marked this month with the release of "She's So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration," which includes demos and remixes that its original Valley Girl fans never had the chance to hear before.

For some 1980s acts — ahem, Dexy's Midnight Runners — one song on any particular album soared far above the rest. But Lauper's "She's So Unusual" joined the ranks of albums such as "Purple Rain," "Thriller" and "Like a Virgin," in that it had as many hits as "The Love Boat" had piña coladas. Lauper became the first female singer to land four top-five singles from an album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

But which song is the best, with three decades of hindsight? Can a favorite even be chosen?

"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is the album's most popular song however you slice it. It reached No. 2 on the Hot 100, was ranked No. 22 on Rolling Stone's Greatest Pop Song list, and landed two Grammy nominations. More than that, it became a poppy, lively feminist anthem, the "I Am Woman" for Gen Xers. It lives on today, with the official video racking up more than 57 million YouTube views.

But there's a strong case to be made for the quieter, heartbreaking "Time After Time" as the album's best song. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a reason. 

Lauper's voice soars with energy, then drops to a near-whisper as she delivers an eternal tale of days past and romances lost. The time metaphor describes love gone wrong with such lyrics as, "you say, go slow, I fall behind, the second hand unwinds." And the chorus unleashes the eternal promise, that "if you're lost, you can look, and you will find me." 

The "Girls" may have had fun, and that hit will surely be the song for which the singer is most remembered. But at the end of the day, we're calling "Time After Time" Lauper's greatest tune, the hit that will stand the test of — well, you know.

Maybe neither of those songs struck a chord with you. Other hits off the album included the daring and controversial "She Bop," the dreamy "All Through the Night," and "Money Changes Everything."

So tell us — which of Lauper's songs held up the best for you? Vote in our survey and let us know.


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