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Detour *
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  • A spiritual sequel of sorts to Memphis Blues, Detour finds Cyndi Lauper swapping out blues for country & western. The "western" part of the equation is crucial to Detour, a record equally enamored of cowboy camp as it is of Music City craft and corn. Such a wide purview is testament to Lauper's taste-savvy show biz sensibilities. The slow-burning-torch set pieces of "End of the World" and "I Fall to Pieces" have their charms -- they offer ample evidence of Lauper's nuance and control, elements that are often underrated -- but when paired with the ferocious, mincing wink of "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly," "Cowboy Sweetheart," and "Detour," the spell diminishes. Despite this, the album has its charms. Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" -- a fine, faithful rendition that closes out the record on a sweet note -- and the crisp, digital, modern sheen of the opener "Funnel of Love," don't quite suit the tone of the record, but they're endearing on their own. Such sudden shifts in tone might work better on-stage than they do on record, and with its cavalcade of guest stars, Detour often does play a bit like a stage revue, for better or worse. After all, much of Lauper's charm lies in her innate theatricality, and when she's paired with someone who shares her humor -- Emmylou Harris on "Detour" and, especially, Vince Gill on "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" -- there's a crackling vitality that nevertheless winds up diluting the diva showstoppers, something that could possibly be finessed on-stage but sounds like sharp turns on record. Nevertheless, on a track-by-track level, Detour has few stumbles, and if it's taken as a collection of performances and not a coherent record, it's fun. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Lauper succeeds with two Patsy Cline numbers without mimicking that legend's clarion precision, and she all but swipes 'Funnel of Love' away from Wanda Jackson."
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