Archive for July 24, 2009
Toronto singer, songwriter and actor, James Collins, felt slighted. And in the fashion of country artist Dave Carroll (whose United Breaks Guitars has been a viral sensation), Collins responded by writing and recording a song.
Collins’ slight might not have had the broad appeal of an airline throwing around multi-thousand-dollar instruments on the tarmac, but it was significant to him nonetheless. In short, he went on one of Rosie O’Donnell’s “r Family” cruises, where one of the guest performers was none other than the inimitable Cyndi Lauper. As expected, there was a fair amount of interest from guests in being photographed with or getting autographs from Lauper, but as the story goes, when Collins asked to be photographed with her, she apparently said “no,” and walked away.
I wasn’t there and can’t vouch for the veracity of the story, but that James Collins was motivated to pen a song about the experience lends it some credibility, and certainly expresses how the simple snubbing made an impression. Why Lauper would be prompted to rebuff an adoring fan (especially in the captive surroundings of a cruise ship) is beyond me. But given the brouhaha that developed last year when Lauper was to appear on CBS Television’s Early Show, one wonders if Ms. Lauper isn’t getting a little full of her diva self as she gets older. Or, perhaps she was just having two notable and publicly documented bad days. Regardless, it’s probably not the sort of publicity one might ideally want to get for a recording artist whose peak of popularity appears to be behind her.
Don’t get me wrong—I have been a Cyndi Lauper fan since the 1980s, and I think her newest work is among her best. But we all like to believe that our idols are kind, and generally respectful of their fans; that being held to a higher standard, they respond accordingly. Alas, it would seem that Lauper is just like the rest of us, and not only has her bitchy side, but isn’t afraid to let it show. Perhaps she’s entitled.
In any event, I find Collins’ song, Cyndi Lauper Said No, to have a bit of a novelty element to it, not at all unlike Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars. “I have a grievance, and let me tell you about it.” It’s probably not the stuff from which ASCAP songwriter awards are made. But that being said, Collins did a good job with the track, and the dance remixes that are available are ready-made for a number of audiences, many of which will appreciate the groovy dance beat as well as the sardonic lyric. Collins’ delivery is certainly capable, but stylistically sort of underscores the derisiveness of the words.
Despite what might seem like my doubts about this song, truth be told, I like it, and I both respect and admire Collins for taking his case to the public, and translating his slight into unique way to get the last word.
Well, we assume it’s the last word; no news from Lauper’s camp as to whether she’s heard the song, what she thinks of it, or whether she’s bothered to apologize to Collins. Stay tuned.