Merry Christmas Review

It just may be time to banish that old Bing Crosby album to the bottom of the CD heap. There’s a whole new crop of holiday titles this year, with material from veteran and contemporary artists in every musical genre.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Cyndi Lauper, and it may be some time until we do so again: The charmingly kooky and inventive singer delivers her seventh and final album for Epic Records, the aptly titled “Merry Christmas . . . Have A Nice Life.” The collection of mainly original tunes is a real winner, especially album opener “Home On Christmas Day,” co-written with “Time After Time” collaborator Rob Hyman. Lauper explores atypical holiday themes on such tracks as “Christmas Conga” and her loungy/ska rendition of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” There are also two tracks from previous albums, “Feels Like Christmas,” a Cajun-spiced tune from “Hat Full Of Stars,” and “Early Christmas Morning” from “Sisters Of Avalon.”

The album closes with a stark “Silent Night” in honor of the late Peter Wood, a keyboardist who toured and recorded with Lauper.


Cyndi Lauper Xmas Album

Plenty of albums claim to offer a diverse cross-section of genres. Cyndi Lauper’s holiday album, however, really does embrace the musical spectrum, incorporating elements of pop, zydeco, even a splash of Caribbean, and somehow still manages to be a fairly charming and cohesive album.

One thing is clear: When Lauper says Have a Nice Life, she means it—despite the sugary sweet, marzipan coating, this is a heartfelt, sincere project. Next to the tender songs (“Home on Christmas Day” and the lullaby “New Year’s Baby”), there’s substantial evidence that this girl still wants to have fun, especially toward the end of the year.

After all, who else would do the “Christmas Conga” while “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree?” Highlight pick: “Minnie and Santa,” a slightly racy tale of a woman’s everlasting belief in Saint Nick.


Cyndi Lauper feeling like December Child

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Although Cyndi Lauper officially began to work on her new holiday disc over the last year, it’s actually been a lifetime in the making. “Merry Christmas, Have a Nice Life” is filled with glimpses of Lauper’s life, including her warmth, her passion, and of course, her sense of humor.

Also, Lauper’s baby son, who’s 1 year old, made his singing debut on the album.

“He gurgles,” says Lauper. “And there’s children on it, you know, there’s other children singing, but he gurgled in key, so I thought this was good.

“My husband said if he has my temperament and his voice, we’re in trouble. But if he has my husband’s temperament and my voice, OK.”

On CNN’s Showbiz Today, Lauper performed “December Child,” a song that has special meaning to her.

“My partner and I, we were talking about Christmas. And it’s a holiday of the heart, and you know, like we listened to ‘Silent Night’ and ‘In the Bleak Midwinter,’ and that to me was like a lullaby,” says Lauper. “And after all, this holiday’s about a baby. So I wanted to put a human face on this, and I said, ‘Well, what would you say if you were singing to your baby, telling your baby about Christmas? What would you say?’ And so I came up with this song.”