The radio announcer said, and I’m not making this up, “And here’s a classic by Cyndi Lauper.”
She then proceeded to play “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
Now I will admit without shame that I owned that album back in nineteen-eighty-whatever and I watched the video a dozen times. As a “child of the 1980s,” I appreciate her music. But…classic?
My initial reaction was to talk back to the radio: “You’ve mistaken ‘old’ for ‘classic’ again.”
But then I wondered what makes something a classic as opposed to just old, and I decided it’s an element of seriousness or “speaking to the human condition” which gives something a classic feel. It needs to reflect ourselves at us and leave us a little changed. A work can have a lot of fun but still be a classic and also be serious, such as Pride And Prejudice. But I don’t think “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” reaches quite that level of perception.
And that’s why “Let It Be” is a classic Beatles tune, or “Yesterday,” whereas “She Loves You” is just fun.
I decided (because I was driving and there’s not much to do while driving in Angelborough; it’s not a death match like driving the Belt Parkway in the 1990s) that if any Cyndi Lauper song was a classic, it was “True Colors,” which has elements of the serious and which many people listen to (or play for others) because it leaves them feeling empowered and understood.
What do you think? Classic? Or just a cool song we’ve listened to for 25 years?