Single Review: Cyndi Lauper “I Drove All Night”

I Drove All Night
Album: A Night To Remember
Year: 1989

For Cyndi Lauper, 1989 meant an career reinvention. Her film “Vibes” flopped as well as the accompanying song (“There’s A Hole In My Heart (All The Way To China))” She opted to remain on the adult contemporary route, which many female singers (Kim Wilde, Belinda Carlisle, Madonna) were taking at the time. However, it meant taking away her quirkiness and making her boring.

On cyndilauper.com, “I Drove All Night” was originally for Roy Orbison, but he didn’t want to do it. Lauper picked it up because she liked that a woman was in control. It’s a good point. Usually in the “I want you so bad” songs, it’s the men who are the assertive ones. In the single, Lauper drives through the night to see her lover and make love to him.
Opening with some drums, Lauper explains in an apologetic way why she’s at her lover’s home(“I had to escape/the city was sticky and cruel/maybe I should have called you first/but I had to get to you”) The pre-chorus builds to a long, strong belting from Lauper (“Your arms open wide/This fever for you is just burning me up inside”) Lauper isn’t a great singer. Her voice has an unusual timbre to it, which makes her range limited. However, it gives her voice a lot of character, too. She reaches those notes without any trouble and is able to hold them without sounding monotonous.

She asks in the chorus, “I drove all night/is that all right/I drove all night/Crept in your room/Woke you from your sleep/To make love to you.” She wants to be tender but seems to be disinterested instead.

She sings in the second verse that their relationship is solid and that she’s thinks about him all the time (“What in this world/Keep us from tearing apart/No matter where I go I hear/
The beating of your heart…nothing erases the feeling between me and you.” It’s seems as though she has finally gotten into the song as she becomes more expressive. She’s sweet and emotional for the second verse and maintains the tone for the chorus.

The song ends with the chorus repeating twice. She has a great vocal moment when she sings during the chorus, “I drove all night (3:02)” and holds the note. While she holds it, she has it become a bit operatic.

Roy Orbison would later record the song in 1992 and trump this version by being subtle and sincere with his vocals. Lauper’s version is fine, it’s not classic material like her previous singles.

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