Bring Ya to the Brink

Since 1983, when Cyndi Lauper and Madonna both dropped debut albums and fought for the leg-warmer love of the burgeoning MTV nation, there hasn't been much reason to compare the two pop stars. Yet here they both are 25 years later, returning to the same terrain: the dance floor. Nixing the adult-contemporary vibe of her last studio album, 1997's mixed-bag Sisters of Avalon, Lauper teams up with pop-song doctors from the studio of Max Martin (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson) and electro wizardsincluding Basement Jaxx and the Scumfrog for an album of club throb. On the pulsing Euro disco "Into the Nightlife," Lauper sings about happily partying, but by "Same Ol' Story" she's in full-out soul-diva mode, bitching about an unbalanced relationship with throaty emphasis. Closer "Rain on Me" glances back to her classic "Time After Time" with glowing synths, but it feels a bit chilly. Brink never reaches a full serotoninexplosion like Confessions on a Dancefloor, but at least Lauper hastaken after the competition and found a new groove.