Cover Corner: The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough

Forever tied to Mikey, Data, Chunk and Mouth setting off on one of the great childhood adventures, Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” (1985) makes goosebumps and the uncontrollable bubbling of youthful exuberance rise.  Aggressive Synthpop, Cyndi Lauper‘s songwriting talent, and her voice set this song above other movie-tied epics– which are oft the fodder for covers.

The song was written specifically for the movie.  Steven Spielberg made Lauper the music director and she put together the soundtrack with some of her favorite bands like The Bangles.  One of 3 songs she contributed to the soundtrack, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” was originally just called “Good Enough” but execs found putting the movie title in the song made it somewhat more marketable.

The single was released prior to the movie as was an epic music video (see below) with a bunch of WWE (formerly WWF) wrestlers (RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper).  Lauper didn’t really like the song but maybe due to its tie to a great movie or as I believe, on the song’s merits alone, the single exploded and has remained exploded.  It is a fan favorite and after years, Lauper finally started performing it in the early 2000s as it wasn’t put on any of her releases until a 2003 compilation.

Backed with a computerized synth line, melodic “good enough” backing vocal during the chorus and fronted by Lauper’s big echoing voice the song is fun.  The song is all about finding satisfaction and breaking out of previous judgments. Considering the movie, thematically, maybe it has something to do with maturing and finding yourself through your adolescence.  Whether that’s the case, the melody is infectious.

Among many others, New Found Glory (2000) and, very recently, Radical Face (2018) have covered the song.  With NFG, they followed, pretty much the tone and emotional intent but sped it up with pop punk rhythms.  If you could blur your ears like you blur your eyes, I think Lauper’s version and NFG‘s would sound similar.  Their cover, at 2:32, is short and fast.  Unfortunately, it seems like they’re rushing through things.  Had they done this a bit later in their career, I could see them slowing it down as they gained confidence in their craft.  (But, remember that album: From the Screen to Your Stereo?  “The Glory of Love” and “Never Ending Story Theme Song” — great.)

Radical Face, on the other hand, takes it in a much different direction- a very Radical Face direction.

Before that though, the cover art and the video of the single are goofy and spectacular.  Ben Cooper‘s make-up for the photoshoot was done by a famed drag make-up artist.  It captures the essence of Lauper in an exaggerated fashion.  Copping to a serious pose and playing it straight faced, his look captures Lauper’s longing and sadness but it’s ludicrous and funny with his thick manly forearms and hands holding his bearded face.

Radical Face’s cover is slowed down coming in at (2:52) and, it’s so quiet.  In contrast to Lauper’s energy and the freedom it exudes, this version is so restrained like the lyrics and melody are constrained somehow.  Radical Face does this though: highly emotional, tragic, beautiful songs but sonically so subdued.  It was shocking the first time through but has grown on me since.  It’s simply a different theme- it changes the meaning of the song.  You could get away with listening to Lauper’s and his and not know they were the same.

#covercorner #goonies #cyndilauper #NFG #radicalface

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