"It was fun to see if all these songs could hold up," she says. "It was a party -- a really creative party and experience."
The Body Acoustic is both a career retrospective and a live record. But the set -- recorded onstage earlier this year -- also gives Lauper a chance to rework some of the best-loved songs in her catalog.
She invited her pals along to help out: Angel-loving singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan contributes warm vocals to the gentle "Time After Time," reggae loverman Shaggy gets funky on "All Through the Night," and the Japanese power-pop duo Puffy AmiYumi bounces around during "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
"It was great to find them," says Lauper. "They really make a connection, and they tie up that American quilt that we made. The sound of our music is so different. People from all over the world came here, and it mutated and blended."
Lauper says The Body Acoustic evolved by chance when she and her band rehearsed some of her old songs. The tunes began to take on different shapes and textures as Lauper matched guest vocalists with familiar material, including Ani DiFranco on "Sisters of Avalon" and guitarist Jeff Beck on "Above the Clouds." "We sat around and jammed until it happened," she says.
Now on tour, Lauper's supporting The Body Acoustic by plugging back in. However, she promises a break in each show, when she and the band play old favorites on acoustic guitars. "You really get to see what kind of song you've got when you strip it down," she says. "But it changes each time. I figure, if I'm going to be doing a retrospective of my work, I might as well throw a party."