Blast from the Past: Trippy, Dippy, Paula Abdul

Image from Wikipedia
While Paula Abdul might be an unlikely subject for Blast from the Past, my previous Madonna and Janet Jackson posts pretty much made it inevitable. But hear me out! Before Abdul was the little pint-sized basket of crazy next to Simon Cowell on American Idol, she was actually a monster hit machine on the pop charts. Her career wasn't long lived, but it did burn brightly, and probably a little more brightly than you remember.

Paula actually started as a cheerleader and a choreographer. She was helping make MTV videos for acts like Janet Jackson (she's even in the Nasty video) and ZZTop (yes, really). But her first foray onto the pop charts didn't really light it up. Not yet. Knocked Out was her first release. It was released three times, ultimately peaking at #21. From the album, Forever Your Girl, Straight Up is the single that put Paula on the map (and made her label willing to release and re-release all her songs until they hit the top 40!).


Straight Up was a monster hit, zooming to #1 before they even had a video (which ultimately included--for some reason--Arsenio Hall). After that, (It's Just) The Way that You Love Me also became huge, though it was originally released before Straight Up. Then came Forever Your Girl, making three #1s in a row.


Next came Cold Hearted. The sexy dance routine for that one caused a bit of a sensation, much like that depicted in video. Were those boys dancing together? Scandal! And then--still all from the same album, mind you--came Opposites Attract. Yes, that's the one where she dances with a cartoon "MC Skat Cat."



Paula Abdul turned out to be more than a flash in the pan with her second album, Spellbound. The first song, Rush, Rush made it to #1 also. So did Promise of a New Day. Believe it or not, it was now her sixth #1 in a row.


But all good things eventually peter out, and so it is with Paula. She managed three more significant hits from Spellbound, first Blowing Kisses in the Wind, followed by Vibeology. 



The last one was Will You Marry Me, which peaked at #19. Still nothing to sneeze at. It probably did better than the marriage she did get, to Emilio Estevez. After that, Paula Abdul only hit the top 40 one more time, with My Love is For Real, a song that I frankly don't remember. But Paula's music is still fun to revisit, even if you have to do so alone, with headphones on. She's a guilty pleasure, but she's a pleasure.