Our Top 10 Paula Abdul Songs list takes a look at one of music’s popular singers from the 80s. She has sold over 53 million albums during her career. In addition to her singing, she’s known for her choreography. She has choreographed for a variety of artists. She also choreographed routines in movies. That’s not too bad for a woman who got her start as a Laker Girl cheerleader. It’s time to take a closer look at the artist.
Paula Abdul was born Paula Julie Abdul on June 19, 1962. She started her career as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers at 18. She would eventually become the choreographer for the Laker Girls. While she was a Laker Girl, the Jacksons discovered her. They wanted her to choreograph for them. Abdul went on to choreograph videos for Janet Jackson. She choreographed all of the videos for the singles from the Control album. After she worked with Janet Jackson, she went on to choreograph for other artists as well as for movies. She did the choreography for Can’t Buy Me Love (1987). The Running Man (1987), Coming to America (1988), Big (1988), Action Jackson (1988), The Doors (1991), Jerry Maguire (1996), American Beauty (1999) as well as other projects.
In 1988, Abdul released her first album Forever Your Girl. The album went on to peak at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. The peak didn’t happen overnight because it took 64 weeks to reach the top spot. She also made history for having the most singles from a debut album take the number one spot on the Billboard charts. The album features the singles “Knocked Out,” “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me,” “Straight Up,” “Forever Your Girl,” “Cold Hearted” and “Opposites Attract.” The album went on to sell over 18 million copies worldwide. It was one of the best-selling albums of that year. She won several awards for this album.
Fresh off the success of her debut album, Paula Abdul released her next project Spellbound in 1991. There was a lot of pressure on the singer to create another hit project after the success of Forever Your Girl. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Rush Rush,” “The Promise of a New Day.” “Blowing Kisses in the Wind,” “Vibeology” and “Will You Marry Me?.” The album sold over three million copies. Abdul won awards for this album. Like most artists, she dealt with a controversy. She was accused of lip-synching on her songs. Her backup singer, Yvette Marine, accused her of stealing her vocals and passing them off as her own. She said the singer used her vocals on songs from the Forever Your Girl album. She sued Abdul, but she lost the case. Abdul decided to take a break from making music to focus on her personal life.
In 1995, she released Head over Heels. The album peaked at number 18 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “My Love is for Real,” Crazy Cool” and “Ain’t Never Gonna Give You Up.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. The album didn’t sell as much as her previous work, but it did manage to go gold. In 1997, Abdul starred in the TV movie Touched By Evil in which she played a woman who realized her boyfriend was a rapist. She also released work out videos during the years. Paula Abdul’s career received a boost when she became a judge on American Idol in 2002. She helped discover artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert as well as others. She was also a judge on Live to Dance, The X Factor and So You Think You Can Dance.
Paula Abdul proved that a dancer could make it as a singer. She’s not known for her vocals, but she does have a lot of hits. She was able to make it in the music industry while singing with the likes of Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Celine Dion as well as others. She may not have released that many studio albums, but she managed to have a lot of good songs. This Top 10 Paula Abdul Songs lists will feature her best songs. Which ones do you think will make the list?
# 10 – Promise of a New Day
The first song on our Top 10 Paula Abdul Songs list is “Promise of a New Day” from the Spellbound album. The song has a pop sound. The inspirational song is about her being optimistic about a relationship as well as the lives of future generations. It’s a song about hope that most people can relate to if they are thinking about the future. This song was one of the first singles after her smash debut so the pressure was on her to create more great music. This song was on the right track.
The music is catchy and upbeat. It’s filled with synthetic gems. The music is unique and didn’t sound like anything else that was on the radio at the time of its release. It was a departure from the music she was accustomed to singing. The music catered to Abdul’s voice. She isn’t the strongest singer in the music industry, but she proved she was up for the challenge. She showed versatility on the song by using a double for the chorus. She sings one half in her normal tone and the other half in her lower register. It might not have worked well, but she did an excellent job.
# 9 – Blowing Kisses in the Wind
The next song on our Top 10 Paula Abdul’s Songs list is “Blowing Kisses in the World” from the Spellbound album. The song has a pop sound. This heartfelt song is about her pining after a guy and hoping he feels the same way about her. The song is relatable to anyone who has had feelings for someone and hoping the other person feels the same way. It’s not just for female listeners even though a female sings the song. This is a song that will touch your heart and make you emotional.
The song has amazing power chords. The music is melodramatic and haunting to match the nature of the song. The music is soothing and relaxing. It has an orchestral swell during the bridge that isn’t to be missed. She proved she could sing a ballad. Most of her hits are up-tempo songs, but this song gave her a chance to slow things down. She isn’t a balladeer so she might have failed to accomplish singing a ballad. She was able to pull it off. She doesn’t hold any big notes, but she does belt a little towards the fade out. Peter Lord sings the bridge of the song. He has great vocalization. It’s too bad his part wasn’t bigger in the song.
# 8 – My Love Is For Real
The touching song is from the Head over Heels album. The song has a pop beat. This sultry song is self-explanatory. She’s telling her lover that her love is for real. The mid tempo beat is another departure from her earlier hits. The musicians created a Middle Eastern sound. It features Indian instruments that give the song a unique sound. It sounds like something that would appeal to different audiences.
The song has a funky rhythm and Oriental touches. The music is exotic and is perfect for dancing. It’s not like her other up-tempo songs, but it does have a rhythm that will make you get up and dance. Paula Abdul took a vocal risk and sang in a deeper pitch throughout the song. It worked with the type of music that was used for it. She sounded sensual while she was singing it. She does sing a little low for the melody, but it doesn’t hurt the song. She sounds slightly off key at points, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good song. Ofra Haza sings the operatic portions of the song. She has a decent voice that went well with the music. She seems comfortable singing this type of music.
# 7 – (It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me
This charming song is from the Forever Your Girl album. The song has a dance, pop, and New Jack swing sound to it. The refreshing song is about her telling a man that she appreciates the way he loves her. She doesn’t need anything fancy from him. She just wants him to love her the way she deserves to be loved. The theme is similar to songs where people aren’t impressed with their money. It’s a good message because it means that she isn’t impressed with material things. The musicians created a sound that’s similar to Prince’s music. They were most likely inspired by his songs to create the sound.
The beat is funky and rhythmic. There’s no way to sit still listening to the beat because it has high energy. The music is a little dated, but it was perfect for its time. Abdul was competing with Janet Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston and others during this time so this song helped her make her mark in the music industry. Her vocals may not be the best on the song, but she manages to make the song worth hearing. She doesn’t go above her limitations and that was a wise choice. The music is the star of the song.
# 6 – Forever Your Girl
The loyal song is from the album of the same name. The track has a pop beat to it. The romantic song is about her expressing her devotion to her man. She wants him to know that she’s loyal until the end. It has a Bonnie and Clyde feel to it. She will be there for him forever. The music is reminiscent of the sound Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis created for Janet Jackson. It sounds like something Janet Jackson would have done in the 80s. It also sounds like something Madonna would have sang back in the day.
The music is laidback and funky. It has a saxophone solo that is fire. The synthesizer is irresistible and drives the music. It’s a bubbly song that will put a smile on your face as you listen to it. Abdul seems to be enjoying herself while she’s singing the track. The song caters to her voice very well. She sounds convincing as she’s trying to convince the guy to believe that he’s the only one for her. She sounds perky on the track and that’s part of the song’s appeal. She isn’t trying to be someone she isn’t in the song and that was a good thing. She’s not trying to be the best singer in the world. She’s just having fun and it shows.
# 5 – Rush Rush
The next song on our Top 10 Paula Abdul Songs list is “Rush Rush” from the Spellbound album. The song has a pop and r&b sound. The sensual song is about desiring someone who will give everything in a relationship. The sentimental song was the first ballad Abdul released as a single. She was known for her dance hits so she took a chance and released a ballad. She was able to pull off the ballad. The sweet music was the perfect fit for her vocals. It’s soft and melodic which helped her vocally. The music isn’t too loud so she didn’t have to do too much yelling. This is one of her most vocally risqué hits because it requires her to hold notes and runs. She was able to pull off impressive runs. She didn’t hold notes like the ones on this track on her other hits so she took a chance. She doesn’t sound too bad on the notes. We won’t call her the next Whitney Houston, but she didn’t embarrass herself on the song. She has a decent voice for ballads.
# 4 – Opposites Attract ft. The Wild Pair
The catchy song is from the Forever Your Girl album. It has a dance, pop and New Jack Swing beat to it. The popular song is about a couple who love each other despite their differences. It’s easy to overlook the lyrics of the song because of the video for it. The song gets upstaged because of the use of MC Skat Kat in the video. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s a pretty good song about a couple who love each other even though they are different. They tell the story in parts. In the first part, Abdul sings about her differences while he sings about his differences.
In the second half of the track, they switch and sing about the other person’s differences. It’s a creative way to talk about their differences. The music is bouncy and will have you out of your seat. The drumbeat and synthesizers are masterful. The strings give the song a funky sound. The song has a very appealing chorus that will stay in your head. She is a little off key in the hook, but it doesn’t ruin the song. The Wild Pair do a great job supporting her in the song.
# 3 – Knocked Out
This pop and r&b friendly song is from the Forever Your Girl album. It has a dance, pop, r&b and New Jack Swing beat to it. This is a cautious song about her not wanting to rush things, but she wants to be with her lover. This was her debut single from the hit album. This song introduced the world to Paula Abdul, the singer and not the dancer. It has that classic LaFace sound to it. La Reid, Babyface and Darryl Simmons created soulful pop and r&b music. The melody is similar to Sheena Easton’s song “The Lover in Me” and Pebbles’ “Girlfriend.” It’s not hard to hear the comparisons because they wrote Easton’s and Pebbles hit songs too.
The music is impossible to stand still through. You can get your inner Paula Abdul on listening to the music. The music gave her a soulful sound. She didn’t record too many songs that were soulful so this was a good change for her. The song is underrated because of the other hits on the album, but it does deserve a listen. The song is just as good as the rest of the songs on the album.
# 2 – Cold Hearted
The anthemic song is from the Forever Your Girl album. It has a dance and pop beat to it. The sassy song is about her warning women about a man being a heartless snake. This song is very female friendly. It doesn’t do male listeners any favors at all. It’s a male bashing song through and through. Here is some trivia about the song. There are rumors that the song is about Abdul’s breakup with actor John Stamos. She dated him briefly. If the rumors are true, their relationship must have ended badly for her to sing a song like this about him.
The music is infectious. It has a dark theme and it works beautifully with the subject of the song. The music is intricate. The violins are mesmerizing and help make the song sound even better. The keyboard stands out in a good way. It’s easy to see that Paula Abdul was pretty angry when she sang this song. She sings with the right about of sass and passion needed to tell the story. This song is very different from her love friendly tracks. This is one of the few songs she recorded that had so much anger in it. This song could have been number one on the list if it weren’t for the next track.
# 1 – Straight Up
The number one song on our Top 10 Paula Abdul Songs list is “Straight Up” from the Forever Your Girl album. The song has a pop and New Jack Swing beat to it. The appealing song is about her loving a guy who seems too good to be true. She’s been hurt in the past and wants him to be honest with her. The title was a popular phrase at the time she recorded the song. She wanted her man to be “straight up” with her. This is the song that made Abdul a superstar in her own right. She was no longer just Janet Jackson’s choreographer. She wanted to be noticed as a singer and this song helped her get what she wanted.
It has all the key ingredients to be a monster hit. It has great music that is easy to dance to. It has a memorable hook and sassy singing. She was bold and aggressive in the song and that was perfect for the subject matter. She took a chance at rapping in the song and it paid off. She isn’t the best rapper in the music business, but she was able to spit a couple of bars. This song is a huge hit for Abdul and it’s easy to see why it was a hit. Everything about the song works so it’s not a shock that it was number one of the charts and one on our list.
Top 10 Paula Abdul Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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