Forever Your Girl

Paula Abdul

Virgin Records, 1988

http://www.paulaabdul.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/28/2002

It's a cop-out to merely write off Forever Your Girl, the 1988 debut from former Lakers cheerleader Paula Abdul, as mere pop fluff. After all, pop music was pretty much fluff-filled at this point, with acts like Milli Vanilli, New Kids On The Block and Vanilla Ice all burning up the charts at different times. Abdul's work was more of a period piece, when seen in that light, so who could really blame her if she didn't want to go against the grain with her first effort? Besides, she had done some dancing work with Janet Jackson, so it wasn't that Abdul was under-qualified to create dance-oriented pop.

In truth, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Forever Your Girl is fluff - but relatively harmless (if not annoying at times). Abdul isn't much of a singer, though the team she has to help craft the songs sometimes help to propel them farther than she could alone.

Abdul sometimes reminds me of Debbie Gibson - dance music in her soul, but not always sure how to deliver the goods. (At least Gibson wrote her own music at times; Abdul only gets one co-writing credit.) But Gibson at least had a decent set of pipes to get her messages across; Abdul comes off as nasally and thin.

This isn't to say that the entire album is doomed to failure. The title track is enjoyable enough, a light slice of pop-dom that is pleasing to the ear and even has moments where it's well-written. Abdul seems most at home on a track like this, which could easily have been turned into strictly a pop track with the right mixing. (Cripes, don't get me started about re-mixing; I already have the review to Shut Up And Dance in the can. If I ever suggest I want to listen to that tape again, someone kill me.) And while it's not the greatest example of pop music from its time period, "Knocked Out" isn't a bad song either.

There are, however, some serious clunkers on Forever Your Girl. "Next To You," the attempt at a power-pop ballad, fails from almost the first note; Abdul neither has the material to make this work nor the rounded talent. (You'd think that she could have cashed in a favor to Miss Janet.) "One Or The Other," the only song which lists Abdul as a co-writer, has absolutely no depth or musical development to carry it past the first 30 seconds of the track. And "Straight Up" and "Cold Hearted" are in a dead heat for worst song of this genre for the '80s. Christ, there are a few Milli Vanilli songs I'd rather listen to for eternity in Valhalla.

As light-weight as power-pop is, I do enjoy listening to it at times just to clear out the pipes and find out what's going on in the commercial world. Forever Your Girl has a few enjoyable moments, and it's a relatively harmless way to spend 44 minutes, but like a lot of bubblegum pop, it sometimes is too sugary for its own good and lacks any real consistency.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Virgin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.