Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl

First Hit #1: May 20, 1989

Paula Abdul is a grown woman. She also was a grown woman in 1989, for the record. I mention this only because Forever your Girl doesn’t seem like the song a grown woman would want to sing. It’s a silly pop song about love and jealousy, with repeated mentions of boys. Abdul’s performance itself doesn’t have too much range and it’s pretty one-note. She does get to do some tap dancing in the actual song this time, which is fun, and adds a distinct percussive instrument into a song that desperately needs something distinct about it. It’s not that it’s a bad song really, I just found myself thinking Abdul was a bit old for it. That’s not an example of ageism, it’s just a reflection of a song that feels like it should be sung by someone who is not merely young, but immature, someone who would actually belong in a high school, it would at least make the sillier elements of it make a bit more sense in context. When I hear Abdul singing it, no matter how many kids she puts in the video, no matter how high she sings it, I keep thinking she should have outgrown this kind of thing by now.

This is the perfect song for Tiffany or Debbie Gibson.

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One Response to Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl

  1. RBerman says:

    Paula Abdul’s closest comparison is early Madonna. The two are the only top female pop stars of the 80s who could dance. Every Madonna dance feels like a striptease, whereas Abdul seems to simply enjoy the fun of movement, like a little kid. Look at me! I can walk! With blinding speed! So on one level the “girl” thing fits her innocent persona well. So do the “He loves me, he loves me not” lyrics. (And I dig the Robert Palmer sight gag of the little kids pretending to be supermodels pretending to play in a band.) But as you say, there’s also that whole “Father Figure/One More Try” weirdness of adult men and women roleplaying junior high scenarios for the benefit of a junior high audience.

    The “early Madonna” comparison shows up in the music, though. This is more “Lucky Star” than “Express Yourself” in terms of complexity. Synth bass and chimes and a drum track. As is often the case, the song at the top of the charts represents the ideal version of the recent musical past rather than the next step forward.

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