First Hit #1: September 14, 1991
Promise of a New Day has one of the worst music videos I’ve ever seen. Never mind the stretched out image, which was rumored to be done in order to make Paula Abdul look taller and thinner – Abdul claims it was to make the dancers look closer together. This is just incompetently filmed. The top of Abdul’s head is cut off for no reason in the opening, the framing is too tight to actually get an idea of what anyone’s doing, and nothing looks deliberate. For a professional video for a major star, it’s amazingly slapdash.
It’s a shame, because the amateur video distracts from what is otherwise a pretty catchy little number. Abdul is trying to expand her palette without actually going to far out. She’s got new instruments, and is attempting to say something with the track. I’m not sure what she wants to say, it’s a seemingly ambivalent attitude towards some kind of future change. The music is optimistic, but the line that gets the most emphasis is “Why do I feel this way?” It’s not quite at generic uplift about a hopeful future, there’s a reluctance hiding under the syrupy sheen of the production. It feel as though Abdul wants to say something meaningful, but can’t quite get there.
This is also the last time Abdul graces the top of the chart. I’ll actually miss her.