Tuesday, June 21, 1988

Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl released

First posted 4/1/2008; updated 11/24/2020.

Forever Your Girl

Paula Abdul


Released: June 21, 1988


Peak: 110 US, 3 UK, 1 CN, 11 AU


Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.3 UK, 18.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: dance pop


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. It’s Just the Way That You Love Me (9/10/88, 3 US, 9a RB, 74 UK, 5 CN, 76 AU, sales: ½ million)
  2. Knocked Out (5/21/88, 41 US, 8 RB, 27 CN, 82 AU)
  3. Opposites Attract (with the Wild Pair) (12/16/89, 1 US, 3 RB, 45 AC, 2 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, sales: ½ million)
  4. State of Attraction
  5. I Need You
  6. Forever Your Girl (3/11/89, 1 US, 24 UK, 54 RB, 11 AC, 24 UK, 1 CN, 51 AU, sales: ½ million)
  7. Straight Up (12/3/88, 1 US, 3 UK, 2 RB, 39 AC, 3 UK, 2 CN, 27 AU, sales: 1 million)
  8. Next to You
  9. Cold Hearted (6/24/89, 1 US, 46 UK, 2 CN, 68 AU, sales: ½ million)
  10. One or the Other

Rating:

3.722 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Quotable: “A consistent album with some great dance-pop songs” – Bryan Buss, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

Paula Abdul started her career as a cheerleader for the L.A. Lakers, later becoming the head choreographer. She became an in-demand choreographer for music videos for artists including Janet Jackson, George Michael, Duran Duran, and ZZ Top. WK Jeff Ayeroff, who’d worked with Janet Jackson, signed Abdul to a record deal with Virgin Records after she made a singing demo. He said years later, “Here’s someone with a personality and she’s gorgeous, and she can dance. If she can sing, she could be a star. So she went into the studo and cut a demo record and she could sing.” WK

She was relatively untrained as a singer, but worked with coaches and producers to develop her voice. While she still had “a slight voice, her voice is distinct and perfectly suited to…synthesized late-‘80s dance-pop.” AMG Her first album, Forever Your Girl, became the most successful debut album of all time. WK It sold 7 million copies on the strength of of four chart-topping singles in the U.S., a first for a debut album. WK

As big as it became, the album’s rise was slow and steady. It didn’t really take off until Straight Up, the third single. The first single, Knocked Out, stalled just outside the top 40 and It’s Just the Way That You Love Me failed to hit the pop charts. It would, however, rechart and reach #3 after it was re-released a year later.

Before it recharted, however, Abdul followed “Straight Up” straight to the top of the charts with two more #1 songs – the “sweet and accessible” AMG and the “insistent and catchy” AMG Cold Hearted. Her fourth trip to the top, Opposites Attract, teamed her up with the Wild Pair and was marketed by a clever video of her dancing with a cartoon cat.

“There is some filler – Next to You, for example – that hasn’t aged as well as the better material, but overall this is a consistent album with some great dance-pop songs. Unfortunately, as Abdul and her material matured, her audience waned.” AMG

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Sunday, June 12, 1988

Crowded House released “Better Be Home Soon”

First posted 10/25/2020.

Better Be Home Soon

Crowded House

Writer(s): Neil Finn (see lyrics here)


Released: June 12, 1988


Peak: 42 US, 26 AC, 18 AR, 4 CO, 29 MR, 8 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 6.98 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

After the new wave band Split Enz split up in 1984, Neil Finn formed Crowded House. The group found success with their debut album, which produced the“Don’t Dream It’s Over” and“Something So Strong,” #2 and #7 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively.

When it came time to record their second album, the band jokingly said it would be called Mediocre Follow-Up. While the collection proved quite worthy, it didn’t measure up to its predecessor commercially. The lead single, “Better Be Home Soon,” just missed the top 40. It did, however, get to #2 in Australia and New Zealand. It also won Song of the Year at the 1989 ARIA Music Awards (the Australian equivalent of the Grammys).

The song’s lyrics are open to different interpretations. When asked specifically about the video for the song, Nick Seymour said it was “about being home, how it’s better being home.” WK In a StereoStories.com article, David Oke suggested it could “be about a relationship where the partner is ‘absent,’ but possibly, not physically. It seems to be a cry out for restoring a relationship and for partners being honest with one another.” SS

Oke also floats the idea that Neil wrote the song about Hester and his struggles and his need “to be in the security of being safe at home.” SS This takes on even greater weight in the context of Hester’s suicide in 2005 and Finn’s subsequent performance of “Better Be Home Soon” at the 2005 ARIA Awards as a tribute to Hester. SS


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