Wednesday, June 7, 2023

"Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul (Duet with The Wild Pair)

#1 Alert
Song#:  4142
Date:  12/16/1989
Debut:  72
Peak:  1 (3 weeks)
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, Abdul's debut album Forever Your Girl was showing only a few signs of slowing down. In October of '89, more than a year after it first reached the chart the LP finally made it to #1 after spawning four Pop Top 10 hits including three #1s. With the iron still hot, Abdul's label gambled on this sixth single. To boost it along, an inventive video was created for MTV. The ploy worked and Abdul would end up with her fourth #1 Pop hit (#3 R&B). It made her only the fourth artist at the time to generate four #1 songs from one album (Whitney Houston, George Michael, and Michael Jackson attained that mark previously). The hit would close out that album, which would reach the seven million sales mark in July of '90 to become one of the most successful debut albums ever.

ReduxReview:  This was the last song to debut on the Pop chart in '89 that would go on to become a #1 hit in 1990. I can't say it was a good one, but it gave Abdul another chart topper. I wasn't a fan of the song when it came out and it is still not one of my favorites among Abdul's hits. I think it was the video, which was kinda cool at the time, that pushed this one over the top. I mean, the track was fine, but the whole you-like/I-like concept had been done before and I didn't find it as fun or catchy as some of her other hits. Abdul's next LP was a bit of a mess, but it had a few keepers. "The Promise of a New Day" comes up in a couple of my playlists. Let's face it - Abdul was not a good singer, but with her debut she set a goal and had just the right songs and videos in place to capture an audience. You knew it couldn't last (and it didn't), but she certainly made a mark.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This single was billed as a duet with The Wild Pair, which consisted of Bruce DeShazer (aka Tony Christian) and Marvin Gunn. The pair were formerly members of the Minneapolis R&B/funk band Mazarati, who were signed to Prince's Paisley Park label. Their self-titled '86 debut album would spawn the #19 R&B single "100 MPH." The Wild Pair would do background vocals on a couple of Abdul's tracks while take a turn at the lead for this tune. For single release, the label requested a remix with a rap and so producer Oliver Leiber collaborated with Derrick "Delite" Stevens and came up with the new version. Then there was the video. Inspired by an animated/live action dance sequence in the 1945 Gene Kelly musical Anchors Away, the video had Abdul doing a duet/dance with the animated character MC Skat Kat (voiced by The Wild Pair). It proved to be very successful and would go on to win a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. The MC Scat Kat would prove to be so popular that the character would be spin off as a recording artist. With Derrick Stevens providing the vocals, MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob would be released in 1991. The LP's first single, "Skat Strut," would get to #80 Pop/#94 R&B. The album would not chart and with that MC Skat Kat would pretty much disappear.  2) The difficult thing about having a wildly successful debut album is following it up. Abdul gave it a go with her '91 effort Spellbound. For it, she pretty much ditched her cohorts from her debut and mainly worked with Peter Lord and V. Jeffrey Smith who were from the NYC R&B/soul band The Family Stand. They would write and produce the majority of the album with Abdul joining them as co-writer on four tracks. Abdul also did a John Hiatt cover tune with producer Don Was and recorded one Prince song that was produced by folks in his Paisley Park stable. The LP started off well with its first two singles, "Rush, Rush" and "The Promise of a New Day," both hitting #1. Another Top 10 arrived with the #6 "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" followed by a couple of Top 20s. The album would spend two weeks at #1 and sell three million copies. Overall, it was a good result, but it couldn't get close to the success of her debut. After a break, Abdul would return in '95 with Head Over Heels. None of its singles would crack the Pop Top 30 and the album would stall at #18 and only go gold. To-date, Abdul has yet to release a fourth studio album. Her career floundered for a bit, but then in 2002 she got a major revival when she became a judge on the hugely successful reality competition show American Idol.


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