TGJ Replay: Paula Abdul’s ‘Spellbound’

Published: Thursday 14th May 2020 by Rashad

Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s retrospective segment – a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of Pop and Urban Pop music hits.

In celebration of the 29th anniversary of its release (May 14), this week we’re reliving the magic of Paula Abdul‘s sophomore album, ‘Spellbound.’

Join us inside:

In the two years that followed her uber-successful debut album, 1988’s ‘Forever Your Girl’ (click here to read our ode to this project), Paula Abdul went from industry secret to household name with sales and accolades that rivaled the era’s biggest divas (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, etc.).  However, the double-edge of nabbing four Hot 100 chart-toppers from one album came in the form of increased pressure to ensure ‘Forever’s follow-up didn’t suffer the dreaded ‘sophomore slump.’

Instead of reassembling the likes of her first LP’s production team (i.e. Babyface, L.A. Reid, Oliver Leiber, Glen Ballard, etc.), Abdul opted to summon a new set of writers and producers – even being tapped herself to lend more penmanship than what was featured on ‘Forever.’  Together, the team crafted ‘Spellbound.’

Arguably, being in the midst of a highly publicized lawsuit from a former background singer who claimed Paula used her uncredited lead vocals in the song ‘Opposites Attract’ is what led the dance diva to ensure her next era took her off the dance floor to furnish more vocally-showcasing ballads.

Proof of this came via the five singles the opus produced:  ‘Rush Rush,’ ‘Promise of a New Day,’ ‘Blowing Kisses in the Wind,’ ‘Vibeology,’ and ‘Will You Marry Me?’

 

‘Rush Rush’

Hot 100 Peak: #1

‘Promise of a New Day’

Hot 100 Peak: #1

‘Blowing Kisses in the Wind’

Hot 100 Peak: #6

‘Vibeology’

Hot 100 Peak: #16

‘Will You Marry Me?’

Hot 100 Peak: #19

*****

When the dust settled, ‘Spellbound’ went to #1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 3X Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) – less than half of the 7x Platinum certification ‘Forever Your Girl’ achieved.

But, while ‘Spellbound’ received mixed reviews from critics, the Recording Academy did award the set a ‘Best Recording Package’ GRAMMY.

On this side of history, the project’s legacy stands as a testament to Abdul’s versatility – not only highlighting her unparalleled ability to move on the dance floor but also her songwriting and production prowess.  While its intent to display her vocal dexterity may not have been met with the desired fanfare, the balladry born from ‘Spellbound’ easily ranks as some of the 90’s best offerings.

As we press play on our jam ‘Promise of a New Day,’ vote below to tell us:

Your thoughts?

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  1. Jeans May 14, 2020

    One of my favorite albums. Great all the way through from beginning to end! One it pops finest!

  2. Clarks0o0ñ May 14, 2020

    Vibeology is my jam

    Miss paula has a lot of number 1’s.
    I’m surprised seeing these many number 1 songs on this album.

    • Tasha+K May 14, 2020

      She had 2 number ones in this album.

      • Johny5 May 14, 2020

        Paula Abdul had 6 Hot 100 #1 hits IN A ROW. Sit down.

  3. my+name May 14, 2020

    rush rush, vibeology
    this was a hot time for Paula. Crazy how fast the time has went. if y’all weren’t born yet, then you missed a great era for music.

    • Clarks0o0ñ May 14, 2020

      That doesnt mean we cant relive it

      There’s YouTube, spotify, itunes etc

      Straight up has been my jam ever since the queens on rupaul’s drag race lip synced to it.
      Same with cold hearted

      • Johny5 May 14, 2020

        Wow you’re a real dumbazz

      • Pu$$yPop$tre$$ May 15, 2020

        There’s some level of merit to your statement @Clarksooon but it’s not the same as being around when the song is hot, blaring from every radio station, playing round the clock on TV.

        Being a part of a cultural moment and reliving it through YouTube clips and drag race performances cannot be compared

  4. Tyne May 15, 2020

    I LOVVVEDD this album…played it until the cassette tape popped.

  5. I+love+big+black+c** May 15, 2020

    The vocal from Vibeology is haunting me like a ghost. exorcist Please!

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