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?’
Hot 100 Peak: #1
‘Promise of a New Day’
Hot 100 Peak: #1
‘Blowing Kisses in the Wind’
Hot 100 Peak: #6
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: