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Paula Abdul - Straight Up (1988)

  • Video Views 31,658,064
  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.55
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Straight Up" is a song recorded by American singer-choreographer Paula Abdul for her debut album Forever Your Girl (1988). A ...

"Straight Up" is a song recorded by American singer-choreographer Paula Abdul for her debut album Forever Your Girl (1988). A mid-tempo dance-pop song with influence from the pop rock and new jack swing genres, the song finds Abdul asking her partner to "straight up now tell [her]" if he was genuinely in love with her or not. Written and produced entirely by musician Elliot Wolff, the single version was released as the album's third single on November 22, 1988 by Virgin Records.

"Straight Up" eventually became a breakthrough success for Abdul in the States, earning the singer her first chart-topper on the US Billboard Hot 100, further catapulting its parental album to reach the top-twenty on the Billboard 200 chart, before it finally reached number one after a record-setting 64 weeks on the market.. "Straight Up" was also one of Abdul's signature hits, brought her to widespread public attention, and remained as her biggest international hit to date, reaching the top-ten region in over eleven countries. The song was then included in all of her six compilation albums, released sometimes between 1998 and 2013.

The song also received positive reviews from music critics, with Daniel J. Levitin's This Is Your Brain on Music praises the song as "hold[ing] a certain appeal over many, many listenings." It also earned Abdul several nominations in the States, most notably including her first Grammy Awards nomination in the category of Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1990, and six other nominations for its music video at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.

Music video

The song became so popular that it ascended up the charts before a music video had even been shot for the song. The black and white video, directed by David Fincher and choreographed by Abdul herself in mid-January 1989, won four 1989 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Editing, Best Choreography, and the first Best Dance Video. The video features an appearance by her friend, comedian Arsenio Hall, whose popular talk show had premiered a few weeks prior to the video shoot. Djimon Hounsou also appears. Released later that month, the video at the time went into very heavy rotation on MTV, helping further Abdul's popularity.

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