Wednesday, November 18, 2020

#29 Adamski

Card #29 in the 1991 ProSet MusiCards SuperStars set features the first unfamiliar name for me so far. I can say as I type this opening paragraph that I don't recall ever hearing of Adamski (beyond perusing the checklist for this set) and if my ears ever came in contact with an Adamski song in the past, well I have zero recollection of it. 

My first impression based on this photo is he looks like the missing link between Vanilla Ice and Eminem, though a little more "glam" with his fashion sense. But is that what he sounds like? We'll find out soon enough.

The back gives us a good introduction. There's an odd "Doctor Adamski's Musical Pharmacy" picture and a write-up of how this performer got his career started. Perhaps he was bigger in the UK and that's why I never heard of him? He has 2 MusiCards: this one and another one immediately after it. He's not in the UK version of the set, funny enough. I'm still not sure what to expect when I press play on his music, but based on what I know from this card, I'm expecting something along the lines of Jesus Jones and EMF.. other UK electro-pop from that time that I'm familiar with.

Here's the point where I go to Spotify and listen to what they've got as the most popular few songs of his available.


Oh wow, looks like he's still active, with a release out just this year. Good for him!

Looks like his biggest hit by a wide margin was "Killer" off the Doctor Adamski's Musical Pharmacy album (1990) [that explains the card's weird back picture.. it's the album cover]. The song's got over 10 million plays! I was thinking, "Wow, he sounds a lot like Seal." But no, it actually is Seal providing guest vocals on an Adaminski track.

The 2020 release is called Free to Kill Again and looks to be an album of remixes of that "Killer" song. Hmm, that's kinda sad.

His second most popular song on Spotify is a modern remix of "Killer". I like this "re-dub" version a little more than the LP version, but honestly neither are really grabbing me.

Seal, by the way, has no cards in the standard MusiCards set, but has four cards in the UK edition. I hope I live long enough to eventually cover those on the blog-- let's be real, at the pace I'm going, it'll be several years from now-- because I really like a few Seal songs (and get chagrined whenever anyone refers to him as a one-hit wonder... I remember a few of his songs getting lots of radio play when I was younger, not just "Kiss From a Rose".)

So (over) half of the top 10 songs on Adamski's Spotify page are versions of "Killer".. I guess it must've been a big hit overseas, but I don't recall ever hearing it before. It's getting a "meh" from me today, but maybe if my local radio station was playing it regularly back in the day, it would have won me over eventually. I mean, I love me some Paula Abdul songs, as we've covered over the previous three posts, but if I was hearing them for the first time today, I doubt they'd do much for me. Timing is everything. He just didn't seem to hit in the US. (Again, funny he got a US MusiCard, but not a UK one.)

I'm trying to go into it with an open mind, but yeah, not really feeling the Adamski songs I'm listening to right now as I draft this post. Not terrible, but nothing I see myself ever wanting to give a second listen. If any big Adamski fans are reading this, I feel like I should apologize to you, but hey, nothing personal. I'm also not really familiar with any of the artists in the "Fans Also Like" (pictured above, far right), so maybe this just isn't my scene. Never been much of a raver.

According to his Wikipedia entry, as of early 2020, Adamski "has been spending time in the studio writing and producing songs for the next highly anticipated Kylie Minogue album." That's cool. (Like Seal, Kylie isn't in the US MusiCards set, but has 4 cards in the UK edition.)

I think my initial assumption of him sounding something like Jesus Jones and EMF was pretty close, honestly.. but with less guitars. And by the way, those are a couple more artists not in the US set but in the UK set. Really adds to my feeling that Adamski is out of place in the US checklist and would have made a lot more sense in the UK edition. Kids opening packs of the stuff in England at the time would have likely been much more familiar with him than American kids were, I'm sure.

I think I'm just going to end this post here with no Custom Corner, but seeing as I've run out of things to say about Adamski, I should come up with a good accompanying Custom Corner for the next card-- Adamski again-- or else it'll be a very short post, lol.

What do you say, readers.. Are any of you Adamski addicts? If so, any favorite tracks besides "Killer" (or the other few songs in the above top ten) that I should check out? Or are you like me and are only now learning about him for the first time thanks to this card?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

#28 Paula Abdul (+ Nirvana bonus)

Paula goes horizontal for her third and final card in Series 1 of 1991 ProSet Super Stars MusiCards. Come on, Paula.. let's keep it G-rated! Too sexy!

The back blurb is all about her childhood. No back photo this time, but instead we get her wordmark. Am I alone in thinking that font instantly calls to mind Nirvana?

Here's a look at the Forever Your Girl album cover. You can see the same font used, though it looks less Nirvana-y in burnt sienna and with that little tattoo-looking drawing in the middle of her name.

Nirvana's Bleach-- the first time they used the font, I believe-- was released almost exactly a year after Forever Your Girl, so while it was most likely just a coincidence, it's a funny thought to imagine Kurt Cobain taking inspiration from Paula Abdul. But evidenced by closely comparing the top of the A's and the bottom of the L (in "BLEACH"), it's not the exact same font, but not too far off.

I guess I might as well go with Nirvana for this post's Custom Corner companion since I've already started talking about them, but first let's get back to Paula. I've covered her debut Forever Your Girl in the previous two posts, so I figure I should get passed that and to her other albums.

Paula Abdul - "Promise Of A New Day"

Her highly-anticipated sophomore record was 1991's Spellbound. Like its predecessor, it went to #1 on the charts and became a multi-platinum seller. It wasn't quite the hit single generating monster Forever Your Girl was, but still saw solid MTV and radio play.

As for me, Spellbound was among the earliest compact discs in my collection, moving away from cassettes. I liked the first single "Rush Rush" ok, but I seem to recall it was the second single, "Promise of a New Day", that prompted me to drop some allowance money on the CD. I also liked "Blowing Kisses in the Wind", the third single. Other than those 3 songs, Spellbound didn't quite connect with me much, but I still listened to it several times that summer. (I'm listening to the album for the first time in many years as I write this post. "My Foolish Heart" is another good one I forgot about.)

Paula Abdul - "My Foolish Heart"

The album was released in May '91. By the time Nevermind came out later that September, I wasn't paying much attention to pop/dance music anymore. Abdul's third (and still most recent) record, Head Over Heels (1995), didn't even register on my radar and to this day I don't think I've heard any songs from it. That album was a commercial disappointment, though called "much more experimental than her previous efforts" and "her most honest and personal project" (wikipedia), so I should give it a curious listen one of these days.. perhaps when we eventually catch up to her again on the blog when we reach Series 2 in a few years.

After Head Over Heels was a relative flop (still went gold), Paula backed off from singing, going back to choreography, doing a little acting, and eventually returning to the status of a household name as the sweet, caring judge on American Idol. She popped up with new music via a couple singles-- "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" (2008) and "I'm Just Here for the Music" (2009)-- and more recently returned to performing, with headlining tours and a residency in Las Vegas.

Oh, I got a cool thing to show off!

I was browsing an eBay seller's "other items" recently and stumbled upon this Paula Abdul certified autograph card for a decent price. Thinking about her more lately thanks to this blog, I decided to buy it. While I don't hate the photo or card design (wish it was an on-card auto instead of a sticker, but what you gonna do?), I got the idea to kick it up with an overlay...

I took a dupe I had of Paula's #27 MusiCard and cut a window for the signature of the Panini Americana card to show underneath. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! I've done "custom overlays" several times (including another On The Tube auto, even), but I think this is my first time using a real card as an overlay.


Ok, let's get to the Nirvana part of the post. They're a band I really like, so I'm thinking I'll only touch on their early days here, then continue their run in the future (like, Nevermind-era in another post, In Utero-era in another). I could probably ramble about Nirvana for a long time, but this post is already pretty long, so I'll try to keep it tight.

While Nirvana had been around since the late 80s, they didn't get huge until MusiCards were already on shelves, so it's no surprise they weren't included. But then again, contemporaries Soundgarden did get picked for inclusion by Pro Set, and I think their popularity levels were comparable at the time. So the above custom isn't that far-fetched.

Like most Nirvana fans, I prefer the Dave Grohl era of the band, but still enjoy listening to their early stuff once in a while. I consider Bleach a good album, but I'm not sure any songs from it will claw their way onto my personal top 20 Nirvana songs.. a list I'll probably get to for a future post.

"Sliver" has got to be my favorite track recorded during that pre-Grohl period, among the most catchy pop tunes Kurt came up with.

Ok, I think that'll do it for today. We'll see Nirvana again in another Custom Corner one of these days, and see Paula again once we get to card #281. It's funny that in Series 1, she's listed alphabetically under A (Abdul), but in Series 2, she's listed under P (Paula). Oh, Pro Set! 

Thanks for reading. Please sound off in the comments if you've got any thoughts to share regarding later Paula Abdul albums or early Nirvana.