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.


  1. No mention of "Vibeology"? (I hated "Blowing Kisses in the Wind").

    I remember the one single from Paula's 1995 album, but just barely.

    1. "Vibeology" just doesn't really *vibe* with me, lol.

      I wish the video for "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" featured MC Skat Kat.. sounds like him on backing vocals and it would have been hilarious.

  2. Not really familiar with the later Paula Albums... or early Nirvana. Nevermind was the first album I bought. Still a classic after all of these years. Love that customs you made (especially the Nirvana)... and I don't think I've ever seen Paula look as good as she does on card #28.

  3. I didn't even realize that Dave Grohl wasn't on "Love Buzz" or Bleach. The Nirvana card looks really good; if it were really in the set, that would be worth a lot, or at least it would have been worth a lot at some point.

  4. Pretty sure I have Spellbound on cassette somewhere. I had forgotten all about it until you listed tracks and I remembered every single one of them.

  5. No comments on Paula Abdul but I really liked Nirvana's "Bleach" - especially "About A Girl" and "School." My best friend in high school was a huge Nirvana fan and I was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan at the time so we quizzed each other on our faves. Thanks to that I can name a Nirvana drummer other than Dave Grohl (Chad Channing, I forget the others), their first single ("Love Buzz" - awesome track) and I used to know the cost of producing the album. It was something insanely low, like $700. 

  6. I've always been a fan of that Paula card with that photo. Love the auto card as well. Nice pickup. Was always a fan of her as she was in her prime in my younger years.

    You did well on the overlay. The Nirvana card is pretty cool looking actually. Great job.