I’ll get this out of the way early on. Paula Abdul‘s debut album Forever Your Girl was the first record I ever bought. Even as a ridiculously misguided nine year old boy I knew that ‘Straight Up’ was an absolute banger. Jesus, and that video? Think I even recall trying to copy the dance moves when I was ‘alone in my room’ also.
Now let’s get this straight. ‘So Free’ is by no means Paula Abdul’s “return”. We’re not going to see a greatest hits package hit the stores, arena tours and a plethora of TV appearances. This little musical comeback is way more dignified than that, which makes the song and her appearance all that sweeter. See, Paula is merely a friend of Shine 2009′s label Cascine and a genuine fan of the band. The collaboration was a very natural occurrence. And with that, it makes sense that her vocals aren’t pushed to the forefront – this isn’t her song. She’s just visiting.
We’ve spoken in depth about Finnish duo Shine 2009, so you won’t need us to tell you that they practice in a type of music that defies current trends and production technique. They’re like a snap shot of the late 80s / early 90s New York dance scene; a forgotten relic from the Sleeping Bag Records stable when Mantronix and Kariya ruled the world. They may straddle the past, but there’s no doe eyed reminiscence at play here – everything is filtered through a fresh vision, almost glacial in delivery. Like Paula, they’re just visiting.
Which, ultimately is what makes ‘So Free’ so special. There’s no attempt to make Abdul more contemporary, or even hip. There’s no need. ‘So Free’ taps into the Forever Your Girl period so effortlessly that we could well be listening to something pulled straight out of Now That’s What I Call Music volume 17 (released May 1990, I still have the cassette).
Shine 2009′s debut album Realism is set for release via Cascine on May 3. Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl is eternally available via Amazon. ‘So Free’ is available as a digital download via Boomkat now.