Shut Up and Dance

Watch Virgin Records build — with no effort — on Paula Abdul’s success. Watch them release a second Abdul album, containing electronically altered versions of seven of the 10 songs from her all-conquering, super-multiplatinum debut, Forever Your Girl. Savor the one new item, cannily titled ”1990 Medley Mix,” which is stitched together from snips of the seven remixes. Watch the new album sell. See the money pour in.

Or don’t be so cynical. Remixing is an art; enjoy the reconceived Abdul for everything she’s worth. Abdul on her own sounds girlish. Abdul remixed sounds like someone let her wander off in a world much bigger and more dangerous than she is.

Her harmless melodies, slotted in against these unrelenting dance beats, turn into hapless versions of themselves. She sounds toyed with, mocked, spun around. One remix — of ”Straight Up” — even trashes one of her girlish questions: ”Straight up, now tell me if you’re really going to love me forever,” she asks. ”No way, girlie,” the remix seems to say, sassing her with noises as brutal as thousand-pound weights clanging together.

The concluding medley sounds stranger than the other remixes; parts of it had to be sped up or slowed down to get all the songs dancing at the same speed. But it does give Abdul the last laugh — literally. ”Girl, don’t play the fool, now,” she says, right at the end. (The words are sampled from ”Cold Hearted.”) Then she giggles. That’s all, folks! Who’s fooling whom? These remixes are 10 times trashier than the original songs — and 10 times as much fun.

Shut Up and Dance
  • Music