Paula Abdul had a bare-bones greatest hits collection as part of the 10 Great Songs series, but she also had a more comprehensive collection in 1997.  Greatest Hits: Straight Up! provides more music from the '80s-'90s singer -- and shows that her musical style didn't change at all from start to finish.

Unlike 10 Great Songs: Paula Abdul, Straight Up! covers all three of Abdul's albums (Forever Your Girl, Spellbound, and Head Over Heels), plus a song from the Beverly Hills 90210 soundtrack.  Like the other collection, though, Straight Up! doesn't offer anything beyond the original songs.  There are no rarities, live versions, or other material not on the original albums

Paula Abdul's success was as much based on her dancing/choreography and sex appeal as on singing and music, and Straight Up! reinforces that.  (It's a shame there's no music video collection of hers instead of a music album.)  Her songs covered the standard radio-friendly range of perky romance ("Forever Your Girl," Opposites Attract"), slow ballads ("Rush, Rush," "Will You Marry Me"), dance tunes ("Straight Up," "Vibeology"), bad guys ("Cold Hearted," "One or the Other") and general optimistic perkiness ("The Promise of a New Day," "It's All About Feelin' Good").  The songs sometimes manage the "fun fluff" type of music, but even the best can't escape the weak lyrics and unexceptional voice of the singer.
Anyone who listened in the music will probably know the biggest hits off Paula Abdul's first albums (whether they want to or not), but anyone hearing them again on Straight Up! will probably be reminded of her limits as a singer, not some forgotten greatness.  And the lesser-known songs -- mostly at the end of the album -- won't add anything to her reputation.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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