Picks and Pans Review: Head Over Heels

updated 07/03/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Paula Abdul

Listening to Abdul's third album—her follow-up to 1991's triple-platinum Spellbound—might make you think the singer's life these past four years has been a picnic. Despite her struggle with bulimia and last year's breakup with actor Emilio Estevez, whom she married in 1992, Abdul sounds frisky and funky. As the titles of two of her many destined-for-aerobics-class tunes put it, "It's All About Feeling Good," so "Get Your Groove On"!

Call it escapist pop, but be thankful Abdul hasn't gone all pensive and gloomy. Angst-driven Sinéad O'Connorisms would sound unconvincing from this wispy-voiced diva. The lovesick tearfulness of "I'm Missing You" and "Cry for Me" is as tortured as she gets. While Abdul remains a somewhat anemic balladeer, she settles comfortably into her narrow range, no longer straining to prove herself like the choreographer turned singer who broke out of obscurity with 1988's Forever Your Girl. But she's best at jumpy workouts like the Middle Eastern-flavored "My Love Is for Real." Sounding husky and positively sexy, she finds a pop persona that really works: the sensual romantic who knows her way around a good groove. (Virgin)

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