Song Review: Paula Abdul – “The Way That You Love Me”

“The Way That You Love Me” was released twice as a single from Paula Abdul’s album, Forever Your Girl. It was released the first time in August 1988 as the second single from the album; however, a remix was released instead of the original song. The original single release for the song only managed to peak at number 88 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After Paula started scoring hits with “Straight Up,” “Forever Your Girl,” and “Cold Hearted,” Paula’s label decided to try promoting “The Way That You Love Me” as a single again. With the re-release, it was released under the title, “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me,” and the version that was released on the single was an edit of the album version of the song. The single was re-issued on September 15, 1989, and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

To be honest, I don’t remember ever hearing the first release of “The Way That You Love Me” on radio; my first memory of hearing Paula Abdul on the radio was when “Straight Up” was released as a single. By the time the single was re-issued, I had heard the song on a copy of the Forever Your Girl CD that my older sister bought. I liked the song on the album, so I obviously enjoyed hearing the song on the radio. I like the message of the song, which is that love is much more important than material things in a relationship. What also makes this song stand out to me is the fact that it was willing to incorporate guitar in a prominent place in the musical arrangement, which wasn’t typical of most songs being made for the late 1980s dance and R&B audiences. The addition of the guitar adds a more aggressive sound that helps to add power to the lyrics that are being sung.

The music video that I know is from the re-release of the single. The video was directed by David Fincher; while it looks nice, it doesn’t have the same theatrical quality that a couple of this other music videos (Madonna’s “Oh Father” and Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun”) have. Some of the visuals are pretty much “on the nose” for some of the lines, while other shots focus on Paula lip-synching the song. But considering the topic of the song, I think Fincher did the best he could with the visuals. And at least the visuals have a connection to the song, and doesn’t include random footage that seems unrelated to the song. While this may not be a great video, it’s not a bad video, either.

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