“The Promise Of A New Day”

’90s No. 1s Revisited: “The Promise Of A New Day”

The forty-fifth No. 1 song of the 1990s was “The Promise Of A New Day” by Paula Abdul. This would be Abdul’s sixth and final chart-topping single, reaching the summit only two months after “Rush Rush” ended its five-week run on top. “Promise” saw Abdul return to her Forever Your Girl comfort zone — upbeat music that let Abdul show off her talent for choreography and dance performance.

Among the more distinct qualities of “Promise” is its hard-to-miss percussion arrangement, which is aggressive, relenting and, as it happens, loved by us. It has a peppy, heart-racing quality that suits the song’s optimism.

Give “The Promise Of A New Day” a fresh listen:

What a great song. One of the things that made Abdul such a special and interesting artist was her consistent willingness to explore sounds, production styles and arrangements that were somewhat risky. Structurally, this is an odd song. It doesn’t really have a proper chorus; it consists of verses that lead into playful repetition of the the title, with the vocal melody line consistent but against variations of the underlying instrumental. Then it moseys into a bridge-like section, and back again. It’s also lyrically more philosophical than one would expect of a pop tune. And, in keeping with “Rush Rush,” the vocal performance is superior. All around it adds up to an exciting, original, beautiful number.

Was it dope? Yes, and Abdul looked great in this video, especially under the waterfall.

Does it hold up? This track doesn’t sound like what’s released today, but quite honestly it didn’t sound like what was released in 1991 either. So we say, yes, it does.

Dopeness: 5 out of 5 Brirkenstocks

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thepromiseofanewday
Paula Abdul
“The Promise Of A New Day”
1 week at No. 1, starting Sept. 14, 1991
Preceded by: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” Bryan Adams
Followed by: “I Adore Mi Amor,” Color Me Badd

’90s No. 1s Revisited is a regular feature on “Was It Dope?” where we walk through every No. 1 song of the 1990s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in order, give it another listen, and answer two critical questions: Was it dope? And does it hold up?

 – John
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