Adore has taken this album in an alternative rock direction, breaking away from the more traditional pop that we’ve seen from her in the past. When Yahoo interviewed her recently, Adore said about Whatever, “I just wanted the kids to have something to be fun and dance around with and be angry about. It’s important to be angry and paint the town red sometimes. … I feel like there’s a lot of angry kids that need to have some type of stuff to get crazy with, like punch a hole in your wall. … Sometimes you do need to question society, you do need to question your parents, you do need to question the media. There is a lot of things right now that are going on that you do need to question, and I hopefully put that into this music.”
Sublime sounds from the always-amazing Ahmed Abdul-Malik – a jazz bassist at heart, but also a musician with a great ear for Eastern instrumentation as well! Ahmed cut a few key records at the end of the 50s and start of the 60s – and this spellbinding set may well be one of his strongest – a set that moves past some of the more gimmicky use of exotic instrumentation on other albums, and focuses on a jazzy core that really shines strongly on the album's long tracks! There's still a nice sense of the East on the record – thanks to Hamza Aldeen's oud – but the set also features great jazz solos from Seldon Powell on flute and tenor, and the great Ray Nance on both cornet and violin. Drummer Walter Perkins plays with a fluid style that's perfect for the date – and pianist Paul Neves has a lyrical approach to piano that works wonders for the groove.
In the wake of Madonna's success, many dance-pop divas filled the charts, but out of them all, Paula Abdul was the only one who sustained a career. The former L.A. Lakers cheerleader and choreographer scored her first hit in 1989, when "Straight Up" shot to Billboard's number one spot, becoming the first of four U.S. chart-toppers from her 1988 debut, Forever Your Girl; the others were "Forever Your Girl," "Cold Hearted," and "Opposites Attract," each earning a gold certification from the RIAA. This success laid the groundwork for her second act as a judge on American Idol, the televised singing competition that began in 2002 and kept Abdul in the spotlight throughout the decade.