Cold Hearted

Album: Forever Your Girl (1988)
Charted: 46 1
Play Video


  • This song finds Abdul warning another girl about a man, letting her know he's a heartless snake. Like all of her hits, it was written by a man: Elliot Wolff wrote it after working with Paula on another one of his songs, "Straight Up." Wolff says he wrote the lyrics by getting in the mindset of a woman.
  • Abdul does some pseudo rapping in this song, which comes off in a distinctive stutter-scat style. When Elliot Wolff demoed the song for her, she told him there was no way she could rap at that pace. She tried, and it wasn't happening. Wolff solved the problem by giving her some unconventional advice: don't worry about saying the words, just the vowels. He wrote it out for her phonetically, so "How come he can tell you're always number one without a doubt" became "ow um ee can ell oor umber un ith out a out."
  • This was Abdul's third consecutive #1 hit. Her first two singles, "Knocked Out" and "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me," were just modest hits, but "Straight Up" was huge, going to #1. After the title track was issued and rose to the top, "Cold Hearted" followed. Abdul scored yet another #1 when "Opposites Attract" hit the top spot.
  • The video was directed by David Fincher, who also did the "Straight Up" and "Forever Your Girl" clips. The video, an homage to the movie Flashdance, made good use of Abdul's skill set, as it shows the former Laker Girl leading a dance routine for some incredulous record executives. Abdul says the video is a tribute to the famous choreographer Bob Fosse and his film All That Jazz.

Comments: 1

  • Chris from Germany That was her time in the late 80s and 90s and she had great luck but also it was the result of hard work and perfect marketing. Great song, great video, great singer and of course good dance routine.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Album Cover Inspirations

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."


LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"They're Playing My Song

A song he wrote and recorded from "sheer spiritual inspiration," Allen's didn't think "Southern Nights" had hit potential until Glen Campbell took it to #1 two years later.

Maxi Priest

Maxi PriestSongwriter Interviews

The British reggae legend tells the story of his #1 hit "Close To You," talks about his groundbreaking Shabba Ranks collaboration "Housecall," and discusses his latest project with Robin Trower.