Workin’ For The Weekend: Oklahoma City at Texas “Straight Up”

Paula Abdul was widely considered a fabricated pop star. A Laker girl, dancer, and choreographer, sometime in the mid to late 80’s Ms. Abdul forced her way into our hearts. Unlike most paint-by-number pop acts that every decade brings us, Paula worked hard. Recorded demo after demo after demo, many passed on her husky, untrained vocals. That is until they saw her dance. In a pre-YouTube world, MTV was the way you sold your brand, and Abdul was notorious for doing so. She owned the screen with her smolder, the seismic dancing, and rhythmic beats that made me a roller blade gangster – it was pure pop tart heaven.

The run of singles from 1988 to 1990 that featured “Forever Your Girl”, “Cold Hearted”, and “Opposites Attract” was kicked off by the late 80’s club banger, “Straight Up”.

The synthetic horns are marvelous late 80’s glory. When Casio keyboards were sorta outdated but still really cool in my basement, the Elliott Wolff penned dance track (would later again work with Abdul, Color Me Badd, and Atlantic Starr) was in regular rotation on virtually every radio dial from Florida to Florence. The accompanied video, and aura of Ms. Abdul, would lead her to become one of the most successful American female artists in history. Six number ones is teetering on Diana, Mariah, Celine, Whitney land – which is incredible when you understand how long the careers of those ladies has lasted.

“Straight Up” holds up as the nostalgic track that it is because of that hook, oh that glorious hook. And although the reputation of Abdul and the legacy of her music is slightly tainted by American Idol days where she again became tabloid fodder, the body of work is fun, if not entirely progressive.

She’s asking her part time companion, straight up, is this about love or is it something else. Are we going to move forward together or apart. Cohesion being her preference. Uncertainty being his.

The Oklahoma City Barons travel to Cedar Park, Texas for a day-before-Thanksgiving gobbler of the Western Conference. Texas, being the sturdy fence of farm play, has ridden a bit of an up and down streak of late, but they still nestle themselves into the second slot in the West Division where Abbotsford is still far and away the best team in the Western Conference. This places Texas at number four in the Conference where they are a force themselves.

Meanwhile the Barons become increasingly gangly looking, but still fully capable when all cylinders are firing. The team hasn’t won back to back games since mid October, and recently coming off a rough and tumble win at Lake Erie, they will boldly go forward to make that stat line change.

Having split the two games played this season with Texas, you can bet the Stars will be ready. Nilstorp in net, Sceviour alive and well, Travis Morin white hot, and Chris Mueller coming on strong – the Stars are a team fully built to last.

The Barons are still gelling so to speak, and if by Thanksgiving day you haven’t fully congealed, then you might want to find a way to do so and quickly. Jason LaBarbera will probably get his first start as a Baron with Broissoit playing his back up. No Kessy, no Fyten, no Lizon, and the squad gets heavier on the backend with vets. An interesting problem to have. Steve MacIntyre and Ben Eager, both NHL alumnus, will be in the lineup for OKC, but where remains the question. Third line and below, is my bet, and that is a telling statement both on the career arc of those two players and the placement within the Edmonton Oilers.

Curtis Hamilton continues to make his return to the Barons lineup after ACL surgery, while Ryan Martindale continues to nurse an injury of his own.

The game will be interesting, as these two always have a tendency to be, but can the Barons score against the sharp Texas defense, stingy goaltending, and quickened offense? Straight up? I’m not sure.