Paula Abdul warns another girl about her callous ex-boyfriend in the hammy “Cold Hearted.”
Watchful keyboards open the single, setting a whimsical tone. The chorus starts the song. In it, she spots a girl with her ex-boyfriend. She tells her that take a look at the guy’s soulless eyes. He can’t be trusted. He will hit on any woman that breathes and doesn’t believe in treating a woman right. She tells the girl not to be taken in by his charms.
“He’s a cold-hearted snake/Look into his eyes/Oh oh oh/He’s been tellin’ lies/He’s a lover boy at play/He don’t play by the rules/Oh oh oh/Girl don’t play the fool, no.”
In the first verse, she explains what happened to her. The relationship is one-sided with the girl paying attention to his wants and needs. However, once he has the girl’s trust, he will make any excuse. He will spend time with his friends, flirting with other women at parties and bars. He will have the girl breaking dates with her friends or changing the way she looks to get his approval. She asks his new girlfriend, who is dismissing what she is saying, if she believes he actually does care about her.
” You’re the one givin’ up the love/Anytime he needs it/But you turn your back and then he’s off and runnin’ with the crowd/You’re the one to sacrifice/Anything to please him/Do you really think he thinks about you when he’s out.”
The chorus is sung again.
The watchful keyboards have a solo.
In the second verse, the girl says that he gave her a call and asked her what she was up to. Abdul says he was out at 3 a.m. drinking with his friends and making out with another girl. He was only seeing if she was suspicious of him yet. He doesn’t believe in steady relationships. For him, love doesn’t exist.
“It was only late last night/He was out there sneakin’/Then he called you up to check that you were waiting by the phone/All the world’s a candy store/He’s been trick or treatin’/When it comes to true love girl with him there’s no one home.”
The chorus is sung again.
The watchful keyboards return for the bridge. Defiant drum machines join in. Abdul tells the girl she’s too good for him. She should be out looking for a guy who will love her back. He will only hurt her and make her bitter. He’s not going to change.
“You could find somebody better girl/He could only make you cry/You deserve somebody better/He’s c-cold as ice.”
Over flamboyant strings, Abdul whispers “he’s c-cold as ice” several times. Then, the defiant drum machine accompanies her as she says the he’s a cold hearted. She hisses during the word “snake.
“He’s c-cold as ice/He’s c-cold as ice/Stay away from him, girl!/C-c-cold hearted, ooh ooh ah/C-c-cold hearted sss-snake/!/C-c-cold hearted, ooh ooh ah/C-c-cold hearted sss-snake.”
The chorus is sung twice to end the single.
In “Cold Hearted,” Abdul is the scorned ex-girlfriend with a mission. Tell every girl that crosses his path that he’s a jerk. Hopefully, that girl will tell her group of friends and so forth. She’s going to take him down by word of mouth.
The single is not afraid to be over the top, which is its charm. It takes the snake metaphor as far as it can. His moves are described more predatory than human in the single. Abdul vocals are slithery and cool. But it’s the hissing in the bridge that makes the single a classic. It’s so ridiculous and cheesy that it’s endearing.
“Cold Hearted” may not be the best written song or even the best sung. However, it’s an unbelievably entertaining listen.