Sunday, June 28, 2009

Album / Song of the Week: Michael Jackson

It’s been all Michael Jackson, all the time since Thursday. Dug out my copy of Thriller, the special edition CD released in 2001 (not the 25th anniversary reissue, with horrible remixes by “today’s artists”). And after several more listens, piled on to the dozens I had when I was a kid, I can’t say my opinion of Thriller has changed. There are still some surprises (“Human Nature” always thrills, despite sounding like a soulful “Sailing”); a couple clunkers (“The Girl Is Mine,” and its “doggone girl is mine” lyrics, is especially hard to take – should’ve traded with Paul McCartney’s much better duet “Say Say Say”); and some hits beyond measure (“Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Thriller”). Thriller, ultimately for me, is more evocative than it is brilliant, documenting a time when a phenomenon, and a pop star template, was created. It’s not as stunning a work of musical genius as Songs in the Key of Life or What’s Going On. But Thriller, as we’ve been reminded this week, lives on.

Michael Jackson: Billie Jean (Home Demo from 1981)
from Thriller (Special Edition)

And for more new sounds, make sure to subscribe to my latest podcast, JeffMix2009.06.27 (also on iTunes), featuring music from Eels, Jay Reatard, FrankMusik, Wheat, and Master Shortie, among others.

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