HIStory starts with fifteen greatest hits, and has the curse that only genius can suffer; there aren't enough! Where is Smooth Criminal, Will You Be There, Leave Me Alone, Who Is It... Some greatest hits albums resort to fillers, but HIStory Begins could have been bigger and better and still left you complaining that it wasn't enough!
HIStory Continues, the second disc, has fifteen new tracks, inlcuding the cover of the Beatles' Come Together, previously only available as a B-side to the Remember The Time single. It's slightly more hit-and-miss than his last two albums; of Bad's eleven tracks, nine were released as singles - how's that for quality? But the best songs on the album are among his best ever. Scream is a monumental comeback single. While it was expected he would brush the recent controversies under the carpet, here he is at his angry best, fighting back. The same can be said of They Don't Care About Us, and potential buyers should be aware that the alleged anti-semitism is a myth. Here, any racist words that appear in the lyrics are used to show the stupidity of racism, not to endorse it. Stranger in Moscow is his most adult song to date, a beautiful and haunting ballad that shows how far this album has moved from his 80s heyday. These first three tracks are by far the best on the album, but there are other highlights: the title track is a messy epic; Childhood is MJ at his most open and honest; Tabloid Junkie and 2Bad kick ass; and Earth Song doesn't need anything more written about it!
His previous albums had a little more balance between the best and the slightly-less-best songs, but this is the most important album Michael Jackson has made. It has an honesty in the lyrics which makes his earlier work seem slightly empty, and will make you realise that "King of Pop" is too narrow a title for this guy. I would recommend this album to everyone. The greatest hits and the new tracks are stunning.