on 26 March 2004
This review is a little late in comming, but i recently listened to George's new album patience and i feel i have to compare the two as they are of a similar vibe.
Older is George Michaels best work. I would rate it as the best album of the 90's but most of the songs are pretty timeless anyway. Jesus to a child, the opening track of 7mins long is a classic it doesnt drag at all, its just a great melody. The album then gets slightly more jazzy and upbeat with Fastlove and Spinning the wheel. Which perfectly compliment the move back into the more sombre songs such as Older and You Have Been Loved.
Its the kind of album you just basically chill out to, my favourate place to listen to it is on my frequent long journerys on the motorways. If your new to George Michael and you dont know which album to sample, choose this one. Patience goes much too deep as far as lyrics are concered, the effort is there in that album but he just doesnt pull it off as well as Older.
on 20 September 2005
'Last Christmas' has always been my absolute favourite holiday-season song ... from the time I was 7! But I had never entertained the thought that George Michael was such an accomplished and serious musician ... until I bought Older.
The music blew me away and has left me with memories of that first time when I heard the songs on this album. The melodies were so soulful and deep. You want to listen to it alone the first time to truly appreciate the intense rhythms and different instruments.
Special mention for these tracks: Jesus To A Child, Spinning The Wheel, Older & You Have Been Loved.
on 16 November 2006
He's always been a bit of a quandry for people has George Michael. There's no denying the mans almost effortless talent, his ability to carefully craft songs that have become in many ways the soundtrack to millions of peoples lives right across the world. But like all genius's George Michael is flawed and his now infamous episode in a Los Angeles public restroom and his late night run ins with the law or the paparazi on Hampstead Heath recently have become easy tabloid material with which to try and kill off (now they smell blood)a career that at one point seemed unstoppable. It's a shame that a few mishaps have become the things that a lot of people(but not all by any means)will remember George Michael for. But love him or loathe him he is what he is and like it or not, he comfortabley takes his place at the very top of the pile of British recording artist. Becoming the most played artist on British radio in the past 20 years is no accident. He does not and will not pander to the masses, he proved this with his 1990 release, Listen Without Predjudice, which is now rightly held up as a modern classic, a lesson in pop sensibilities if you will.He makes music his way, ya takes it or ya leaves it, if it doesn't chart he doesn't seem to care, a true artist then.
He has written, arranged, produced, and played the bulk of the instruments on this album, Older, like he does on all his albums, not many artist can lay claim to that these days. Quite how he found the time to write such instant classics while he was suing Sony is a mystery, but by golly, you'll be so glad he did.
The album kicks off with possibly the greatest ballad he has ever written-Jesus To A Child. It's slow rythmic and lyrically way beyond anything the average pop or R&B star churns out today. It succeeds so spectacularly because it is so personal,it gives us a window into the sorrow felt at the loss of his lover. Far from a happy song it deals with death,grief,and mourning but with hope too. It may be a slow song dealing with a very personal subject matter but as with all George Michael songs there is a strong melody and some lovely instrumentation. Some would say his finest hour.
This album is a much darker affair than LWP and nothing like FAITH, but he still shows us he's owns a pair of dancing shoes with the wonderful Fastlove, it's the kind of feel good sun's out window down track we all love in the summer time. "In the absence of security, I make my way into the night" and we almost wish we could along too, the accompanying video became an instant smash on MTV with its futuristic and sexy imagery, not to mention George dancing under an over head power shower at the end complete with shades,and looking like he's having the time of his life. A cheeky sample of Patrice Rushen's Forget Me Not's is used in the final third of the track and it works so incredibly well, this was a good few years before Will Smith sampled it on Men In Black, again, as with a lot of his work,George was way ahead of the game here. The other dance track on here is Star People, here we see George having a scornful dig at all those stars desperate for fame and money, "how much is enough?" and "get yourself some Oprah cash" appropriate in this celebrity obsessed age we seem to live in.
One of his biggest hits off this album was Spinning The Wheel, a masterclass in contempory pop, mid-tempo, with an infectious almost hypnotic backing track and George showing off the falsetto range in his diverse voice it's not hard to see why it was such a hit with fans and other music listeners alike. Another strong track here is You Have Been Loved, a touching ballad sang with utter perfection, his phrasing produces an instrument all of its own. "You brushed my eyes with angels wings/Full of love/The kind that makes devil's cry" it's the type of ballad that every pop pretender up to and including Robbie Williams wishes they could write. It's glaringly obvious from this one song alone that when it comes to artist with a true understanding of how to craft a song George is out there on his own. Few (if any) from his generation and certainly none from the generation after have the ability to write a song like You Have Been Loved, it's so good it will go over most peoples heads.
The title track Older is another example of George not writing for mass approval. It's quite a stark but beautiful song about waking up one day and realising you no longer feel the same about your lover, you have changed and they have stood still, "change is a stranger you have yet to know" and "you're out of time, I'm letting go, you'll be fine, that much I know". The production here as with the whole album is straight out of the top drawer, it also has a wonderful trumpet solo that is easy to get lost in.
I won't list and critique every track here for two reasons.
1. It would take too much time.
2. I always like a few surprises when I buy an album.
George Michael shows with this album that he oozes talent with a capital T. You won't be disappointed in purchasing this as it is well worth the money and in not too many years time it will rightly be considered as the best album of the 90s. He advanced in strides on Listen Without Prejudice and here he simply grows more and reminds us all of his greatest asset, his wonderfully versatile voice. Anyone liking adult contempory pop/R&B/Soul/Funk/Jazz will appreciate this album for the music alone, but you also get the added bonus of George Michael being a formidable vocalist.
But don't take my word for it.
on 8 May 2005
I first heard this CD, borrowed from a friend, on long bus rides through India and Nepal. Its story of love lost, grief and recovery is written so beautifully, so intimately, I could never put it away. I must have listened to it 20 times. 5 years after that trip to Asia I am STILL listening to this CD and loving every second of it. Timeless. Gorgeous.
Reading the reviews posted here, one word really rang true about this album, that word is 'timeless'. Nothing could describe this album in it's entirety better. I first listened to this album in 1996 when it came out, i was only 8 at the time. I must have stopped listening to it in 1998, or thereabouts, and I found my old CD about two weeks ago. This album is so powerful, and the lyrics are written in such a way as it nearly made me break down and cry, being a current great fan of the likes of Muse and Korn, finding this album was a great relief.
Now without getting too emotional I could only say that this is as close to a masterpiece as they get, no album I have ever listened to before has had an impact on me as much as Older.
Coming back to the word 'Timeless', this album has that long lasting hold on you, as I proved, listening to it with even greater fondness nearly ten years later. I practically grew up with this album and I couldn't say there would be a better album to grow up to, and without sounding like I endorse Mr. Michael himself, buy this album. You will not regret it. In fact, now I know this is completely opinion based but in the light of the discussion I have to say Jesus to a Child, and You Have Been Loved are the best songs I have ever heard, lyrically they are perfect. Period. No one could have written or performed them better, but the same goes without a doubt, to the rest of the album.
This is undoubtbly the best album of the nineties. And I would not doubt the century, I may be a very old man before I hear anything quite rivalling this. Thank you.
on 8 August 2002
In light of the negative press George Michael has received lately for his 'Shoot the Dog' release I felt compelled to write an editorial on 'Jesus To A Child' which without doubt in a mass consensus would proove to be his seminal work.
'Jesus to a Child' and 'You have been loved' deal with loss of life and love in a way no other artist has been able to convey and evokes powerful emotions upon listening to. Its a sad irony that an album dealing with death and the aftermath of bereavement would be what happened in effect to his career after this album, a musical equivalent of Van Gogh chopping his ear off after creating his ultimate masterpiece.
The title track 'Older' is also a beautifully composed and written piece of music, citing his paranoia at lost youth and a sarcastic slant on aging. This is a fantastic album from a fantastic artist who deserves to be an icon for generations for his talent NOT his sexuality or political opinion, John Lennon was one of the most talented musicians of our times and was a paragon of political virtue to the masses, I am trying to say that George Michaels music is his political statement and this album is its loudest voice, as he once said....Listen without prejudice !
on 6 June 2003
Forget any prejudices or preconceptions about George Michael, buy this album and marvel at a wonderful set of beautifully laid back tracks that combine quite marvellous singing, thought provoking lyrics, superb playing, tight arrangements, cleverly understated productions and unforgettable melodies. And... once hooked, as you will be, take time to read the sleeve notes to understand the depth of talent involved here. Not only are all songs on the album written, arranged and produced by George Michael but, he plays all, or virtually all, of the instruments on 9 of its 11 tracks!
Few artists can sing with such clarity and beauty, few can write with such lyrical and melodic depth, few can produce & arrange with such creative and sensitive care and few dare release a record where they play all the instruments involved. In twenty years time this will, if plaudits are laid where they deserve, be recognised as a timeless classic. In the meantime enjoy this album for what it is... a brilliant example of a superbly multi-talented artist at the peak of his powers
on 9 May 2006
Music like this is special . Came out in 1996 and listened to it for a full year and still cant stop.One thing about this album for me is that it is eerily related to Princess diana and dodi fayed and the terrible consequences of august 1997,in fact i thought it strange being written before the tragedy that GM had prophesized something here ,only after 1997 i noticed in the inlay book it had been devoted to someone elses death.Cannot wipe this album out of my mind however much i would like not too.This is working music ,driving music,chilling music ,lonely music and sad music .It is everything anyone would want from an album.