125 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2005
Why there had to be another Michael Jackson Best of-album with a similar tracklist as "History", "Greatest Hits", "Number Ones" and "The Ultimate Collection" remains an open question. But in contrast to the Box Set this album is a lot less expensive. So if you like "The Jackson 5", "The Jacksons" and Michael as a solo artist this is the ideal collection of songs.
The first CD starts off peppy with "I want you back", "ABC" and "The love you save" which are without a doubt the three best songs of the "Jackson 5" and will surely put you in a good mood.
"Got to be there" and "Ben" are two timeless ballads which show young Michael's enormous volume. After that the album is taken to another level by a row of sensational dancefloor tracks like "Shake Your Body" and Michael's first ultimate worldwide hit "Don't stop 'til you get enough", which will truly get every party going. Nevertheless the album even manages to beat this with the never-to-be-beaten baseline of "Billie Jean" and the immensely powerful "Beat It".
The second CD presents seven hits from "Bad" including the fantastic "Man in the Mirror" and the catchy "Smooth Criminal".
This is followed by Michael's biggest hit of the 90s "Black or White" and further great songs from the "Dangerous"-album. Among them classics like the tremendously groovy "Who is it" and the bombast-ballade "Will you be there".
Fortunately the album also includes the two undoubtedly best songs from the "History"-album. The irresistible, furious finale of "Earth Song" is probably the most emotional and most rousing piece of music ever put on CD. Not without reason did the song remain on top of the charts for 7 weeks. The original percussive and guitar-driven "They don't care about us" is no less fabulous.
To sum it up, on this album every great song is followed by another smash and it thereby shows an immense variety of music. The two CDs undenieably demonstrate that most of Jackson's songs are surely timeless. Therefore "The Essential Michael Jackson" is the ultimate album for everyone who likes good music. There is no better.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
From the stirring opening of I Want You Back this collection will hook you, this is the only collection of Michael Jackson's entire career and demonstrates with great clarity why he was the self styled "King of Pop" before the media circus and the Prince of Perversion.
The urgency of the opening three Jackson 5 songs is astonishing, and the delivery and phrasing of an eight year old boy prodigious. I'm not so keen on the treble of ballads that pass the time until the disco fuelled Jacksons hits, which are again peerless pop. The solo career from Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough right through to Smooth Criminal are more polished peerless pop from when he ruled the world.
The collection does drop from this rarified air but even the later songs are better than you might remember.
The only genuine full career retrospective of a formerly great artist. Magical you will know every song and nearly every word.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2009
Released in 2005, this is most certainly the collection that covers Michaels entire career. Starting with the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on Disc 1, moving through his early solo career with the beautiful "Ben" and the quirky "Rockin Robin" we then move onto his teenage years with the Jacksons "Shake Your Body" and "Blame It On The Boogie". We are then brought on his solo career again with the 4 mega-hits from his Off The Wall album. Back to the Jacksons again for the big hit "Can You Feel It". No less than 6 tracks from the biggest selling album of all time "Thriller" come next, before we finish off Disc 1 with the lovely "I Just Cant Stop Loving You" and of course "Thriller" itself. Disc 2 kicks in with "Bad" and we have another 7 tracks from the album too, including the wonderful "Dirty Diana" and "The Way You Make Me Feel", before we move onto 6 tracks from the "Dangerous" album including my favourites, the guitar driven "Black Or White", the gorgeous ballad "Heal The World" and the beautiful "Will You Be There". To finish off this outstanding collection we have the ballad "You Are Not Alone", "Earth Song", the drum driven anthem "They Don't Care About Us" and to finish with, from his final album "Invincible" we have "You Rock My World". You cannot get more comprehensive than this collection, so if you are looking for an album that covers Michaels entire career (and not just the obvvious tracks) then you cannot go wrong with this. The only question I ask is why "One Day In Your Life" was missed off. A small gripe though and a track you can find elsewhere. Remember Michael with this wonderful album!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2013
Like all the MJ collections out there, this double-disc collection is missing some tracks. As this is an American release, non-US singles such as 'Give in to Me', 'Gone Too Soon', 'History', 'Ghosts', and 'Cry' are understandable to be missing; but where are 'Jam', 'Stranger in Moscow', 'Butterflies', 'Blood on the Dance Floor', 'One More Chance', and most notably, 'Say Say Say' and 'Scream'? How about his featured songs such as 'Somebody's Watching Me', 'Centipede', and of course, 'We Are the World'? Besides, considering his other non-US singles such as 'Earth Song' and 'Leave Me Alone' are present, omission of aforementioned songs are unforgivable. Maybe a three-disc collection with all these songs included would do some justice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2009
Michael Jackson produced so many wonderful songs during his career that it is would be difficult to say what is "Essential" or the "Greatest Hits" but this collection really does a splendid job of putting together the songs that are truly the Essentials.
From his beginnings, with the must have Jackson 5 songs "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save" and "Got To Be There" and a very good selection from "Thriller", to the hits from his earlier solo career and his last solo albums, you will have a hard time finding a song that you would want to hear that is missing.
They have put together a very good representation of the almost 40 songs that truly are Essential.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2011
Michael Jackson was, and still is, one of the most talked about personalities in the history of popular culture. From the moment he burst onto the scene with the Jackson 5, to his tragic death, he always had the ability to remain in the spotlight.
Whatever personal opinions of Michael Jackson are, one thing is hard to dispute; the man made some incredible music. If The Beatles pioneered popular music, Jackson reinvented it, and did so with a style and suave that many have imitated, but none have even come close to matching.
This double CD is an appreciation of his work, with his most famous and well received tracks included. I figured I'd give a quick summary of each song complete with a rating (hey I review wrestling shows, it's in my nature)
1. I Want You Back - The first big breakout song for Michael, and one of the Jackson 5's best. ****
2. ABC - Perhaps the Jackson 5's most iconic song. Simplistic but lots of fun. ***1/2
3. The Love You Save - A pretty underrated track. Not as good as the previous two, but still good. ***
4. Got To Be There - A nice little song, but not one of my favourites, and not particularly memorable. **1/2
5. Rockin Robin - Another classic that's been covered many times. The Jackson cover is probably my favourite though. ***1/2
6. Ben - One of young MJ's most acclaimed songs, but personally I've never thought it was that great. **3/4
7. Blame it on the Boogie - Probably THE Jackson 5 song, a great song with a great tempo. ****
8. Shake Your Body - Another underrated gem. ***3/4
9. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - The signature track from Off The Wall, and one of Jackson's most iconic songs. ****
10. Off The Wall - Was never a big fan of this, but it has grown on me somewhat recently. Not one of the best though. ***1/2
11. Rock With You - One of my favourite Jackson songs. I love the tempo to the song and it works incredibly well. ****1/4
12. She's Out Of My Life - And from the awesome to the...not. It's not a bad song, just a little bland for my taste. **1/2
13. Can You Feel It - Probably my favourite Jackson 5 song, and one of the most well known songs of all time. ****
14. The Girl Is Mine - You wouldn't think Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney teaming up would be so uninspiring, but it kind of is. Say Say Say was much better. **1/4
15. Billie Jean - One of the absolute greatest songs of all time, and the song that made Jackson a worldwide star. *****
16. Beat It - Probably my second favourite MJ song. Not as good as Billie Jean technically, but I personally prefer it. ****3/4
17. Wanna Be Starting Something - Another classic from Thriller. Somewhat overlooked sometimes, but still great. ****
18. Human Nature - Nothing particularly special, but another fine song. Decent change of pace after the previous three songs. ***1/2
19. PYT - Never cared much for this one. Good song no doubt, but nothing about it makes me admire it. ***
20. I Just Can't Stop Loving You - I used to love this when I first heard it, now I'm not as keen. Still good though ***
21. Thriller - THE Michael Jackson song. Probably also the biggest song of all time. Not MJ's best ever, but damn incredible. ****1/2
1. Bad - This song would probably suck if someone other than Michael was singing it, but he somehow makes it work. ****
2. The Way You Make Me Feel - A pop love song done right. Modern day boy bands should take note here. ****
3. Man In The Mirror - Probably Michael's best slow song, full of emotion and plenty of meaning. ****1/4
4. Dirty Diana - Another great song from Bad, my personal favourite MJ album. ***3/4
5. Another Part Of Me - Doesn't match the heights of previous songs, but still holds its own quite well. ***1/2
6. Smooth Criminal - My absolute favourite Michael Jackson song. Something about it just makes me want to get up and dance everytime I hear it. Timeless. *****
7. Leave Me Alone - This one is okay. I thought the idea was kind of silly, but the song is pretty good. ***1/4
8. Black Or White - One of Michael's more famous songs. I do think it's a little overrated, but still very good. ***3/4
9. Remember The Time - This one gets overlooked somewhat, but it doesn't do much to stand out from the crowd. ***1/4
10. In The Closest - Never cared for this much either. Run of the mill. ***
11. Who Is It - Almost the same as above. ***
12. Heal The World - Another good slow song with a nice message. Not as good as MITM, but still good. ***1/2
13. Will You Be There - Probably more famous for being in Free Willy than anything. Nothing particularly special. **3/4
14. You Are Not Alone - Probably my least favourite song on the entire collection. Yes really. I know people like this song, but it does nothing for me. I like the message, but never cared for the song. **
15. Earth Song - A lot of people aren't keen on this song, but I think it's alright. Not a fan of the length though. ***
16. They Don't Care About Us - Meh, not bad. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of passion in the lyrics though. **3/4
17. You Rock My World - Well at least we go out on a high. Pretty darn good, if not up to the quality of other signature songs. ***3/4
Phew! So there we go. I know it may seem odd doing star ratings for songs, because songs are totally subjective, but these are just an indication of how much I like each song. My ratings are totally my opinion, and I'm sure people will disagree. As for the track listing, on the whole it's pretty good. I could have done without The Girl Is Mine and In The Closet, and it's disappointing that Jam wasn't included, but overall it's a perfect portrayal of Michael's career.
Michael was certainly one of a kind in music. After starting out in the business moderately, he exploded with great song after great song, before losing some of his spark later on and almost going into autopilot by the end. Make no mistake though, he's responsible for some of the most well known and beloved songs of all time, and whether you like him or not, his legacy will certainly live on.
on 22 January 2015
I purchased this album back in May 2014 (Now January 2015) and thought I should share how amazing this album is. I was never a huge fan of music, and although I knew who MJ was, I'd never shown an interest in his music, but after hearing a hit from the Xscape album on the radio and deciding I liked it I thought I'd take a listen to his greatest songs buy purchasing this album.
I was hooked straight away and had it on repeat 24/7, having never really taken an interest to music at all it was wonderful to experience all of these songs in detail for the first time. Even my mum cannot help but enjoy it and she isn't the biggest MJ fan. Every song has something in it which makes it unique to listen to, I cannot say which is my favourite because it is simply too difficult to decide, there is a song which fits every mood. All I can say is that I'm disappointed I never took an interest when I was younger.
Since purchasing this album I went on to buy Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, Invincible and Xscape and the only complaint I can have is that the Essentials album doesn't contain enough of his fantastic work! (Obviously there is an exception for the Xscape album). To me this suggests it's a great starting point for his music, there is a great combination of tracks from all his albums and the best hits when performing as the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons.
I would recommend this collection of songs to anybody because they really are outstanding - To think one artist did all this work is amazing. I am sure not even the biggest MJ fans would be gripped to it and like me, go on to build a collection of his work and become a fan.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2009
For someone who, like me, was a huge fan of Jackson's singles, but not as keen on his album work, this is the perfect compilation. There are numerous other MJ compliations - `Number Ones' and the `King of Pop' which are both single disc, to the more expansive `The Collection' and `The Ultimate Collection', both comprising of five discs. I find the former to be too slim though, missing a crucial number of hits, while the latter contain a lot of outtakes and unreleased songs aimed more at die-hard fans.
`The Essential Michael Jackson', with two discs, seems to be the only collection wide enough to include nearly all of his biggest hits, but not so large that it contains fillers and extras. All the tracks, with one or two exceptions, are in chronological order, beginning with some of the Jackson 5 hit singles, through to The Jacksons, leaving about three quarters of the CDs for the best of his solo work. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the songs come from his three most successful albums - Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous.
Some Jackson fans may complain that it doesn't include enough songs from History (3) and Invincible (1), but then this is more of a hits collection than a true career retrospective. Of course, with MJ's recent death, there may be a flurry of compilations which manage to do this better in the near future, but for now, those looking for the essential MJ shouldn't look further than here.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2011
There are many michael jackson greatest hits but this one i find most comprensive.Following his early days in the jackson 5 to is solo career all the mega hits are here- it plays like a soundtrack to all our lives.
Mr jackson was a iconic talent both musically and in the dance arena it would be a shame for music fans not to enjoy is legacy has it is a rich one. Forget the storys and the lies and sillyness, enjoy what made him the true god given superstar.
This cd is 2 disc and is beutiful in its presentation and great booklet.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2009
Ai the time of writing the news of Michaels death is just Devastating and thats one of the reasons for not missing this essential collection.Every track is as fresh as it's first release and shows that Michael didn't pander to trends.
This is the sound of a genious at work and shows what a musical treasure we have lost.Buy
this collection-a masterpiece of classic tunes that is a fine legacy from a musician who was taken from us far too soon.A must for anyone who knows what good music is!