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4.6 out of 5 stars133
4.6 out of 5 stars
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2000
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.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2003
Michael Jackson's HIStory album is constantly labelled a dissapointment. This has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of music on this album and everything to do with the quality of music on his previous albums. In a nutshell, when you've produced masterpiece's of the quality of Off The Wall, Thriller & Bad, people are always going to shoot down any future releases that don't quite meet the impeccably high standards you've reached as an artist.
HIStory contains two quite separate discs. The first being a collection of 15 of Michael Jackson's greatest solo hits. The second containing his most recent music at time of release. The first album is a retrospective showcase of musical genuis. Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Billie Jean, Beat It, The Way You make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, Black or White, etc, etc, etc. This is quite simply a soundtrack to the popular culture that most of us have been exposed to over the last two decades.
It's the 2nd half of HIStory that can only classed as a "proper" Jackson album and when you consider quite how strong many of the tracks really are, it's unfair to discard this as the beginning of the end for "The King Of Pop". The 15 songs that make up the 2nd disc yet again demonstrates MJ's diversity, with several songs almost impossible to categorise. This is both good and bad. Good becasue none of us want to listen to an album where every songs sounds the same, bad however as some songs quite simply don't fit in with the overall vibe of the album.
Onto the actual songs. They Don't Care About Us and Earth Song are breathtaking. There's not another popular artist around in the world releasing music anywhere near this creative. These songs could quite comfortably be wedged between any of Jackson's more famous classics. This is a legend at his best and whilst some may snipe at the planet-saving theme of Earth Song, you'd be hard pressed to deny it's impact. Scream is a thumping opening track, You Are Not Alone is a stunning ballad, Stranger in Moscow is brilliantly haunting and there's another half-dozen typical Michael Jackson slices of pop. People are split into two camps over the epic title track featuring sound bytes of some of the world's most famous moments in ... history. Take away the glitz of the track though and you are still left with a superbly melodic chorus. Things all turn a bit odd with the disturbing Little Susie and Michael bizarrely ends the album whistling along to Charlie Chaplin's Smile !
Stranger moments aside though, HIStory contains enough superb music to be regarded as a brilliant album. If anyone other than the much-maligned Jackson released this collection I wouldn't be surprised if it scooped award after award. Ignore the back-stabbers, listen to this album and listen to a living legend STILL producing the goods.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 1999
Although I was only 11 when I heard this, I was amazed and being 14 now, I am still amazed. This music is thought provoking and the lyrics are fantastic. You just cannot compare it to anything you hear today. Admittedly it took me a while to apreciate it but once you have, it is great!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2001
This is a great double album! In the first CD there are real classics from Michael, although I would have put some more in there, and the second CD is just amaizing new meterial! You can hear his atitude change in every single song. Earth Song is just beautiful, as is the video made for it, fantastic! I reccomend this album to anyone, fan or no fan!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2000
The legend that is Michael Jackson has proved that he is, without doubt, the KING OF POP!!! This superb compilation has everything a Jackson fan could wish for with such hits as THRILLER and DANGEROUS. There is only one word that can be used to describe this masterpiece by Jackson- SUPERB!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2009
Having only just got into Michael Jackson, and enquired four of the greatest albums ever made ("Off The Wall", "Thriller", "Bad", and "Dangerous"), a long with his mix album, "Blood On The Dance Floor" and "Invincible", and loving every single one of them, I realised I still had one more album to get, his great double album ("HIStory"), perhaps one of the greatest double albums of all time, up there with the Beatles "White Album".

As most people know the album contains two CDs - the first one is entitled "HIStory Begins", and every single one of these 15 songs needs no introduction because most people have heard them since they have first been able to turn on a radio. All the great songs from his past career are here, ("Billie Jean", "Bad", "Black Or White", Man In The Mirror", "Thriller", "Beat It" and "Heal The World"). Every single one of these songs are fantastic in their own right and stand up on their own as some of the greatest songs ever recorded. The only complaint I have of this greatest hits section is the fact that they have left off one of his greatest songs ever, "Smooth Criminal". Apart from that, this a real 5-star album.

The second disc on this CD ("HIStory Continues") is the most interesting as they are a collection of totally new songs, except of course "Come Together" which was done in 1987 for the "Bad" album. All of these songs are amazing and showcase Michael's great genius and ability to produce songs outside the barrier of being great and take them into a whole new world.

To hear him singing a duet with his sister, Janet, is wonderful and shows how great his voice goes together with other artists. Like a lot of the other songs on this album, the lyrics, music and vocals seem to portray an idea of anger that came from Jackson's experience with the tabloid press. "They Don't Care About Us" is one of his most angry songs ever and is very upsetting to hear a man who has brought the world nothing but happiness pour out all of his anger and emotion into this song, but Jackson does it in a way so that we will always follow him and stand by him.

There are of course his two great number ones presented here: "You Are Not Alone" and "Earth Song". Both showcase Jackson's great vocal ability and "Earth Song" is one of his most powerful songs ever, with the chrous being one of the best in the history of music. Other songs that deserve a mention are "Childhoood", which is very heartbreaking to listen to because anyone who knows about Jackson knows that he missed out on a lot of his childhood because of the Jackson 5.

My favourite song on this album and perhaps one of my favourite Michael Jackson songs ever is the title track. This is genius personified. Everything is in here. There is a lot to take in, but because it is Jackson, you don't mind going on the journey with him. The song also presents a major theme with Michael - the idea of peace. The line from the song "how many children have to die before we start loving our brothers?" is one we all should ask every day because how many more people do have to die before we all stop trying to kill each other.

This a long with his other albums are some of my favourite records in music. There is nothing bad about this album, and despite the fact that a lot of people don't seem to like the angry Michael Jackson, I think it was a great path for him to go one, a journey he started in his "Dangerous" album. Buy this album and like his other albums, you will not be dissapointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2008
At the time of recording this album Michael Jackson was a very angry man, the Chandler case had been going on and other people in authority were trying their best to ruin him. This was the biggest selling black artist of all time and he was living in Neverland Ranch in a purely white community, people were jealous and wanted his musical career finished.
This album was Michael's answer to them.
The songs Scream, They don't care about us, Stranger in Moscow, This time around, D.S, Money, Childhood, Tabloid Junkie and 2bad all relate to Michael's life at that time, which is why i've given this album 5 stars, this isn't his best album by a long shot but it is still a fantastic and very personal album and the people who give this a low score should sit back with headphones on and really listen to the lyrics which Michael wrote most of and then come back and correct their reviews.
All in all this is another classic album by Michael Jackson and more auto-biographical than any of his previous work. If, like me, you believe in Michael's innocence then I suggest you buy this album and see for yourself how angry a man can get through lies and gossip being constantly spread about him.
I wouldn't like it, would you?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2009
HIStory is a double album, which is a greatest hits/studio album.

History Begins:-
On disc 1, which is the greatest hits disc, it has the classic songs from Michael Jackson from 1979 - 1991. The songs are very good and features songs from the albums Off The Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987) & Dangerous (1991).

History Continues:-
On disc 2, which is the studio album, which features all of his new material in 1995.

These are the ratings i give the songs and why:-

1. Scream (featuring Janet Jackson) 10/10 - a brilliant song with Michael and sister Janet. It is aimed at the media for the things Michael went through, and it has a good beat and and makes you wanna scream too!

2. They Don't Care About Us 10/10 - This song had some bad reviews over the time, but i think its a great song, got a good reggae style beat, and has powerful lyrics.

3. Stranger In Moscow 10/10 - this is a nice R&B ballad, and has nice verses and has great emotions in it.

4. This Time Around (featuring The Notorious B.I.G) 10/10 - i never thought MJ would collaborate with a rapper, but this Rap/Hip-Hop song really sounds better then most rap songs do, and also has a great chorus and rap verse.

5. Earth Song 10/10 - what a nice song, about wars and stuff what makes our world suck. MJ in this song, really sounds great and it shows such talent in this song, and also the end of the song is BRILLIANT!

6. D.S. 10/10 - sounds like the songs "Dangerous" and "Beat It" bunched together. This song is aimed at Tom Sneddon, who strip searched MJ in 1993, also this song features Slash.

7. Money 9/10 - This song is very different to normal MJ songs, it has a different sound altogether, and it has such a great chorus.

8. Come Together 10/10 - original by the Beatles in the 60s, this song was recorded in 1988, but didn't make it on Bad, so it was made on this album instead. This song is great and i like the guitar in it.

9. You Are Not Alone 10/10 - written by R. Kelly, this song is such a fantastic R&B ballad, this song is just as good as "Shes Out Of My Life" and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", it has a great beat and MJ sings this song with passion.

10. Childhood 10/10 - this is a nice ballad, all about his childhood and how hard it was for him to be famous at 6yrs old in the late 60s, has great lyrics.

11. Tabloid Junkie 9/10 - this song is aimed at the media for the stuff he has been accused of, and it has a great chorus, but you can't hear what he says on the verses though.

12. 2 Bad 9/10 - it sounds like a modern version of "Bad", but it has a great beat and lyrics are good to.

13. History (featuring Boyz II Men) 9/10 - this is a good song, but not the greatest by MJ, its more to do with history with the world and how things have changed and stuff, but it has a good chorus.

14. Little Susie 5/10 - this is such a rubbish song, has nothing catchy about it, bores you to death just listening to a girl for almost 3 minutes! This is the worse song on the album and also the worse in his career i think.

15. Smile 10/10 - written by Charlie Chaplin, this is such a great ballad, and MJ has a great voice singing this, and MJ said this is his favourite song.

In overall this album is good, but i would prefer it if it was just a studio album without the greatest hits, because you don't need if you already got it. The album lost 1 star for the rubbish disappointing "Little Susie" song. A good album to get though if you really like Michael Jackson.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2001
CD 1, quite possibly one the highest consitent quality CD's in existance. Unfortunately, the sheer quality of the greatest hits CD completely overshadows CD2, which is by no means poor, but will be under-appreciated due to the awesome CD1.
Of course Jackson fans will be looking for the new material, but for the rest of us, it has to be "Bad" over "2 Bad" every day of the week.
Having said this, newcomers to the artist MUST buy this to sample MJ's broad range of hits, although a heavy bias is placed on tracks from Bad.
Personally, the slow tracks which are thrown in don't do it for me (apart from a couple) and I'm sure there a few shocking exclusions from CD1 which you'll all pick up on.
Having said that, "Remember The Time" is just so damn good :) - actually they nearly all beat it and order this now.
With so much lower quality pop around these days, do yourself a favour and get something which isn't just pretending to be well produced........
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2002
Michael Jackson has to be the most talented artist ever. Even though there is no Artist of the Millenium award, he undoubtedly is. CD1 features the greatest songs of his career, Billie Jean is and always will be a classic. Thriller was groundbreaking, Beat It too, Black Or White still has everyone singing to it, and The Girl is Mine with Paul McCartney shows Michael's versatility. CD2, Scream, with his sister, Janet Jackson, shows how frustrated he is with the world. Earth Song, 1995 Christmas Number 1 in the UK, shows it is possible to care about the world via song and still be popular. Money, 2Bad, HIStory, all fantastic songs. My personal favourite from CD2 is Stranger in Moscow. He has the most fantastic voice and long live the King of Pop! I hope he visits Exeter City FC again soon because I would love to see Michael Jackson right outside my doorstep.
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