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Thriller Earns Its Accolades,
This review is from: Thriller (Audio CD)
Michael Jackson's incredibly popular "Thriller" became to my generation the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper," just as MJ himself became our Beatles. Reviewing "Thriller" is like reviewing Elvis' best-of CD, or a Shakespeare collection. It is not easy, nor as useful, because for those who appreciate this genre, we already know it and love it. This album, if nothing else, is MJ's legacy, and is the starting point for all discussions about 80s pop music, MTV, videos and MJ's unusual career.
It has earned the world's best-selling album of all-time not because one hit, or even two, or one blockbuster career-establishing hit. It established a new era of pop rock, pushing arena rock and dance rock into a new stratosphere. For me, six songs are favorites, but the rest are still very above average.
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" Driving home the refrain like a machine gun, Jackson starts this album with a statement that something was starting. An affair? A great album? Or, a wave that turned Michael from a pretty good entertainer to the "King of Pop."
"The Girl Is Mine," is like receiving the torch from the previous king of pop, Paul McCartney, Michael sings a playful, flirtatious duet with Paul. The memorable line, "I'm a lover, not a fighter," has since become part of Americana.
"Thriller" Funky. Now, it sounds so familiar that I forget how unusual it was in the day. The first few ominous notes tell the listener this is no ordinary radio song. Vincent Price plays off his creepy reputation as a movie ghoul while parodying bad rap to lift this song to that place beyond.
"Beat It" Two words: music video. Whatever music videos were before, "Beat It" took a fantastic dance tune and gave us the definition of videos for years.
"Billie Jean" Like "Beat It," its video is par excellence. While Michael argues whether he is the parent, he cranks out moves that are still imitated, parodied and repeated in every club in the world.
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" The rhythm plays in my head all these years later. It is that infectious.
I fully recommend Michael Jackson's "Thriller."