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Dance & Electronic album by Michael Jackson

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"King of Pop" Too Late/Too Early

  • Nov 8, 2009
I remember being in a record shop when `Thriller' arrived in the stores. Vinyl was taken for granted back then when rumors of C.D.'s with disks and lasers from Japan were filtering into our remote imaginations. I was going to buy another album. I can't even remember which one. What I do remember was seeing a poster for 'Thriller' on my way out, and thinking for the first time, by whim or intuition, of seriously buying a Michael Jackson album for the first time. Something told me I was witnessing an event, an opportunity to capture an instant classic. Something big and momentous was being heralded on my way out the door.

A short time later I was electrified to hear "Billie Jean" from the radio of a dorm stereo during my junior year of college. In one fell swoop, Michael Jackson not only proved that disco wasn't dead, he proved it didn't suck, either. It didn't take me long to assess the song as among the very best of the eighties. Actually, it turns out to be one of the best ever. Lingering throughout 1983, the songs from 'Thriller' could be heard from every stereo, every car radio, and significantly, from every TV set. MTV was at its zenith back then. It had debuted two years earlier redefining pop music as we know it. Putting in the craftsmanship, time, talent, (and, yes money) necessary, MJ redefined it again, elevating the stature of music videos from mediocre advertisements to full blown works of art.

Variety is a key component of every masterpiece, and with the able hand of producer Quincy Jones, Jackson blended the best of every category. He also tapped into talents from Van Halen to rock out on "Beat It," an infectious song with some great advice that only seems suitable from Jackson's pen and discerning ability to sort out a conflicted conscience. Soul and pop were expertly laid down with the reverberating energy of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" as well as the superbly sweet "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" and "Human Nature". How can one forget the playful nuances, like the late Vincent Price's recitation in the middle-end of the title track?

`Thriller' was a showcase for a remarkably multi-talented musician and performer. His video work, dance routines, singing, choreography, and songwriting were all hallmark. There were other masterworks, too, such as 'Off the Wall,' but 'Thriller' single-handedly earned him the title "King of Pop".

Sadly, heavy wears the crown that such a king bore. It didn't surprise me that the entire summer of 2009 was devoted to him. Like Elvis (significantly, the king of rock) John Lennon, and Marvin Gaye before him, the King of Pop was taken away from us early--only to leave us to grieve once more for a sensational talent who brought us so much joy in such a short lifetime.

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September 25, 2010
I will never ask you to be quiet or step down. Thanks for chimin' in. I felt consequentially late when I first submitted this review, but, on the other hand, when some of the sensation of the news of his tragic death has subsided, it's good to keep the conversation. I enjoy your enthusiasm. ;>)
September 24, 2010
Thriller was pure genius...no one but my man Michael could be brilliant enough to be the first to come up with a mini movie video for the song itself - the first ever of it's kind. That video (along with Michael himself) also made a major contribution and change to MTV; before Thriller MTV had no black performers' videos showing. He had a rare talent that the world will never see again. Definitely a must have album ! OK - don't get me started on my favorite man in the world - I need to shut up now....
September 24, 2010
Thanks for the affirmation, drifter51 and woopak. His contributions were great, and he'll be missed for a long time.
September 23, 2010
You sum up the man, his music and this album quite nicely. Without a doubt "Thriller" is an all-time classic.
September 22, 2010
yup yup!
More Thriller reviews
Quick Tip by . September 22, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Arguably the best MJ album ever put together. A true platinum album that has an awesome collection of songs that made the top 10. A must own!
review by . February 16, 2006
Being that I was a child from the 80's I was raise up hearing and reading about this album from the books, magazines, T.V. and of course the radio. What more can be said of this album? EVERYONE knows the songs and its incredible history. Simply put, this album is a staple like bread, milk or butter. You can't be without a copy. Now comes this special edition and for all the originals greatness, this one outshines it!     Remember the incredible remastering done on HIStory? Well …
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John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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WhereOff the Wallwas pretty much straight good times,Thrillerintroduced dread into Michael Jackson's solo work. By 1995'sHIStory, this element curdled into overwhelming self-regard and out-of-touchness, but here it's bracing. WhileThrilleroffers its share of cute ("The Girl Is Mine," a duet withPaul McCartneythat was the album's first single; "P.Y.T."), the most memorable cuts remain "Billie Jean," "Beat It," and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," all of which meld musical imagination and worried-mind lyrics.

There's also the title track, which takes a cue from Parliament's concept pieces in employing Vincent Price to warn that nonfunky forces will "terrorize y'all's neighborhood." Thriller, of course, continues to battle with the Eagles' first greatest-hits package for the title of biggest-selling U.S. long-player ever. Bonus material on this edition includes "Someone in the Dark," from Jackson's E.T. children's album, and a Quincy Jones interview in which the producer cites "My Sharona" as the inspiration for "Beat It"--and, even better, the real-life Billie Jean's claim that Michael was "the father of one of her twins." --Rickey Wright

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Label: Sony
Artist: Michael Jackson
Genre: Dance & Electronic
Release Date: October 16, 2001
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