CD Review: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

By David Chiu

Michael Jackson ruled pop music in the ‘80s thanks to this landmark album, which 25 years later, is still as popular than ever. Thriller was the soundtrack of 1983 and 1984 and its songs still continue to resonate, particularly the hits “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” (although my personal favorites are “The Girl Is Mine,” Jackson’s duet with Paul McCartney; and the gorgeous “Human Nature,” later covered by Miles Davis). The quality of the songs and production values are examples of the genius of Jackson and his producer Quincy Jones. But beyond the insane number of albums it sold (40 million copies and counting), it’s a filler free record complete with the classic Vincent Van Price voice over on the title track, and Eddie Van Halen’s blistering guitar solo on “Beat It.”

The inclusion of the four new updates on this 25th anniversary reissue is debatable, other than a way for today’s hip hop stars to pay tribute to Jackson. Of them, “Wanna Be Starting Something” featuring akon and will i. am, and “PYT” with will i. am sound the most original, more like a reimagining of the songs rather than covers. The other previously unreleased track from those original sessions, “For All Time,” a ballad, is reminiscent of “Human Nature.” The DVD portion contains the great innovative videos that added to the mania: “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” (great choreography), and Thriller (still scary). Fans will rejoice at the clip of Jackson performing at the Motown 25 program from 1983 where he showed off his electrifying dance moves while performing “Billie Jean.”

Watch videos related to the Thriller reissue:


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