“The Sacred Albums”: 40 years of Michael Jackson’s Thriller | urban bible

Si, over time, Michael Jackson’s legacy has become polarized due to some personal scandals, there’s no doubt that artistically he was on a whole different planet when he released ‘Thriller’ in 1982. To date, this release remains the best-selling album of all time (at some 70 million copies), a record that is unlikely to be broken. Among critics, most agree to give it a rating of five stars, A + or 10/10 according to their classification system. A perfect score, what! In short, “Thriller” is one of the greatest masterpieces of pop music.

In the spotlight since the age of five, Jackson was already an industry veteran when he entered the studio to record Thrillerdespite being 23 years old.

His previous album, off the wall, marked a change of direction. While his early solo efforts, as well as those released with the Jackson 5, were produced by Motown, this opus was his first to be released under the Epic label.

And for the first time, he had carte blanche creatively.

Although it received an excellent reception, both critically and commercially, the world of music had already evolved when it came time to record. Thriller. The disco sound ofoff the wall was no longer up to date, not to say “hated” by most people.

Michael Jackson therefore took a completely different direction that changed pop music forever.

“I said you wanna be startin’ somethin’, you got to be startin’ somethin'”

Despite some ten million copies sold and favorable reviews for off the wall, Jackson felt underappreciated. Rolling Stone magazine reportedly refused to put it on the cover, claiming that artists of color weren’t selling enough copies, and he thought he should have won the Grammy for album of the year (he didn’t). hadn’t even been named).

In order to remedy the situation, he challenged himself to create a record where each song would be a hit.

When he entered the studio with Quincy Jones, with whom he had recorded off the wall, the duo decided that, to distance themselves from disco, anything was allowed. We therefore find on the opus influences post-disco, pop, R&B, rock, world music and even funk.

The opening song, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” sets the tone. Based on a complex and hyperactive rhythm with distinct horns, Jackson sings in it much more aggressively than ever before.

The lyrics, too, are much darker and more tortured.

“Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight, It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right”

After ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, ‘Baby Be Mine’ is followed by ‘The Girl is Mine’, a duet with none other than Sir Paul McCartney! There is nothing revolutionary about the play, but the charisma of its two protagonists, both obstinate for the affection of a young lady, infuses it with a large dose of charm, particularly during the coda speak.

Then comes the heart of the work, with the artist’s three greatest hits. First, the title track, “Thriller”, whose music video revolutionized the medium, in addition to becoming, over time, a staple of Halloween parties. This is followed by “Beat It,” the album’s rockiest song (with its unforgettable solo, courtesy of Eddie Van Halen). And to close it all nicely, “Billie Jean”, one of the best pop songs of all time.

If the whole disc is worth the detour, this salvo of mega hits contributes greatly to elevating it to the rank of masterpiece, and moreover, their position in the middle of the disc is probably not entirely fortuitous.

“For no mother mortal can resist the evil of the thriller”

Even after this trio, we are not outdone as “Human Nature” is one of the singer’s most beautiful and striking ballads and influenced R&B in the years that followed, while the very catchy “PYT ( Pretty Young Thing)” is the closest thing tooff the wall, with its funk and post-disco accents.

We have to admit that Michael Jackson has won his bet to release an album full of hitswhile seven of the nine pieces of Thriller reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts.

And these successes are still as effective 40 years after its release! It’s impossible not to start dancing when you hear them (or at least tap your feet if you’re in a more formal place). And above all, we have to admit that we still feel, even today, his influence within current pop music.

Watch for the next “Les albums sacrés” column in May 2022. Consult all our previous columns at labibleurbaine.com/Les+albums+sacres.

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this short article for this remarkable material

“The Sacred Albums”: 40 years of Michael Jackson’s Thriller | urban bible


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