Jul 13, 2009

A stampede of unicorns

Publius is arguing that Bad is the best Michael Jackson album. I applaud the attempt to upend received wisdom, and I know how tempting and easy it is to bore of Thriller, but that's the point: just because we're bored of the front-runner doesn't stop it being the frontrunner. Therefore I must respectfully disagree. There are really only fourgreat tracks on Bad — the title track, The Way You Make Me Feel, Another Part of Me and Smooth Criminal — whereas you can't move for great songs on Thriller. Listen, too, to the production on Bad —all those tinny snares and over-reverbed bass drums, clanking  away. Its cumbersome, angular, noisy production which clearly apes the more mechanical, ritzy sound made fashionable by Bobbie Brown — the first time Jackson and Jones had followed trends rather than setting them, and the beginning of the end. It's all knees and elbows when placed next to Thriller, or the first 16 bars if Don't Stop Til You Get Enough. But then nothing sounds as good as the first 16 bars of Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, except maybe the gathering hoofs of a stampede of unicorns. 

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