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July 12, 2009

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You are obviously someone who hates art!

Off the Wall is the most sublime of all the Jackson albums!

No way, Publius. Beat It, Billie Jean, and especially Human Nature are all three better than any single on Bad in my book. Also, Thriller, The Girl is Mine, and (the poorly titled in retrospect) PYT are as good as anything other than Dirty Diana or Smooth Criminal.

I'm with someotherdude on this one. Off the Wall should be part of the discussion.

Which do you like better: Montovani or Kostelanetz? I just can't decide.

THRILLER is the more important album; BAD is the better album.

Why are you weighing Bad and Thriller, when Off the Wall is Michael Jackson's best album?

Sure, if you only count the solo stuff both Dangerous and Off the Wall are great contenders (though my favorite solo Jackson song is Wanna Be Starting Something) but I think that overlooking his earlier oeuvre with The Jackson 5 is a mistake. ABC and Dancing Machine are great albums from their Motown era but my favorites are their later Epic releases Destiny (with their most enduring hit, Blame It on the Boogie) and Triumph (featuring the sublime Can You Feel It, which also had one of the early crazy-ass crazy-ass videos).

I don't know if Off The Wall was the best album, but "Rock With You" was for Michael Jackson what "Ticket To Ride" was for the Beatles, even "Round About Midnight" for Miles Davis: sublime, compact, a distillation of everything that made him great. The signature tune.

and the answer to Bob's question at 8:47 is: Esquivel.

The best song on Bad is as a good as the fifth best song on Thriller.

Michael's best Album?

No contest, it's gotta be Bolton Swings Sinatra, just for his choice of orchestration alone and I...

What?

you know i'm bad. jah-moh.

Dirty Diana was Michael's best song ever & sexiest video.

The Way You Make Me was also a good track.

you're right Publius - Bad was hands down a better album

Rhythm Nation 1814.

oh yuck.

to each their own. for me, it's "Off the Wall".

Who's Michael Jackson?

Hmm, I think such comparisons make more sense if applied to concept albums, e.g. is "Ziggy Stardust" better than "Diamond Dogs" (yes), than to albums which are a more or less random compilation of songs.

That said, there's a different musical style to all three Jackson albums mentioned and on the basis of that I definitely prefer "Thriller" (revolutionary) to "Off the Wall" (nice but old-school) or "Bad" (too heavy handed).

Have you listened to the production on Bad? Those tinny snares and over-explosive bass drums? The Way You Make Me Feel, in particular, is a great song atrociously arranged and produced. It was the first sign that Jackson was starting to imitate others rather than follow his own instincts.

It has to be Thriller, all the way, with Off The Wall a very close second.

+1 for Thriller.
It broke new ground, especially in the music video area. Thriller just may be the most influential music video of all time. The song itself with the Vincent Price cameo was pure genius.
What's amazing to me is the Rolling Stone thinks that Thriller is the 20th best album of all time. Only 20th?

Off. The. Wall. No question.

Although "Billie Jean" is a freaking great song.

And the answer to Bob's question at 8:47 is Os Mutantes.

I'm not much of a Jackson fan, but from my less-than-intimate knowledge, I'd go with Off the Wall, too.

As an aside, there's a larger pattern there for me. It seems that I tend to prefer the albums that preceded the most commercially successful albums of many musical groups. Those albums tend to strike me as the best artistically or best combination of fresh (or raw, depending on the music) and accomplished. By time the masses really catch on, things are already beginning to diminish, if very slightly.

Yes. Off the Wall, without a doubt. Other than Billie Jean & Wanna Be Startin' Something (the latter of which seems likely to have been put together by Quincy with material left over from Off the Wall), Thriller was unremarkable. And it broke no new ground. It just got noticed more than Off the Wall.

Russel:
Ave Genghis Khan o Panis et Circenses? (O Bat Macumba?)

Pop music stars are not judged by aesthetics; they're judged by sales.

Really? I think Bad might be 4th at best for me.

Count me as a vote for Thriller. Off the Wall is a terrific pop album, but it was really the precursor to the Jackson phenomenon. Off the Wall was where he became "Michael Jackson" and not "Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five." But Thriller is where he became "Michael." That's a huge leap, and it's not just coincidence. Thriller as an album is head and shoulders above every pop album in history.

But I think "Dangerous" has an argument for the number 2 spot. On "Bad", MJ tried to outsize everything about Thriller, and I think the results were mixed. I really like the album, but "Bad" was really just an attempted sequel to Thriller that came off sounded not as original or mind-blowing as the original.

But Dangerous is something special. It's evident that MJ knew he was about to fall off unless he cut loose from Quincy Jones. So instead, he hooks up with Teddy Riley, who was probably the hottest R&B producer of the early 1990s, and the result is an album that is a total departure (in a good way) from Jackson's own, fully developed sound. In fact, I listened to the album the other day and it still sounds fresh compared to everything on the radio. Aside from "Black or White" as the single, "Jam," "Dangerous," "Remember the Time," and "Give in to Me" are excellent, and "In the Closet" just kills it.

Not that I've given this any thought over the past two weeks...

Thriller as an album is head and shoulders above every pop album in history.

Rumours beats Thriller any day.

Surely, is not "Off the Wall" that rarity amongst Great Album listees i.e. a genuinely flawless album with truly great standout tracks?

Now if I could only find my copy..

"Ave Genghis Khan o Panis et Circenses? (O Bat Macumba?)"

For comparison to Esquivel and/or Montovani and Kostalanetz, pretty much anything off the first album will work, but "Bat Macumba" and "Baby" are my personal favorites.

If we're going to hang out in groovy bachelor pad land, Cal Tjader's also probably fair game, especially "Shoshana" and "Nica's Dream".

"Rumours beats Thriller any day."

Agreed.

At the risk of starting a threadjack, I'll say it's hard to imagine a world where there's a better straight-up adult pop album than Rumours.

"At the risk of starting a threadjack, I'll say it's hard to imagine a world where there's a better straight-up adult pop album than Rumours."

I won't dispute a strong case made for either record, honestly, but different strokes for different folks, and all that.

'Rumors' is your favorite? Who knew you liked Lindsey Lohan so much.

But seriously folks, I think I know all of those Fleetwood Mac songs, yet never heard them together on the album, only individually on the radio. Which says something, I just don't know what.

Rumours beats Thriller any day.

Cool, another Fleetwood Mac fan!

I wouldn't pay Top 100 or Top 500 lists too much attention. Rolling Stone's top 500 list doesn't list Pink Floyd's Animals at all, but has Wish You Were Here, The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon and freakin' The Piper at the Gates Of Dawn. IMO Animals is one of their best. I rate Meddle higher than Piper, personally.

Any list that has Captain frick'n Beefheart in the top 100 is automatically suspect, as far as I'm concerned. Leave out Bruce Cockburn's Waiting For A Miracle and DiMeola/McLaughlin/de Lucia's staggeringly good Friday Night In San Francisco and BOTH off a top 500 list and I give it even less weight.

A matter of taste, though. I'm probably more Jerry Mathers than Marshall Mathers.

While we're straying from the topic: I've always preferred Joe Jackson (not the father) to Michael - he seems to be forgotten now.

"different strokes for different folks, and all that."

Absolutely.

"Bruce Cockburn's Waiting For A Miracle"

I dig me some Bruce Cockburn.

"A matter of taste, though. I'm probably more Jerry Mathers than Marshall Mathers."

So is Marshall Mathers.

I still has me some Joe. Jumpin' Jive!

But seriously folks, I think I know all of those Fleetwood Mac songs, yet never heard them together on the album, only individually on the radio. Which says something, I just don't know what.

Rumors (77) and Boston's first record (76) are the only two i can think of where every song is a radio staple, even now.

"At the risk of starting a threadjack, I'll say it's hard to imagine a world where there's a better straight-up adult pop album than Rumours."

so true.

Off The Wall is his best album.

If Peter Green isn't on the album,
if Danny Kirwan isn't on the album,
it's *not* a Fleetwood Mac album....

"Bad" may be a high point, but it's not higher than "Thriller".

This is obviously personal anecdote, but given that we're discussing our opinions about what subjectively constitutes a better album, I suspect it's as valid as anything else.

That said, Thriller was the last time I paid attention to--or for that matter cared or thought about--Michael Jackson as an artist rather than as a circus attraction. I had the tape in my Walkman for years, and eventually just outgrew it. It's not that he didn't produce anything worth listening to after that, it's just that whatever he did produce was overshadowed by the freakshow his life became--a tragedy for which he, the tabloid media and his more obsessive fans all bear roughly equal responsibility.

I guess I'm just one of those people who find the deification of MJ mystifying. I think he was an okay songwriter and a performer of above-average talent, who produced one outstanding album and for reasons that pass my understanding was thereafter elevated to near-godhood despite years in which his chief artistic outputs were controversy and media theater.

I just got to a point over the years where I was sick of hearing him or hearing about him, and nothing in the last few weeks has really defrosted my attitude in that regard, except that I've largely taken a step back in order to allow his fans to cherish his final media circus without me pissing in their Cheerios.

But since you asked.

Off The Wall. No doubt about it.
And is Rumours a pop album or a rock album? Als o too, Joshua Tree.

Fat > Eat It.
Ergo: Bad > Thriller.

I recently went through MJ's albums as well to update the Ipod, and reached a different and startling conclusion.

His best album was 1992's Dangerous. Song for song, it is the best. The songs hold up every bit as well as any song on Thriller or Bad, but the album has modern production values that were ahead of their time.

I would urge everyone to give it another listen before you anoint one of his albums from the 80's as the best.

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