This album has been a favorite of mine ever since I can remember and I’m not sure why. And after listening to it again, I still don’t know why besides the fact that all of the songs are amazing. Every song on the album is great. Most of them will get you moving along with the music and though there are songs that are on the slow side, they still manage to hold your attention.
The album opens with what else but “Bad.” This is an energetic song that manages to mix funk, r&b and a bit of rock music into a four minute track. This song also does a great job of reinforcing its title by having an aggressive tone. You can feel the snotty attitude ooze out of every lyric of the song, especially when Jackson demands “Whose bad?”
Another great song and one of my favorites is “Liberian Girl.” It’s a beautiful song that begins with a sweet voice chanting in Swahili “ I love you too-I want you too-my love.” Then Jackson comes and begins softly crooning to the lucky lady. His voice is full of sincerity and love. The song also has a tropical feel to it. There are chirping birds at the start and an infectious rhythm that makes you picture a sandy beach over looking a deep blue ocean. It’s a very pretty song that deserves all your attention to be fully appreciated. Too bad the video for the song was lackluster.
Two other songs that deserve notice are “Smooth Criminal” and “Leave Me Alone.” The first of the two is a classic. It’s actually a dark song despite how fast the music is. There really isn’t hint of darkness in the music, but when looking at the lyrics a disturbing story of murder is being told. There’s this heart beating at the beginning of the song that really gets across the intense mood. I really love this track but the one question I have to this day is WHO IS ANNIE?! I used to think it was the little blond girl in Moonwalker, but her name was Katie. So if anyone can shine a light on this mystery please help me out.
The latter song is an unappreciated Jackson track. It’s an awesome song that has weird music playing throughout the track, which makes you think of circus music. It’s actually really playful. And it’s hard to disassociate this song from the kooky, creative video, which puts all the rumors about Jackson on display. When he sings “leave me alone” it’s natural to think that the song is about the media when in reality it’s a fuck off song to an ex-girlfriend. You can really feel the angry, fed up tone in this track.
This album also shows a more mature side to Michael Jackson. While there are a few tracks dedicated to romance and love, there are plenty of others that deal with themes of paranoia, self-improvement and making a change in the world. The paranoia really comes through in the songs “Leave me Alone,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Dirty Diana” while self-improvement enters the picture on the songs “Man in the Mirror” and “Another Part of Me.” It’s nice to see a change in subject for these songs. It seems like Jackson’s prior album mainly dealt with love, loss and romance, which is fine, but this album shows he can reach beyond those topics and tap in to a much darker world.
The music found here is sure to get you on your feet. Some of it definitely sounds dated with synth taking over some tracks, but this just makes you smile when you hear it. What’s interesting about the music on this album is that you’ll find different styles of music here. There’s a killer rock riff provided by Steve Stevens (Billy Idol’s guitarist) on the steamy “Dirty Diana.” “Another Part of Me” mixes r&b and pop to create a hit song and “Man in the Mirror” is full of soul. This shows that Jackson never limited himself to one genre of music. He took influence from whatever interested him, which is why his music is so great.
Overall this album gets 9/10. All of the songs are hits. There is never a dull moment in the album even though there are quite a few slow tracks found here. Not only are the songs catchy, but some of them deal with topics Jackson has not previously sang or written about before. The music will definitely get you moving, even if some of it sounds like it belongs in an 80’s movie montage (“Just Good Friends”). There are so many great songs it was hard to pick a select few to highlight in this review. This is definitely one of his best albums.
What do you think of this album? Do you have a favorite track? Or a least favorite track? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.