When this was announced earlier this year, I was baffled. After all, Bad was already re-released in 2001 with unreleased material, what else could they possibly could give us that would get me to spend my money again? Two words: Wembley concert. For those of you who don’t know, Jackson’s performance at Wembley during the Bad Tour is often hailed as his best performance ever and thanks to Sony it’s the first time it’s being officially released. That plus the bonus goodies with the more expensive editions makes this a release all fans will salivate over.
The standard edition of the album comes with a remastered disc of Bad and a disc full of unreleased material. I’ve already talked about the Bad record before and how awesome it is, so here I’ll be focusing on the bonus disc. While it may include all the unreleased tracks from the first re-release, it includes six never heard before songs, which makes the collection worth buying. The songs may not be the best and some are better left off the album, but they are still catchy and sometimes beautiful, showing off Jackson’s vocal talent.
The first song on the bonus disc is the Latin infused “Don’t Be Messin’ Around.” This songs seems to be about nothing expect dancing the night away. I love how each instrument comes in one at a time before they all come together to create the Salsa-eqsue sound that will have you wiggling your hips. With infectious music and an easy to remember chorus, this song could’ve easily been a hit for Jackson had it made an appearance on the album. The next song “I’m So Blue” is pretty sad despite the calming music going on. It’s about getting dumped, plain and simple as that. But what’s interesting about the song is that during the chorus Jackson sings “Sha da da da da.” It’s makes you wonder if he was going to put actual lyrics there, but either way it’s still catchy.
Probably the most controversial song here (and maybe of Jackson’s career) is “Song Groove aka Abortion Papers.” The song grabs you with it’s funky music and vocals, but don’t be fooled, this is an anti-abortion song. When you look at the lyrics, Jackson talks a lot about religion and how getting an abortion is going against God. It’s pretty shocking and downright preachy for the King of Pop, but it just proves that he can make anything he sings about sound good. Hell, he did it for Rockwell and Eddie Murphy. It’s easy to see why it didn’t make it onto the album. It most likely would’ve pissed off a lot of people. Whether or not you agree with Jackson, it’s an interesting song to hear nonetheless.
Two of the prettiest songs on the disc are “Free” and “Fly Away.” When I heard them, I instantly fell in love. They both have great, relaxing nature imagery, with beautiful soft music, the kind you can close your eyes to and let it take you away. Also, his voice sounds absolutely beautiful on both tracks. Because he’s not embellishing or doing his classic “hee-hee’s” on these songs, you can really hear how great his voice is. It really takes your breath away. It makes you realize what a talented singer he was.
The other songs on the disc are great also. “Price of Fame” is a tragic song clearly about Jackson’s own life and how he was trapped by his own fame, “Al Capone” sounds like “Smooth Criminal” Part 2, but it’s still pretty catchy and “Streetwalker” is a funky song that will make you move, but also make you think of “The Way you Make Me Feel.” Along with the unreleased songs, the disc includes two versions of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You:” a Spanish and a French one. It’s great to hear the song in these two languages, but the French one sounds prettier than any other version. Remixes of “Bad” and “Speed Demon” are also included, but they should’ve been left off. They’re boring, confusing, mask the original song completely, and have weird electronic, dub-step music that’s not even good. I guess they wanted to make sure they had enough material to fill up the disc, but I would’ve been happy if these remixes were never made.
If you’re willing to shell out some more money, you can get the Deluxe edition of the disc, which includes not only the audio disc, but the DVD of the infamous Wembley concert. Unfortunately, I don’t have my deluxe edition yet, so I am unable to watch the concert, so a full review of it will be coming later. But the live disc is amazing. It’s so good that it actually gives you the feeling that you’re at one of his concerts. Jackson sounds great, the band sounds great, even the audience sounds great. There’s just enough of the crowd in the mix to remind you that this is a live recording. What’s great about it is the setlist is awesome and filled with Jackson’s best songs from past albums and the energy is amazing. It’s shocking that he didn’t release a live album before this (the Jacksons one doesn’t count), but maybe that’s what makes this one so great.
Overall, the release gets 9/10. I must say the family and Sony really made sure the fans got their money’s worth with this release. Even if you’re not getting the edition with the Wembley concert, the standard edition is totally worth it. It’s full of beautiful, catchy, and interesting unreleased material from the King of Pop. And let’s not forget the original album ain’t bad either. This is a must have for anyone who doesn’t have the album or for long time fans of the release.