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Archive for September 18th, 2012

Review: Michael Jackson, “BAD 25”

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Well, they say the sky’s the limit and to me, that’s really true…But, my friend, you have seen nothing!  Just wait ‘til I get through…

Those words would likely have sounded like pure hubris had they emerged from any singer other than Michael Jackson.  He threw the gauntlet down not just to his fellow musicians, but to himself, with the 1982 smash Thriller.  Still recognized today as the best-selling album of all time, Thriller spawned seven Top 10 singles, received eight Grammy Awards, and elevated the one-time child star to the rarefied status of an international icon of music, dance, fashion and culture.  Rather than instantly capitalizing on his success with a follow-up, though, Jackson waited roughly five years before releasing his next solo musical statement: 1987’s Bad.  Despite the swagger of those lyrics from its title track, it was inevitable that for many, Bad would fail to reach the same high artistic standards as its predecessor, even as it broke one record after another.  It was similarly inevitable that, in 2012, Bad would be revisited in an anniversary edition, allowing it to stand on its own, out of the shadow of Thriller.  Today, Jackson has been gone for more than three years, and not a day goes by without some family controversy filling the newspapers.  But Michael Jackson’s most significant legacy is now, and has always been, in the joyous, liberated, boundary-breaking music he created, and that’s what is celebrated on BAD 25, from Epic Records and Legacy Recordings, available as a standard CD, 3-CD/1-DVD box set (88725 40095 2), Target-exclusive 2 -CD/1-DVD set and vinyl LP.

The third and final collaboration between Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, Bad marked Jackson’s ascendancy to near-complete creative control.  It heralded the end of another era, too, as Jackson’s final album designed to the constraints of standard LP length; his future projects would become more sprawling and some would argue, less focused. Bad, however, was tightly packed with wall-to-wall hits and has sold over 30 million copies to date. It yielded five Billboard Hot 100 number ones, the first album to do so.  (Katy Perry repeated the feat in 2010 with her Teenage Dream.)  A sixth single hit the Top 10 and a seventh made the Top 20. Out of six Grammy nominations, Bad picked up two of the trophies.  BAD 25 generously expands the story of this landmark album by looking to the past (unreleased demos, live footage on DVD, the first-ever official audio document of a Jackson concert on CD) and the present (remixes of Bad tracks by current hip-hop stars).  In its box set form, it’s doubtless the most lavish anniversary release accorded any of Jackson’s solo albums.  Does it succeed in bringing a new dimension to one of the most familiar recordings of all time?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 18, 2012 at 12:06

Posted in Michael Jackson, News, Reissues, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of September 18

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Box set season is totally in full swing this week! Are you ready?

Michael Jackson, Bad 25 (Epic/Legacy)

The King of Pop’s legendary 1987 album gets the deluxe treatment in a number of formats. The standard edition includes the remastered album and a 13-track bonus disc featuring rare and unreleased outtakes and new remixes. (That version is available with a T-shirt at Wal-Mart, and a bonus DVD with all nine original Bad-era short films – including the long performance edits of “Smooth Criminal” and “Speed Demon” from the Moonwalker film – is an exclusive at Target.) Then there’s the deluxe box set, featuring those two discs and a CD and DVD of Jackson’s July 16, 1988 performance at London’s Wembley Stadium; that box is also available as a super-collectible version in a swag-filled box. The Live at Wembley DVD is available separately, as well. Who’s bad? Well, that depends on your wallet.  Joe’s review can be found here!

The Jackson 5, Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Not enough MJ for you this week? How about two discs of unreleased Jackson 5 outtakes, with a collectible vinyl single to boot?

ABBA, The Essential Collection (Polydor/UMC)

While this new U.K. ABBA compilation doesn’t offer much of anything new, it does offer every single the band ever released on one set, plus a bonus DVD of music videos (featuring the premiere home video release of the videos for the Spanish versions of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Thank You for the Music”).

Steve Miller Band, Children of the Future Sailor Brave New World Your Saving Grace Number 5 (Edsel)

The first five albums of The Steve Miller Band are reissued by Edsel with new liner notes, lyrics and rare photographs!

Laura Branigan, Branigan: Expanded Edition Self Control: Expanded Edition / Grace Jones, Inside Story: Expanded Edition (Gold Legion)

The latest expansions from Gold Legion include Branigan’s two biggest hit-filled discs (featuring “Gloria” and “Self Control,” respectively) and Grace Jones’ first post-Island album for EMI, produced by Nile Rodgers. All three are expanded with bonus 12″ mixes and expanded booklets.

Angel, Angel / Helluva Band On Earth As It Is in Heaven (Rock Candy)

You’ll agree that Angel – discovered by Gene Simmons and lampooned by Frank Zappa – was one “helluva band” with Rock Candy’s remastered editions, all featuring deluxe booklets with new essays, memorabilia and rare photos.

Ben Folds Five, The Sound of the Life of the Mind (ImAVeePee/Sony Music)

Our final spotlighted title isn’t a reissue, but the first Ben Folds Five album in 13 years really, truly lives up to the hype. Add to that the fact that Mr. Folds was behind last year’s best catalogue title of the year, and we’re going to proudly present this as a future catalogue classic that certainly deserves your ears today!

Written by Mike Duquette

September 18, 2012 at 10:55