mj

Rating Michael Jackson’s Albums

If I was married to someone with whom I had a relationship that was in any way like the relationship I have with Michael Jackson, we would be heading for divorce. It is pretty volatile.

The truth is I love Michael Jackson. Like millions of other people around the world, he owned my childhood (make your Michael Jackson/children joke now so that we can continue without them, thanks), and when something owns your childhood it has you for life. That seemed to be something Jackson understood all too well.

But, on the other hand, my word! He bugs the hell out of me; his increasingly lacklustre live shows with bands that had all the groove of a cardboard box, his repetitive nature. There was a clear cut formula on his albums post-Thriller, and it looks vaguely like this;

  1. Funky song to open
  2. Whinge about the press
  3. Desperate attempt to latch on to current trend (later exemplified by badly placed raps)
  4. Duet
  5. Something genuinely incredible that makes you wonder what might have been
  6. Rock song with currently popular guitar player
  7. Failed attempt to sound sexy
  8. Something with a paranoid lyric
  9. Borderline novelty song
  10. Ballad where he cries at the end
  11. We Are The World-esque schlock

That isn’t to say these albums or songs were bad – actual title of Bad aside – it just means that he became a little stifled creatively and didn’t particularly move forward. Most of the records were still great pop records.

The other reason I find myself having trouble with Jackson is his fan base. There is a large section who won’t hear a negative thing about him. I mean, even “I don’t like that song” can get you in hot water and they will throw acid in your face. Believe it or not, there are people who believe – without any irony intended – that Michael Jackson was literally an angel sent down from the heavens to enlighten the world by walking backwards in a sort of slidey motion. I know it shouldn’t, but talking to these people put me off Jackson’s music more than the rumours about his private life ever did.

But, as I say, he does own my childhood, and too much of my life is tied to this music. So, what is a poor boy to do?

Most people seem to rate Jackson’s career by starting at 1979’s Off The Wall, and then end around 1991’s Dangerous. They don’t count the Jacksons or Jackson 5 albums, or even his early solo records on Motown, as being part of his catalogue. But in my estimation, they undoubtedly were. What he did at Motown, what he did with his brothers, this all moulded what he would create with Quincy Jones, and beyond. So where do all of these records fit within his body of work?

So I decided to rate Jackson’s entire albums discography (discounting compilations of previously released material and live albums) so we could place his entire career in the same perspective. Hold on, it’s gonna be a long one…

 30-invincible

  1. Invincible [Michael Jackson, 2001]

What the fuck happened? This is not only Jackson’s worst album, it is one of the worst albums any major star has ever made. It is an incoherent mess, and as I look at the tracklisting it strikes me that there are at least three songs that I don’t even remember. The opening trio sound near-identical, the abundance of ballads are mawkish even for him (I swear The Lost Children is the worst thing with his voice on it), there are several rehashes and there are things that have no business coming out of Jackson’s mouth (Break of Dawn is a nice enough song, but does anyone really think Jackson ever said “I wanna make love til the break of dawn”?). There are good moments. Liverpool’s Marsha Ambrosius contributes the albums true moment of brilliance in Butterflies, Carlos Santana pops up on Whatever Happens, a song which is clearly riding off the success of Supernatural in every possible way but is still cool nevertheless. Ultimately, it sounds like he isn’t arsed. The unreleased tracks that showed up in The Ultimate Collection’s sometimes unlistenable final disc suggest that it couldn’t have been much better.

29-blood-on-the-dancefloor

  1. Blood On The Dancefloor: HIStory in the Mix [Michael Jackson, 1997]

I wasn’t sure whether to include this one, but there is a fair amount of new material on it. This actually isn’t so bad, it is just a hard thing to justify. It seems Jackson was contracted to a remix album, so he chose to release eight remixes from the previous album HIStory and threw on a bunch of new tracks for good measure. For the most part the remixes don’t really feel like much (club mixes don’t sound the same in your living room), and the new tracks are hit and miss. Morphine is interesting, the title track was his last UK #1 (although, as a Dangerous outtake, even sounded a little dated on release, despite the hook). Is It Scary? and Ghosts would have been better if they didn’t rehash the horror theme that worked 15 years prior and have THE SAME FUCKING OPENING LINE.

28-michael

  1. Michael [Michael Jackson, 2010]

Probably dangerous putting this one above albums Jackson actually had a hand in, but honestly I like more tracks on this than I do on Invincible. There is a lot of supposed controversy surrounding this one, as it has been alleged that three of the tracks (the mawkish Keep Your Head Up, the horror rehash Monster and the obligatory media whinge Breaking News) aren’t Jackson at all. I’ve seen the crazies say that they know “for a fact” that these tracks are not Jackson, but of course they don’t. And I don’t know either. Those songs do kinda suck though, but then so did most of Invincible. So do a lot of the ones on here that aren’t disputed (see: Best of Joy, Another Day). There are decent moments though, such as Hold My Hand, a pretty effective duet with Akon. The real saving graces though are the final two tracks; Behind The Mask, which manages to sound both modern and old skool at the same time, and Much Too Soon, which would have been one of his saccharine ballads with more orchestration but avoids it with the kind of subtle arrangement that Jackson himself never would have authorised.

27-looking-back-to-yesterday

  1. Looking Back To Yesterday [Michael Jackson, 1986]

An album of songs that Motown never released, but did when they realised what a global-humping superstar their former little bitty Michael had become. There isn’t much to recommend or talk about, really. I’m a sucker for the early Jackson 5 sound, so it’s a fairly enjoyable listen, but that’s about it.

26-skywriter

  1. Skywriter [Jackson 5, 1973]

I don’t think I could tell you any of the songs on this album off the top of my head, only when looking at the titles do I go “oh, yeah”. It really feels like the young rascals Motown signed are growing up and getting frustrated with the direction they are being given. The writing is on the wall. Just look at that album cover. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, does it?

25-music-and-me

  1. Music & Me [Michael Jackson, 1973]

The most uninspired of all Jackson’s Motown solo records. There are moments – his version of Stevie Wonder’s With a Child’s Heart might be his defining statement in some parallel universe, and I’m pretty sure anyone who has watched his bat-shit crazy movie Moonwalker as a kid has the title track etched in their brains. But ultimately it all feels a little uninspired. Even Michael doesn’t sound like he is all that bothered.

24-moving-violation

  1. Moving Violation [Jackson 5, 1975]

Despite the brief shot in the arm that Dancing Machine brought the group in 1974, by the next year it was back to where they were. Like Skywriter, this is ultimately just a forgetful addition to the already cluttered Jackson 5 oeuvre, and I’m pretty sure that nobody has particularly strong feelings on it either way, although their version of The Supremes’ Forever Came Today is a worthwhile moment and All I Do Is Think Of You has been sampled by more people than you would expect (J. Dilla, Drake, The Roots).  Jermaine quit the group when they left for Epic Records and wouldn’t return for nearly a decade.

23-get-it-together

  1. GIT: Get It Together [Jackson 5, 1973]

Yet another one of the mediocre latter day Motown records, but it is marginally interesting in that they are experimenting with the pre-disco sound that will become their bread and butter for a while once they leave Motown. Dancing Machine was such a big hit that it formed the basis of their next, much stronger album.

22-farewell-my-summer-love

  1. Farewell My Summer Love [Michael Jackson, 1984]

This is another album of Motown cast-offs that they pulled out of the vault after the success of Thriller. Can’t say I blame them, Motown’s roster at the time was one of the weakest in their history and they were in desperate need of some hits. Title track was a Top 10 hit, but you’re not really going to remember the rest of it.

21-ben

  1. Ben [Michael Jackson, 1972]

I’m not sure what point there was in Jackson’s Motown solo career outside of milking the cash cow (of course!). That this is the seventh studio album he had released in three years is a testament to that. It can be exhausting going through the early Jacksons Motown era because there are so many records. This is pretty middling. Obviously the title track – an infamous ode to a probably disease ridden rat – is terrible, despite its popularity. The rest of the album is a little better, but it’s still all a bit “meh”.

20-victory

  1. Victory [The Jacksons, 1984]

A bit of a hodgepodge. After the massive success of Thriller, Michael found himself bizarrely brought back to a Mothership he no longer needed for a Jacksons reunion album (Jermaine was back! Yaaaay!). There’s actually very little collaboration here, and it sometimes feels like the other brothers are using it to trail their own solo albums. Michael is actually responsible for one of the most insipid moments, the oh-my-God-make-it-stop Be Not Always. Luckily, he quickly follows it up with the Mick Jagger duet State of Shock. Surprisingly, the rest of the brothers do better than crazed MJ fans would have you believe. Brother  Jackie in particular is responsible for the albums strong start, with both opener (and lead single) Torture and the bouncy pop follow-up (and massive earworm) Wait, which I would rate much higher than Thriller’s Baby Be Mine or The Girl Is Mine.

19-goin-places

  1. Goin’ Places [The Jacksons, 1977]

Was there any more disappointing musical marriage than The Jacksons with Gamble and Huff? It should have been a match made in heaven, but both of the albums they made with them feel more like a testing of the water. This is probably the most forgettable of The Jacksons’ Epic albums, but there are a few decent cuts. The Jacksons were starring in a TV variety show around this time. Maybe that explains everything.

18-forever-michael

  1. Forever, Michael [Michael Jackson, 1975]

This feels like Motown’s final attempt to make Michael a teen idol. Despite being a mainly forgotten album, it does feature his first UK #1, One Day In Your Life and has a few highlights peppered here and there. It isn’t going to change anyone’s life, but it isn’t going to offend you beyond repair either. Just another mediocre, mid-70s album with a Jackson. It is, however, a little more mature than the previous solo record, Music & Me, even if it doesn’t hint anywhere near what would happen with his next solo album in 1979.

17-history

  1. HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1 [Michael Jackson, 1995]

The pretentious title, the self-indulgence, the height of his inflated ego (pretending to be Jesus at the BRITS, floating a statue of himself down the River Thames, that promo film that looked like Triumph of the Will etc), this is an easy one to hate. It was the first one after the scandal, and he really does get into it, letting his rage out. It provides as many interesting, genuinely brilliant moments as it does the eye-rollingly tedious. For every Stranger In Moscow or They Don’t Care About Us, there is a flat DS or a boring Money.  But it is nice to see him do something different, no matter what spurred him on to do it. Elsewhere, sister Janet pops her head in for Scream (getting the sibs together was cool as fuck), and Little Susie is probably the weirdest 6 minutes on any of his albums, like Tom Waits’ view of a death at Disneyland. On Broadway. Of all his big albums, I would say that this is the one least bound to the MJ formula, and for the first time he sounds like he is genuinely feeling the things he is singing about, rather than pretending to feel them. There are positives and negatives that come with that, as no matter how great it is to hear him cut loose, he also sounds like he doesn’t quite know how to handle it.

16-maybe-tomorrow

  1. Maybe Tomorrow [Jackson 5, 1971]

The initial Jackson 5 formula starts to wear a little thin by 1971. It’s not surprising. Since December 1969, they had released four actually pretty bloody good albums. Perhaps it was to be expected that they would start to splinter the group – in particular Michael and Jermaine – into solo careers around this time. Still, nobody could dare suggest that Never Can Say Goodbye isn’t a classic. the title track was meant for Sammy Davis Jr, trivia fans.

15-jacksons

  1. The Jacksons [The Jacksons, 1976]

The first collaboration with Gamble and Huff is marginally more enjoyable than the second, and includes at least one song that you will probably know in Show you The Way To Go. The best cut, however, is the undeniably funky Enjoy Yourself, which deserves to be so much more well-known. The Philadelphia International stable provide a number of songs like Strength of One Man (McFadden and Whitehead) and Keep On Dancing (Dexter Wansel) to mixed results.  Of note, there is also Blues Away, the first song that Michael ever wrote. It’s not bad for a first stab.

14-xscape

  1. Xscape [Michael Jackson, 2014]

I’m gonna get hell for this. I honestly thought this was the most enjoyable listen of anything with MJ’s name on it since the early 90s. The aforementioned INSANE Michael Jackson fans like to paint every decision his Estate make as THE WORST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE (even though if Jackson himself made the very same decisions, they would see it as a fabulous idea). But taken for what it is, namely a breezy, concise set of remixes of some of Jackson’s unreleased material, with a modern audience in mind, but still recalling his classic sound, I actually think it is pretty successful. I also think that the producers used (Timbaland, Stargate etc), despite the howls of protest, are probably people he would have used himself. I liked it way more than the last few albums with which he actually had input. Ultimately, like Madonna, Jackson was at his best when he was lighting up the dancefloors. This is more in-line with that school of thought. It is basically the kind of album I would like him to have made in 2014.

13-got-to-be-there

  1. Got To Be There [Michael Jackson, 1972]

Of all Jackson’s solo records at Motown, the first is probably the one with the most recognisable songs. The title track is a given, as is Rockin’ Robin. His version of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine is probably one of his more popular Motown tracks too, but the absolute cream of the crop is I Wanna Be Where You Are, which I still get a kick from whenever I play it. It is probably his most covered song; Beyonce, Dusty Springfield, Paul Weller (!) and Marvin Gaye have covered it, and 50 Cent, Chris Brown and Jenifer Lopez have sampled it. As an album, it’s a little erratic and has all the cohesion of watching an episode of Twin Peaks on acid, but there’s enough on there to keep you hooked.

12-lookin-through-the-windows

  1. Lookin’ Through The Windows [Jackson 5, 1972]

Michael’s voice starts to change a little on this one, and it is a much more consistent listen than I was expecting when I first came across it. I would rate the title track as an almost lost classic, and arguably the most complex song they had recorded up to that point. They also bring Jackson Browne’s Doctor My Eyes to life in a way that you would never expect in a million years. If the likes of Jermaine’s lead vocal E-Ne-Me-Ne-Mi-Ne-Moe (The Choice Is Yours To Pull) tries to have its cake and eat it too, they at least make up for it by having it be an actual well-crafted song.

11-christmas-album

  1. Jackson 5 Christmas Album [Jackson 5, 1970]

Christmas albums are tricky, but being so young means the brothers pull this off quite nicely. Obviously, the Holy Grail of Christmas albums is A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector, and nearly half of the album not only shares tracks with that landmark release, but it sounds like the arrangements are vaguely based on Spector’s too. The likes of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town do, however, sound a little more authentic coming out of little Michael’s young mouth, rather than the older teens and 20-odd year olds on Spector’s album.

10-dancing-machine

  1. Dancing Machine [Jackson 5, 1974]

After a few years being 14 year old has-beens, a single from their GIT: Get It Together, Dancing Machine, put J5 briefly back on the map. Though still with a foot in the bubblegum, it was much more grown up than anything they had recorded before. It was such a big hit that Motown used the song again, making it the title track for their next album, and pulled out a few more stops to make the new album the most consistent since that first whirlwind year. They grow up even more on the likes of the seven-minute opener I Am Love. It feels a little transitional though, and it was clear that the transition wouldn’t be complete at Motown. Or with Jermaine. Also, I have no idea what is going on with their faces on the album cover.

9-third-album

  1. Third Album [Jackson 5, 1970]

The Jackson 5’s second album of 1970 featured their final #1 hit on Motown, the ballad I’ll Be There. We have all heard it a million times, but listen to it again with fresh ears and it is quite striking. How the hell can this kid sing this song and sound so convincing? It goes to show how good he was at pretending to feel what he was singing about, because there is no way he knew what he was singing about, and this is a trait that clearly continued up until HIStory at least. Here is really were the old new magic starts to wear off, and it isn’t quite as effective as the first two records. Maybe da kidz were a little too overworked (four albums in a year? Ya think?), but it’s still great fun, especially on Mama’s Pearl and their ode to their home state, Goin’ Back To Indiana. Imaginative album title too.

8-triumph

  1. Triumph [The Jacksons, 1980]

Triumph was released just after Michael’s solo Off The Wall, and it shows on occasions in terms of the feel of the record. It almost doesn’t recover from its opening two-punch of Can You Feel It? and Lovely One, two of the best (and most danceable) songs in The Jacksons’ catalogue. Most of the album after that sounds like stuff that didn’t make it on to Off The Wall. And then, about halfway through, comes This Place Hotel, one of the most epic tracks that Michael ever wrote, be that solo or with his brothers. It definitely pre-empts Billie Jean, and feels almost cinematic in scope. Also worth checking out is the Jacksons Live album issued from this album’s promotional tour. By far the best era for Michael Jackson’s performances and a brilliant document of it. The band doesn’t suck for starters.

7-dangerous

  1. Dangerous [Michael Jackson, 1991]

The promotional campaign for this album was so long (two whole years) that all of my earliest memories are soundtracked by its singles. In fact, my earliest proper, fully formed memory is the premier of the Black or White video on Top of the Pops. So, on a personal, nostalgic level it has a special place inside me. As I grow older, I am less enamoured with it. I remember reading that Jackson said that the song he was most proud of writing was Heal The World. Really? That horrible, simplistic, We Are The World re-write? We Are The World was total shit in the first place, why would you want to do another without the novelty of all the celebs? Elsewhere, the album is most noted for its New Jack Swing elements, courtesy of Teddy Riley. Some of them – Jam, Remember The Time – work brilliantly. Others – Can’t Let Her Get Away, She Drives Me Wild – feel more like filler. The best moments on the album are in the second half, particularly Who Is It?, which sounds like some sort of sequel to Billie Jean. This was his first album without the mastery of Quincy Jones, and it does show. Where in the past there was a push and pull between the two of them for modern sounds (MJ) and classic arrangements (QJ), now it is Jackson surrounded by a bunch of young producers who grew up with him as their idol. I still love the majority of it, and it is probably the last time that he was really “Michael Jackson”, but Janet’s Rhythm Nation 1814 is the superior Jackson-meets-New Jack Swing album.

6-destiny

  1. Destiny [The Jacksons, 1978]

This was the first album were The Jacksons were given full creative control, and it is as if all that energy that had been bubbling up inside them finally gets the chance to spill over and they do not let it go by the wayside. Blame It On The Boogie may be a cover of British songwriter Mick “No Relation” Jackson, but you can’t deny that The Jacksons’ sheen is what makes it memorable. That Shake Your Body (Down to The Ground) actually has an extremely unconventional beat didn’t stop it becoming a defining hit for the group, Things I Do For You is a funky classic and the title track is the kind of acoustic ballad that Michael would rarely pull off again.

5-diana-ross-presents

  1. Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 [Jackson 5, 1969]

It’s easy to dismiss this one due to the amount of covers present. There are only two originals, but when one of those originals is I Want You Back, one of the greatest pop songs ever written, that makes up for a lot. It is so abundantly clear that the whole album is built around that one song. But what makes this entire record is the utterly infectious youthful exuberance on display. They really do burst onto the record with the kind of zest that one can only have when you are an innocent gang of kids. If the renditions of Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand! or their take on Phil Spector’s arrangement of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah aren’t definitive…well, they weren’t designed to be. The 10 year old Michael singing lead on Smokey Robinson’s Who’s Lovin’ You, however, is absolutely definitive and even outdoes Smokey himself. If anything the quickness with which the album was made is an asset. It captures the energy there and then. As time progressed, and Jackson became obsessed with his idea of perfection, he would ironically lose one of pop’s most important factors; the moment.

4-thriller

  1. Thriller [Michael Jackson, 1982]

Is this the greatest album ever made? No. Its only #4 on this list. No album with The Girl Is Mine on it can reasonably be called the greatest anything. Of course, everyone knows every moment on Thriller (except perhaps Rod Temperton’s Baby Be Mine, which is a bit of fluff but acts as a danceable breather following the colossal Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’). It is hard to look at it through fresh eyes. I would say Beat It is a good pop-rock song, but isn’t quite the authentic hard rocker we have all been led to believe it is despite Eddie Van Halen’s blistering solo (Prince’s early rock songs RAWKED way more), the title track is basically a novelty song – a good novelty song, but a novelty song all the same. Personally, I think Side 2 trumps Side 1. Billie Jean is overplayed to death, but listening to it without the glove, sparkly jacket and hat and it ranks as one of the darkest songs of his career. There really is something for everyone on it, even for lameoids (The Girl Is Mine again). But I feel like its success trapped him. Each new album would more or less follow the same formula.

3-abc

  1. ABC [Jackson 5, 1970]

Bear with me here. On Frasier, when they were writing the part of Niles, the model they used was “Just like Frasier, but more so”. This is kind of how I feel about this album in relation to Diana Ross Presents… All the great things about the debut are present, but they have honed it so much for the second album. It wasn’t just tossed off to meet scheduling demands like the previous release. A lot more thought have gone into the songs. The title track is a bona fide classic, as is opener The Love You Save (which remained in Jackson’s J5 medley throughout his solo career). My personal favourite is the obvious ABC sequel 2-4-6-8, if only for Michael’s shout-out in the middle; “I may be a little fella, but my heart’s as big as Texas! I have all the love a man could give, and maybe a little bit extra!” It also isn’t totally safe. Amongst the covers is Funkadelic’s I’ll Bet You, which is more or less the modern day equivalent of a listenable Baby-era Justin Bieber covering Dillinger Escape Plan (OK, maybe not exactly like that, but close enough).

2-bad

  1. Bad [Michael Jackson, 1987]

It is hard to follow-up something like Thriller. It comes but once in a lifetime. And although Bad may not have cracked the 100 million mark, I would say it is the more consistent album. With Thriller, it is almost as if the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Not the case with Bad. It isn’t all brilliant, of course. If there is one thing we learned from their collaborations with Paul McCartney, it’s that Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder (and Paul McCartney, come to think of it) are not very good at collaborating. Their duet on Bad, Just Good Friends, is one of the biggest non-songs on any blockbuster album. Smooth Criminal is a song I think always works better visually than it does purely as a song. But The Way You Make Me Feel remains one of my favourites, if Who Is It? could be the sequel to Billie Jean, Dirty Diana sounds like it could be the prequel, and Man In The Mirror needs no introduction. As pure 80s pop goes, you would be hard pressed to find a better example. One of my favourite MJ tracks, Streetwalker, was omitted. Travesty.

1-off-the-wall

  1. Off The Wall [Michael Jackson, 1979]

Let us be clear – nobody was expecting this. Despite the slow burning growth of The Jacksons’ success and Jackson’s foray into film with the disasterous Diana Ross vehicle (and Blaxploitation killing) The Wiz, Jackson was still little Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5 in a lot of people’s eyes. This is the album that people keep telling me that Justin Bieber has made with his current release (he hasn’t), and it is pretty perfect from beginning to end. Unlike the rest of Jackson’s Epic solo records, there’s no real formula and it doesn’t feel too calculated. There is a lot of fun to be had in the moment, the last time he would really do that to such an extent. It has by far the funkiest tracks of his solo career; Get On The Floor, Burn This Disco Out, Workin’ Day & Night. His performance is so ON IT that it is hard not to get swept up. He is front and centre and commanding. At 21 years old, he was already an industry veteran, yet still just a kid full of life. Perhaps it is how underplayed some of the songs are that help with its reputation. You can walk into a shop and hear something like Thriller’s Human Nature being piped through, but you’re unlikely to hear It’s The Falling In Love or the almost quiet storm-via-Stevie Wonder (who wrote it) I Can’t Help It. And yet the ones that are ubiquitous – Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, Rock With You – are still preferable to hearing some of the later hits. Pop never sounded this good.

  1. Loved this article. Off The Wall is MJs best album!! Thriller should be higher than #4 (Human Nature alone makes that one of the best albums ever) but I will let that go because many dismiss the musical genius and brilliance of Off The Wall and you got that right! I definitely agree with your comments on Triumph and Destiny. Those songs were some of MJs best work. His voice and energy were infectious. Great job!
    (More fun to debate about this than the election results…thanks for the break).

  2. While I need to do more exploring into the pre-Off the Wall so that I can more fully understand this lost, I thought it was quite a good read. That being said, my opinion is vastly different than yours. Dangerous is the best album IMO, and I personally enjoy Dangerous and History much more than Off the Wall or Thriller. Like I said however, really enjoyed the read, I like reading about other’s opinions.

    BTW, I believe the Jacksons: Live! Deserves to be on the list, and possibly the Live at Wembley that released with Bad 25. At least Jacksons Live, due to the renditions of early songs that are significantly different with an older MJ. for example, Ben, is much better on Jacksons Live than the original release, and I personally like the later renditions of I’ll be There as well.

    1. I gave The Jacksons Live a little shout out in the Triumph write-up. Didn’t include live albums, but if I did I’d probably rate it Top 10. Reckon it’s the absolute peak of his live performances.

      1. It is really good. Though Id have to say the Bad tour Is ever so slightly better. Dangerous is great as well (when he’s not lip syncing). And History….well… Lets just say I had a lapse in judgment recently and bought a cd of the Auckland show…..

    2. I agree, Colby! Dangerous is the greatest in its sprawl and ambition, and made all the more poignant by what came after and what could have been. And great list, Shaun! Nice to see Bad above Thriller too. Under-appreciated album IMO, if you can say that about an album that’s sold gazillions.

      HIStory I’m in two minds about. That was my era, when I saw him live (19 times), but it’s an album you can only admire, not love. Songs like They Don’t Care are towering, formidable, angry – I admire that. I admire Earth Song (and I admire anyone who has the balls to go out on stage and stretch out his arms like Jesus – sorry not sorry). But I can’t love it like some MJ fans do, though Stranger is close to introspective as MJ gets, and beautiful.

      Good to see Triumph and The Jacksons Live given the attention it deserves too. But as for peak of his performances, surely that’s the Bad tour? Maybe it’s just the addition of certain great songs, but I still watch those concerts open-mouthed, from start to finish. It’s like he’s possessed.

  3. The U.K. Is out of Europe. Donald Trump is President of the USA. David Bowie and Prince are dead. I thought the world was ending then I saw this.

    I love you and miss you.

  4. I think I might be the oldest person commenting on this thread☺ . If you have already, please take time out to watch Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off The Wall produced by Spike Lee.

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