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In 1969 came the debut album from The Jackson 5. The album, a self-entitled release which acknowledges Diana Ross as responsible for their discovery, has the quintet here comprised of members: Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, Marlon and an eleven-year old Michael Jackson (the last two of whom had only recently become part of the Pop band once they had matured to the stage where they were ready to join the rest.
You get the album underway with a funky little joint from them ,and I felt as though it was just the way to begin things and show the direction of the newer Motown sound with the rise of Funk in late sixties whilst stil holding on to their Pop foundations with a popular track track which has been covered by many over the years.
Here you move on towards the new material from the band, and just as with the opener, you find them performing a song which has them doing a Pop joint injected with heavy Funk in the form of wah-wah guitars. Here Michael takes the lead, just as with the first (although others do get a look in on the vocals at times).
3. "I Want You Back"
I won't spend too much time on this because everyone knows it, and it is simply a killer track. You can't construct a better Pop song than this one.
4. "Can You Remember"
I immediately fell for the percussion in this one, and I felt that this was down to the fact that the kind of drumming which you see in the tune is the kind of thing which you would associate with the Hip Hop beats of the late eighties, and with this you see them heading towards the Soul music, but their approach makes it much lighter and accessible than what is typically found on a soulful song. It is a nice change to the feel of the album.
5. "Standing In The Shadows Of Love"
You see the kind of thing in the last one being pushed through onto this one, and it sees them returning to music where they cover tracks from other Motown artist. Here you have Michael and Jermaine taking control of the thing as they perform one which was originally recorded by The Four Tops.
6. "You've Changed"
I saw this one as the first one where the music wasn't quite living up to the standards of the rest of it. I felt this way due to the fact that the overall sound of it indicated that it was a very generic song out of the Motown camp, and it wasn't really saying all that as they do another one which deals with love in a Pop format.
7. "Mi Cherie Amour"
This one really stands out due to the fact that the sole responsibility of the vocals lies with Jermaine and so it doesn't really do what the majority of the others do. However with the familiarity of this Stevie Wonder cover means that the restrictions of Jermaine's vocals are held up by the quality of the song.
8. "Who's Lovin' You"
Here you have a song originally performed by The Miracles song done by the band, and I saw it as the best example of Michael's ability in this album as he really brings out all the emotions of this Soul song which deals with him reminiscing on an old love. It is one of the best songs form the album, and has a completely different feel to the rest of it as the Pop elements are essential lost here.
This is another one form the album which is a nice one, but doesn't rally do all that much, and it just sounds like a regular filler to the record as it just seems to fit in with what all Motown was producing around this time, and so you couldn't really get all that much from it on its own. The song is well-written, but goes over topics which have already been extensively explored in the album.
10. "I'm Losing You"
This time around you have The Jackson Five covering a short track by The Temptations, and it appears that just as they have with many others here, they are able to make big things happen and pull out the most impressive stuff which the record has to offer. Once again Jermaine acts as the leads vocalist, and does well in this position.
Getting into a track which was also the name of the fourth album by Sly & The Family Stone, this is one cover which wasn't really as successful as the ret which you find on here, and I felt that it was a bit of a shame as it clearly wasn't the right song to use, and they couldn't really make much out of a song which hardly relates to what they do.
12. "Born To Love"
Ending off, you have another pretty straightforward song from them which doesn't particularly do all that much, and I felt as though it brought things down at a time where you would have liked to have heard something big to really round off the release well and to some degree brush over the weaker joints on the album.
I thought that on the whole this was a good album from The Jackson 5. It has them performing a few funky little joints and many successful Pop songs, but at times the quality dips with some songs on it not quite doing what they should as they just provide the generic Motown sound.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 I Want You Back
4 Can You Remember
5 Standing in the Shadows of Love
6 You've Changed
7 My Cherie Amour
8 Who's Lovin' You
10 (I Know) I'm Losing You
12 Born to Love You