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Michael Jackson - History
Well the King of Pop is no more. Love him or hate him, you have to admit, Michael Jackson has had a massive influence in music in the last thirty years and has released some classic tracks. I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of his, but I enjoy most of his music and there are a few tracks that I really love. This album came out way back in 1995 and I decided as I didn't own any of his material it was time I splashed out on this one. I sometimes dig this out and give it a listen as there are some real classics on here, with this in mind I decided it was about time I gave this a review!
HIStory was released as a double album. The first CD contains fifteen classic songs and is basically a best of. The second CD contains what were then brand new songs. As I review the tracks you will no doubt recognise many of them as they went on to be massive hits in their own right. The album went on to sell over 20 million copies world wide and was the largest selling double album of all time! The album was nominated for a Grammy and was number one in many countries all around the world.
The Man Himself
I'm not going to go into lengthy detail about Michael Jackson because this review is obviously about the album and not the man. But as we all know Jackson had a very up and down career. So I thought it good just to let you know exactly where in his career this album made it's appearance.
When this album was released it was fair to say Jackson was not as popular as he once was. After a stunning career through the eighties, where he just produced classic track after classic track, things had gone a little quiet. Four years had passed since the release of the Dangerous album and Jackson's character had undergone some serious scrutiny. A few years earlier allegations regarding child abuse had hit the headlines, along with this Jackson's first marriage had broken up, life was not being kind to the star. Despite all the allegations and a constant string of bizarre newspaper headlines, Jackson was determined to continue producing music. His loyal fans stuck by the man and with there support he was able to pull through and release this album. If you listen to it, you can tell that a lot of his new songs are aimed at the media and tell of his recent struggles. As we all know many other things blighted his career after the release of this album, but those experiences and where he was in his life really do come through in the music he produced.
The Artwork & Sleeve
Usually I don't pay much attention to this kind of thing. But on this album it really does deserve a mention. The front cover of the album has the impressive figure of a giant silver statue of Michael Jackson against a dark and fiery sky. It's a really bold picture that looks really good and smacks of power and passion. The back is similar with the fiery sky and of course a pretty standard track listing.
The two CD's are bright gold in colour and have the same picture of the statue of Jackson embossed onto them. The most impressive thing though is the sleeve. Calling it a sleeve is wrong really as it is actually a mini book. It sits neatly inside the case and when you remove it you are struck by the thickness. It's fifty pages long! It contains a mini biography of the career of Jackson. It opens with personal messages from Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and then Steven Speilberg. Each message takes up a full page and they are quite interesting reads. Then there are three pages of Jackson thanking pretty much everyone he can think of.
Next we see a few pictures from very early in his career and then a list of all his awards down the years, my goodness there are a lot, this part takes up a few more pages. Further on in the book there are more pictures of some of the highlights of his career and then the songs are listed. Each song has all the words down and a list of details about producers and writers etc... The book concludes with more thankyous and more pictures. To be honest I read the book through once and then never looked at it again. But it is a good addition to the album and I'm sure any real fans will enjoy this and find it full of useful details.
Despite all the nice pictures and fancy artwork, none of it matters that much in my opinion. What really counts in the music. So now I want to go through each song and tell you a little bit about it and more importantly how it makes me feel. You will have to bear with me as there are thirty songs! Deep breathe, here we go...
CD 1 HIStory Begins
1. Billie Jean - Where to start with this one? One of Jackson best known songs. This was released from the 'Thriller' album in 1982 and went straight in to take the number one spot in both the UK and the US. It remained at number one in the UK for 9 weeks and was a massive seller. I like this song, but it's not one of my favourites. For me the beat is a little weak and the song is a little to Motown which is not something I really enjoy to much. But it's still a classic that I do like listening to, plus it's great to dance to! 4/5
2. The Way You Make Me Feel - This was released in 1987 and came from the 'Bad' album. This one just made it to number one in the US but only got to number 3 in the UK. I love this song though. I think Jackson's vocals are flawless on here. He does a few trade mark 'Eeeeeoohhh' noises that sound great. This is just one you feel like you should be stood there clapping along to. A great beat and even though the lyrics are pretty simple they work very well with the music. 5/5
3. Black Or White - If the last song was good, well this one is simply stunning! This song was released in 1991 and came from the 'Dangerous' album. It hit number one in a staggering 18 countries, it was number one in the US for nine weeks and got the Christmas number one there. Here it was a massive seller and really took Jackson's career on to the next level. I love the music in this song. The riff that plays through most of the song is just perfection, it sounds so fresh and powerful, mix this with a dirty beat and it sounds amazing. The lyrics in this one are so powerful. This was around the time all the rumours about Jackson skin colour were in full flow and this was Jackson saying he doesn't care, we should love him for who he is and his music. A wonderful song that I listen to often. 5/5
4. Rock With You - A real oldie here, from the 'Off The Wall' album this song was released in 1979. It only made it to number 7 in the UK and it was really before Jackson was a household name. I don't like the song, it's to soulful for me. Not my kind of music, the words are pretty repetitive and really lack imagination. Probably the weakest one on the Best Of album. 2/5
5. She's Out Of My Life - This is a slower one. Taken from 'Off The Wall' again and again released in 1979. This song made it number 3 in the UK charts and was a decent seller for a very young Jackson. This one is OK, it's a nice song but really lacks any punch. It's one I don't mind listening to, but don't go out of my way to hear. The lyrics are better in this one, but the music is pretty ordinary and gets a little boring towards the end. 3/5
6. Bad - Now were talking! This song came out in 1987 and was the title track to the 'Bad' album. It made number one in the US but rather surprisingly only made it to number three in the UK. I love this song, it's one of my favourites on the album and really makes me feel good. The beat is fast and loud and the lyrics are full of passion and fight. 'They say the skies the limit, well for me that's really true' a great lyric that really showed Jackson's determination to make it big and hit the heights that he later achieved. A classic song that makes me want to get up and dance! 5/5
7. I Just Can't Stop Loving You - Again from 'Bad' and released in 1987 this song made it to number one in the UK. I like this one, it's a little slower than most of the other songs. There are some nice female vocals on here that really compliment Jackson's voice well and the two voices perform very well together. The lyrics are clever and well written and the music has a really nice kind of floaty feel to it. The music builds up towards the end and a few good key changes really make it a good finish. 4/5
8. Man In The Mirror - Another one from 'Bad' that was released in 1988. Amazingly this was one of the few songs he ever released that didn't make the top 20 in the UK. However it was released again in 2009 and made it to the number two spot. So it may have taken twenty years but it got there in the end! I love this song. It's one of the few songs I can think of that really effects my emotions. I always feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up when I hear this. The words are beautiful and so poignant, they show how Jackson feels about his life and encourage others to look at themselves closer and make changes in their lives. The music builds up and sounds great and the vocals from Jackson are just magical. 5/5
9. Thriller - Released in 1983 and the title track from his 'Thriller' album this track was massive. It was number one in countries all around the world, and the video for this song is widely regarded as the greatest music video of all time. This song has been the object of countless edits and remakes and can be seen in so many different areas of the media. The song itself is very good, but maybe not as good as some of the other on the album. However, that said the music is great, a hypnotic beat and some great brass that goes well with the music. The lyrics are fun and clever and go really well with the music. It's obviously a favourite to dance to, many people still know the moves to this song even 27 years on. I love the poem near the end of the song. Go on say it with me 'Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorise your neighbourhood. And who so ever shall be found, with out the souls all getting down, must stand and face the hounds of Hell and rot inside a corpses shell'. And then 'The foulness stenches in the air, the funk of 40,000 years. Grisly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom. Though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver, for no mere mortal can resist, the evil of the Thriller' Ahhhahahahhhahhha. Class, you have to love that song! 5/5
10. Beat It - Another one from the 'Thriller' album this song was released in 1983, it hit the number one spot in the US but again quite surprisingly only made it to number three in the UK. What were we buying back then I ask? This is another real classic. The beat is so strong and the guitar riff sounds so good. The words are full of passion and anger and really sound good. This is another song that makes me just want to get up and dance about the kitchen! I love the screeching guitar solo near the end as well, brilliant music. 5/5
11. The Girl Is Mine - Quite a come down this one! Another one from 'Thriller' this one came out in 1982. It made it to number 8 in the UK and features Paul McCartney. This is a slower song and really lacks anything special. I don't think McCartney's vocals work on this one and the lyrics are a little ordinary. The music is pretty boring and it's not really one I enjoy. 2/5
12. Remember The Time - From 'Dangerous' this was released in 1992. It made it to number two here in the UK and was quite a big hit for Jackson. I don't mind this one but again think it lacks something. The beat is a little repetitive and the lyrics lack imagination. It's a decent song but not one I really love listening to. 3/5
13. Don't Stop Till You Get Enough - Another old one, this again came from the 'Off The Wall' album and was released in 1979. This was the first song Jackson ever did all on his own, he wrote it, he sang it and it really showed people the talent he had. I don't mind this one and think it's one of his better earlier ones. The beat is quite funky and it makes you want to move. His vocals do feel a little strained and he seems to be singing really high. That said it does kind of work and it's a decent enough song. 3/5
14. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' - Another one from 'Thriller' this came out back in 1983. Jackson wrote this song back in 1978 and you can tell as it sounds more like his older stuff than songs he released at this point in his career. I don't mind this one but again as it's one of the older ones I'm not that keen. It's again a little to Motown for me. 3/5
15. - Heal The World - Released in 1992 from his 'Dangerous' album this song made it to number two in the UK. However it was Whitney's 'I will always love you' that kept it from the top spot! I think opinions on this one are split. Mindless tosh or beautiful pure magic. For me I have to say it's the latter. Yes the lyrics are cringe worthy, but they sounds so good. This song is all about Michael trying to hug trees, but even so it's beautiful. The music flows around Jackson's voice magically and it all comes together to make a really nice sounding song. One that I do really like despite it being a bit la de da. 5/5
So there you have it, the end of the first CD. Some massive tracks and as you can see by some of the stats, they were massive hits. I would love to know how many singles he sold all together from those fifteen songs. One point though, where is 'Smooth Criminal'? One of my all time favourites!? Anyway for me this is the better CD of the two, I love some of the tracks and think they are in a really good order, you get a few fast beats and then a slower one to ease the mood. All put together very well and it sounds great. Anyway, onto CD 2, my goodness this is an epic album!!
CD 2 - HIStory Continies
With this CD I'm not going to go into all the stats about the songs. When this came out they were all new, so I'm not going to remind you of sales and chart positions etc... The reason I wanted to do that on the Best Of section was just to show how many big hits Jackson has had. Anyway, I digress, on we go....
1. Scream - Massive start to the second CD. I just love this song. This was a duet for Michael with his sister Janet. The music on this one is quite unusual, lots of strange sound effects, glass breaking, sirens, and the clap, all come together in this song to make it amazing. The beat is electric and the sounds just perfect. The lyrics are OK, but it's the music in this track that does it for me. The vocals from Jackson are stunning and it's just the kind of song that makes me want to throw myself around in some kind of futuristic dance! Hard to put into words really how this one makes me feel, the best word I can think of is, alive! 5/5
2. They Don't Care About Us - Strange little intro, and then the music slams in. Massive beat to this one. Just makes you want to stamp your feet. The lyrics are clever and come at a fast pace and really create a feeling of power and drive in this song. This is a song that kind of slipped under the radar when it was released, but it's one I really love. 5/5
3. Stranger In Moscow - After two really frantic songs this one slows the pace right down. A beautiful little piece of music. Sounds a little like someone beatboxing in slow motion. Really nice lyrics and an other worldly feel to this one. The vocals are stunning and really show what Jackson is capable off. Another classic track. 5/5
4. This Time Around - After a flawless start he has to let up somewhere. He does with this one. It's got a catchy beat but is just missing something. The music sounds a little forced and the vocals are not great by his standards. 3/5
5. Earth Song - Back to his best. I remember this being a Christmas number one and a massive hit. I loved the video, a song that starts of so slow with that iconic piano and just builds and builds. By the end your just blown away by the power of the song. The lyrics are good, a little like the earlier 'Heal the world' Jackson is back to his tree hugging, but in a good way. Some more amazing vocals make this another simply brilliant song. 5/5
6. D.S - Starts with a baby crying, strange. Then a funky beat kicks in, and the vocals fire up. This one is quite a catchy one and really has some good sounds to it. It's not quite up to the standard of the ones he released but still has a good sound. However there is a certain 'Slash' playing guitar on this one which adds weight to the track. It's all about a judge who was on the trial for Jackson's court case, quite controversial in many aspects. 4/5
7. Money - One of the weaker songs on this CD. It has a pretty basic beat and some poor vocals for me. A lot of it is Jackson talking or trying to rap, pretty poor really. 2/5
8. Come Together - A Beatles cover of all things. Is very different from the original as Jackson puts his own spin on the track. I actually think he does a decent job of this one and covers it pretty well on the whole. There are bits in it that could be better but I do like listening to it and can imagine Jackson breaking out his moves to it. 4/5
9. You Are Not Alone - Breathtaking. I think a lot of people hate this song. But you have to see it for what it is, pure pop perfection. It's just such a beautiful song with some fantastic vocals. Jackson really crowned himself 'The King of Pop' with this song. I remember it being number one for ages and I just loved it so much when it first came out. The lyrics are pretty stereotypical of a love song, but there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. It's just a pure unadulterated classic love song! 5/5
10. Childhood - This one makes me cringe a little. Knowing what we know about Jackson this is not a great song. The music is slow and a little dull, the vocals are a little off and the words, well I try not to listen to them. Poor. 2/5
11. Tabloid Junkie - This starts with clips of news reporters reporting strange and bizarre stories about Jackson's personal life. The one with him sleeping in the hyperbolic chamber is mentioned. A brave move from the star. The lyrics slam the media and tell of how he has suffered at there hands. To be honest it's not a great song but it does have a very powerful message. 3/5
12. 2 Bad - This is a pretty average song, it's heading for the realms of filler. Sounds a lot like some of his other songs and the lyrics really lack and depth and imagination. This is one I usually skip. 2/5
13. History - An epic start to this song. Trumpets and fan fares, then clips of old headlines play. Then the music fires up, banging bass line and great beat. Jackson belts out some fast lyrics. Then suddenly the song changes, sounds a little like 'Heal the world', slow music, pretty vocals and good sounds. The song continues with a mix of heavy beat then slows down. I actually really like this one. The lyrics are very clever and very powerful. The vocals are excellent and are backed up at certain points with a gospel choir. A cracking song! 5/5
14. Little Susie - Goes a bit wrong here. Another unusual intro, a distant choir sing something slowly and gently then build up to something powerful. Then a child sings off key. Then finally after three strange minutes Jackson comes in. The song itself is pretty poor and does not justify the super long intro. Its sounds a bit off key and really does little for me. 2/5
15. Smile - Final song, how does he round off this marathon journey. Well it starts off slow with a nice little intro. Then the lyrics kick in and hang on, we know this one. It's another cover. Originally a piece of music from Charlie Chaplin and later covered by Nat King Cole and then various others. To be honest it's not nearly the best version of this song I've heard. I don't think it's the best way to round off the album. 3/5
Well there you have it. Truly an epic album in every sense. There are some absolutely massive tracks on here. Obviously his old stuff is legendary, but many of the then new tracks have gone on to become massive hits that are now etched in pop history. There are some weak songs on the album, both the old stuff and the new but to be honest, if you were just to put the fifteen best songs on one album, it would simply be stunning. Some people will like songs that I'm not to keen on, whereas songs I love others won't enjoy, which is why he has put thirty songs down on this album. It really shows the complete spectrum and range of this man's career. He has such a wide range of music that he has produced and this album really does document that so well.
Overall this is probably one of my all time favourite albums. I don't listen to it that often, every time I dig it out like I have done for this review I remember just how good it is and how talented this man really was. So whatever you think of this man, his personal life, his strange death, all the rumours and allegations, just forget about all of those for a while. Stick this album on and remember Michael Jackson for what he should be remembered for, being 'The King of Pop'!
Michael Jackson has long been known as the King of Pop and with such huge albums behind him as Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous the time had come for Jackson to give up an offering of his greatest works alongside some of his newest offerings but does this album really live upto being worthy of the story of the King of Pop in music?
Disc 1 (The past)
1. Billie Jean
2. The Way You Make Me Feel
3. Black Or White
4. Rock With You
5. She's Out Of My Life
7. I Just Can't Stop Loving You
8. Man In The Mirror
10. Beat It
11. The Girl Is Mine
12. Remember The Time
13. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
14. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
15. Heal The World
Disc 2 (Present and Future)
2. They Don't Care About Us
3. Stranger In Moscow
4. This Time Around
5. Earth Song
8. Come Together
9. You Are Not Alone
10. Childhood (Theme From "Free Willy 2")
11. Tabloid Junkie
12. 2 Bad
14. Little Susie / Pie Jesu
The first disc offers up some of the biggest hits in the history of music and for me this disc is simply amazing as it offers a journey through Jacksons life with each song sounding so distinctive yet each one being stunning. There are some songs that could have been on this album that did not make it like Smooth Criminal, Dangerous and Human Nature to name but a few but this is a credit to Jackson in that he has so many huge hits that it was not possible to cram them all onto the one album.
The second disc sees Jackson offer up some new classics with the amazingly powerful Scream seeing Jackson work alongside his sister Janet in a song that had one of the most expensive music videos ever to be created. Other than Scream there are some excellent tracks like You Are Not Alone, Childhood and Earth Song all of which were huge hits in their own right. The album saw what could easily have been a new studio album release to go alongside a greatest hits offering but rather than do this Jackson decided to go for giving his fans an amazing musical treat that simply gave stunning value for money and stunning tracks that live with the listener for ever.
Don't miss out on a stunning album which has old hits and new classics all offered up in the one superb package.
Michael Jackson's 1995 release 'History: Past Present and Future Book I' features what is quite possibly the best and worst from the King of Pop. Reeling from the infamous 1993 allegations, Jackson decides to speak out against the trashing he endured from the media in his work. However, if you were a loyal Michael Jackson fan then this double-disc set might annoy you as you are forced to buy a Greatest Hits compilation CD (containing the usual suspects of Billie Jean, The Way You Make Me Feel, Black of White, Rock With You, She's Out My Life, Bad, I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Thriller, Beat It, The Girl Is Mine, Remember the Time, Don't Stop til You Get Enough, Wanna Be Starting Somethin' and Heal the World) in order to buy his new works. As I have already reviewed his previous works, I will concentrate on the second C.D. containing the new material.
'Scream' is the opening track and lives up to the reputation of the usual first Jackson track - that is, it's brilliant. One of my favourite tracks on the album, Scream is a duet with sister Janet Jackson where both express their anger with the media for invasion of privacy. Even though there is little variation for the content of Jackson songs (privacy is a theme always to feature heavily in his songs), the song itself is extremely catchy and as usual, makes you want to dance. The music video accompanying this song features in the Guinness World Book of Records for being the most expensive music video ever as it cost eight million dollars to make! At least it shows in the video which is sleek and innovative (for its time).
One of the best songs ever to be composed by Jackson, 'They Don't Care About Us' talks about once again, his victimisation, oppression and hounding from the media. A complete departure from what you might expect from Jackson, the song is angry and the prominent drum line makes it sound almost primal. Known also for its controversy over some questionably anti-Semitic lyrics and for the first music video containing scenes of violence, this song should really be remembered for showing the extent of Jackson's creativity.
The third song, 'Stranger In Moscow' explores the theme of loneliness and isolation to great effect. A haunting song which relies primarily on Jackson's vocal performance to hold the track together, this song demonstrates the growth in Jackson's lyrical capacity. This was also set to video in a black and white montage of Jackson wandering in the rain...simple song, simple video but it does grow on the listener and is certainly underrated.
Unfortunately, 'This Time Round' upon listening does not measure up to the first three tracks. The instrumentation is bizarre, the vocal performance is under par and this song simply allows Michael to vent about his anger. Not too nice for the listener and unfortunately this is one of the few Jackson songs I have to skip.
Not to worry though as we're back to brilliance with 'Earth Song'. Condemned by some for being taking himself too seriously and for being too pompous, I think that the accusations levelled by Jackson in 'Earth Song' (i.e. what have we done to the world) include himself. The track has a simple structure but is crafted beautifully and combined with a passionate vocal performance from Jackson, an excellent and absorbing music video, this song is one of Jackson's best.
From hit to miss. The sixth song of the album, D.S. is quite possibly the worst song of the album. The character in question, 'Dom Sheldon' bears a ghostly resemblance to 'Tom Sneddon', the main prosecutor involved in the 1993 allegations. The song ends in a gunshot. While Jackson reserves every right to express his anger, do it with some musical respect please. A poor effort from Jackson.
In continuation with the theme of betrayal, we move on to the seventh song of the album entitled 'Money' and thankfully this song is worth it's salt. This song doesn't really stand out on the first listen but grows on the listener. We hear what is possibly the closest thing to Jackson rapping in the verse (rapping in the traditional sense..if there is such a thing) and the chorus has some nice harmonies.
Track number eight is the Beatles cover 'Come Together'. Considering that the song is supposed to affectionately describe each of the Beatles members themselves, it was an odd choice of song for Jackson to cover. But still, it's one of the better covers that are around - he adds more of a rockish spin to it and the video footage to this in Moonwalker is electrifying.
One to one of the bigger hits from HIStory - 'You Are Not Alone' is an R. Kelly composition. Sickeningly sweet, I am not a big fan of the song or the music video but Jackson's vocals are to be commended for a measured performance. Overrated in my opinion.
In close contention for the worst song on the album, the Jackson-composed 'Childhood' might have fit in some horrific kid movie (oh wait, it did..how could I forget Free Willy 2). The emotional singing from Jackson does not compensate for the overblown orchestration, I'm afraid. Yes Michael, we all saw your childhood and you sang songs which were much better than this one.
Song number eleven is 'Tabloid Junkie' and shows how to deal with such issues well. The bass line is Michael Jackson beatboxing (who knew he could do that?) and alongside some nice vocals and interesting lyrics, this is how it should be done.
2 Bad is average - some parts of the song is catchy but nothing groundbreaking.
HIStory is a grand song which at times doesn't flow properly; an opulent introduction, the irritating radio report, the infinite dates...it shouldn't work. But it does. Once the song gets into full flow, the song has a beautiful chorus with terrific harmonies and the lovely typical Jackson message which has been missing from the album. Uplifting and daring.
Little Susie perhaps is too grand for my liking however. The odd classical introduction drags and doesn't gel well with the rest of the song. Instead it leaves the listener with a feeling of uneasiness and considering the macabre content of the song (the murder of a child), it's not exactly chill out music.
The cover for 'Smile' is one of the best I've heard as it pitch required suits Jackson's voice. He delivers on the emotional front as well and combined with such a beautiful song already, this song is truly comforting to listen to, especially in times of grief. It is was very calming to hear the softening of the spitting, angry Jackson at the beginning of the record to be replaced with the unfortunately sorrowful but peaceful Jackson.
"HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I" came in 1995 as a double album from the late Pop superstar Michael Jackson. It found that in it he brought together all of his old classics (from "Off The Wall" to "Dangerous") on the first half before delivering some all-new material to continue where he was seen to left off on "Dangerous" in 1991.
1. "Billie Jean"
Getting the album going in perhaps the best way, this one has him showing just how strong his song writing is here, this song is one of the greatest songs which Michael left the music world with as he gets on some empowering beats and managing to hit through with probably the biggest hit of his career. It is one you can't possibly have missed out on in your lifetime and is the artist working at his best.
2. "The Way You Make Me Feel"
He keeps the momentum with this one as you see that in it he is able to show just how well he ca do things as he makes the turn towards the seductive side of his music and sings towards a girl who he is interested in and let's her know to what extent this is and just how it is affecting him and his actions as a result of clocking eyes on her.
3. "Black Or White"
This one came as the first single from the artist on this record and so made a massive impact as the apparent transformation that the artist had gone through once he released with "Bad" was going even further here and with it he chose to come with a track which hits back at racism as he returned looking whiter than ever before. He was joined by the then-Guns N' Roses lead guitarist, Slash and he also gets some more raps (from Bill Bottrell) too.
4. "Rock With You"
This was second single from the artists' breakthrough "Off The Wall" record and saw that he continued the same sort of high standard when it came to the freaky, energetic material. It was like nothing else he had done up to the point as he gets into the grooves and is seen to combine watered-down Funk and Disco to come up with a massive Pop hit.
5. "She's Out Of My Life"
This was the biggest ballad from the "Off The Wall" album and one of the most significant singles that he delivered here as he goes back to his early years as part of The Jackson 5 and shows that he' s just as capable of these emotive, slower songs as with the funkier material. It is a powerful song and he pulls everything out of his vocals to get his point across as he breaks ties with his partner.
This was a highly significant one as t had him burst out with the titular track of his 1987, in which it is seen to get him making massive changes as he comes through with a completely newly-revamped image and chooses to go about thing with a powerful statement as he hits at the thing with a funky of-the-time Pop song, which really defined what this phase in his career was about.
7. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
Here is a duet, and in this case you find that rather than going for an established name (as he had in the past), this one has Michael getting a fresh face in Siedah Garrett taking on the role of the guest vocalist on a rather popular tune as they do the calm production justice with an impressive effort as they work towards the ballad material.
8. "Man In The Mirror"
Really the first of many socially-conscious songs from Michael and it found that with this one he would go out there to address all of the main issues which plagued the world (such as Apartheid in South Africa) and other massive problems which forced him to take the time to construct (along with a couple of others) an inspirational song for the masses.
This came as the titular track from the best-selling album of all-time and also the final single from it. It is much more known for its iconic music video Rather than the song) but still gets him working incredibly well in a very contemporary style as the themed music of the decade was in full effect, and he played up to this with a dark song.
10. "Beat It"
Keeping things flowing through here this one get Michael getting down to a massive jam as he brings through some of what was found on the first track from the album as he get down to a rough tune (contrasting from the light vocals which have defined the sound of his music) and with it powering out with a massive Pop jam.
11. "The Girl Is Mine"
Michael is seen to get into a killer tune here as you find that he is taken into a one of the most significant of the slower tracks on the record as he is seen to make full use of the incredibly strong vocals which he possessed. It is a powerful one from him and is really bound to affect those who were well into his ballad material.
12. "Remember The Time"
When it comes to Michael and New Jack Swing, this is the most popular song which was done in this style and it has him performing this better than at any other time with him showing the strength of his vocals at the same time that he can work in a much more funky style and get everyone moving again.
13. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
This is a killer jam, in which you find a song which was seen as the massive breakthrough point for him as he showed that, post-The Jacksons, he could still come with the a killer joint to get the clubs jumping and to lift spirits with the most significant tune for him as a solo artist up to this point. You can't hate on this tune, it is a classic.
14. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
You find that here you have a massive hype built up for everyone here as gets into a funky little jam which really gets people going as he is seen to throw together a killer joint as he sings in a rather ominous and intimidating song (not to be brought back in his until he returned with "Bad"). It gets him riding some authentic Funk and showing progression from the Disco of his that record.
15. "Heal The World"
I thought that it was a shame to end the disc in this way as you see that here Michael shows that "Man In The Mirror" wasn't a one-off track form him and so chooses to do one which has him calming done the R&B in order to get into one where he sings a ballad about how many things in the world need putting right, and he needs everyone's support in order to carry it through. I personally idn't like the song, but I can see the appeal.
You see that here you have the album kicking off with a massive cut, in which you see that after many years, the most successful members of The Jackson family came together with this banger of a joint as Janet comes to help out on a powerfully-impactful song where he simply shouts out to backlash against any criticism he faced.
2. "They Don't Care About Us"
In this cut you see that the artist appears to bring in all of the socially-conscious material which was found (especially) in the album before this, however here he is seen to take things a stage further with an intense and in-your-face song where he uses shocking language to engage with the listeners as heavy Hip Hop beats are used.
3. "Stranger In Moscow"
The artist is seen to beatbox in this one as he shows more of how the Hip Hop influence (which came through heavily on "Dangerous") has seeped through here. This one has to be considered as one f the most overlooked singles from him as he really does well to bring back something which takes you back to "Human Nature".
4. "This Time Around"
With the album prior to this one having raps on every other tune and not actually having any real names, Jackson showed that he knows what's hot in the game as he recruited The Notorious B>I.G> to assist him as he performs a tune which is more into the Hip Hop side of his music than perhaps any other point. This all comes through in his deliver and the harsh way he chooses to word things.
5. "Earth Song"
This is a song that you either love or hate, and so I don't really think its worth commenting on as it finds him doing a conscious track where he uses as few actual words as possible.
With Michael's own personal composition, you hear that with this one tha the music is clearly a progression from the album which came before it as you see that with it the production is quite similar to what you get from "Black Or White" and has the fast lifted to force you to take notice. It sits nicely here as a strong one.
With this one you seem to have the artist progressing what was brought on the tune prior to it and in this case you see that things progress significantly as he is seen to get right down to proper Hip Hop in this cut (complete with samples, raps and all) as he once again is behind it all and chooses that this is a direction that he needs to fully-explore.
8. "Come Together"
You a banger of a joint here as Michael Jackson is seen to make his own personal adaptation of some classic Beatles material. He does so with a more up-to-date Rock approach and the inclusion of his turn towards Hip Hop too to give it that extra something as he seems to explore the Rock Ballad more.
9. "You Are Not Alone"
This is seen to really stand out on the album as one of the biggest tunes as you see that here he clams things right down and gets into one of the most popular ballads of his career. It is a massive cut and a highly-emotive tune which was written by the R&B superstar R. Kelly, at a time before he started to sings these for him self.
He is seen to continue through with what came in the song prior to this as with it Michael comes with another moving ballad, but here things seem a lot more personal for his as it plays out as a biography which concentrates on his own childhood and what occurred within it to make him become what he is today.
11. "Tabloid Junkie"
H hits back with the hardcore, Hip Hop-inspired music once more as he gets down to even more of the contemporary R&B material. It appears that he has taken on the support of Teddy Riley on the album prior to this to come up with one which really makes the best use out of this and for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to make all the added changes to make it such a banger. The content of the song refers to how rumours have affected his life.
12. "2 Bad"
Here you get a tune, in which you find him working alongside (of all people) Shaquille O'Neal in one of his early rap efforts and I felt that although things weren't of the best standard, you can't really argue when Michael is a part of things and so with it he hits hard with some more of the same sort of thing which stuff which came through from the "Dangerous" LP.
With this one you have one of the funkiest grooves that you've everheard in a Michael jam juxtaposed with him performing in the style of his much softer Pop material and I felt that with such contrasts and a mix of these two popular sides of his music made for a killer uen from him which keeps on giving.
14. "Little Susie"
Moving things on quite a bit hear, you have a chilling song from the artist as he sings in a powerful manner able a young girl who has been murdered. It's composition is completely unlike him and so really stands out, but if it wasn't for the tragedy of the narrative, I wouldn't have bothered with this one.
He is seen to perform another cover here and this time around you have him performing a tune which was most popularly done by Nat King Cole. I felt that it was a fitting end to the album and shows how well he can make great things form pre-existing material and not lose its original intension as he does it in a style which is typical of him.
Obviously as they first disc contains all of the killer hits which he released, I shouldn't have to concentrate on this side when the original side had so much more to say (at this time). It gets him coming with a variety of strong songs, an although not all of them did what they should have, his decision to include more Hip Hop was valued, and it also made for great contrasts for some of his best ballads.
Now, this isnt your typical Greatest Hits album, which essensially, is what the first CD in this is.
Yes, the track listing will show you the very best of Jackson, from Thriller to Bad, and Billie Jean to Beat It. Some may say that there are some of the best tracks he produced are not on this album, but its hard to fit all the Greatness onto one CD.
The second CD will show you the 90's Micahel Jackson. The new stuff. One of which, the EPIC Earth Song, which touched the hearts and minds of Millions of people, and opened their eyes to what happens in this screwed up world with its heart wrenching video. The song matches the video, and some elements of the albums second CD matches that too. Little Susie, for example. A story about a little girl who lives alone by herself, because her Parents either died or left her alone. This song has the power to make grown men cry.
Stranger In Moscow, which may be familiar to some, as it was released, is a down-beat ballad, which describes the feeling of how the world can make you feel sometimes. The capture of feeling in this song is actually quite remarkable.
They Dont Care About Us, Scream, Childhood and You Are Not Alone are other well known songs from this CD.
Other songs, a couple of covers (Come Together and Smile) werent released, but have a prominent story to tell in each of their sets. The Smile Cover is simply superb.
Michael Jackson is hailed as the 'King Of Pop'. He hit the limelight in the late 1960s with his brothers as the Jackson 5 and they produced many hits before Michael launched his solo career. This has seen him produce such albums as 'Bad' and 'Thriller', both of which are still huge successes, and singles such as those of the same titles, 'Bad' and 'Thriller', amongst many many others.
'HIStory' is Jackson's long awaited Best Of album, released in 1995, and features an amazing list of great songs on two albums. The album is subtitled 'Past, Present and Future Book 1', and is a double CD. The first album contains the classic Jackson music and is a celebration of his greatest tracks. The second disc contains a couple of the more modern releases, and a bunch of new songs (at the time). It is essentially a new album and a greatest hits album released as one. There are 15 tracks tracks on each album.
These are the tracks:
1. Billie Jean
2. The Way You Make Me Feel
3. Black Or White
4. Rock With You
5. She's Out Of My Life
7. I Just Can't Stop Loving You
8. Man In The Mirror
10. Beat It
11. The Girl Is Mine
12. Remember The Time
13. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
14. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
15. Heal The World
1. Scream (with Janet Jackson)
2. They Don't Care About Us
3. Stranger In Moscow
4. This Time Around
5. Earth Song
8. Come Together
9. You Are Not Alone
11. Tabloid Junkie
12. 2 Bad
14. Little Susie
Let me review this in two parts first off.
This is nothing short of amazing. This collection of music from the King Of Pop doesn't have a bad song in sight. From the familiar bassline of 'Billie Jean' to the smash hit sounds of 'Bad', and the then the soft ballads of 'She's Out Of My Life' and 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You', Jackson vocal range and adaptation of style is showcased as nothing short of brilliant. You see a message in his music, and never feel that the lyrics are empty. Perhaps, if there is any weak link, it is 'Black Or White', which sends an important message about racism but came at a time when the media had started to highlight the quirkiness of the performer. This disc rates at 5 stars for me.
The voice is still amazing, but the quality is replaced by a sense of someone trying to make a point, buckling to the public reports and writing music accordingly. There are some hits on the album, with 'Earth Song' hitting top position in the charts for a while with such a memorable video of destruction. This is brilliant. The duet 'Scream' with Janet Jackson could have been better. The video to the track was a bit quirky with an outer space crossed with lunatic asylum feel to it, and this was reciprocated in its success, and again with media attention focused on the increasingly quirky King Of Pop. There are a string of tracks adopting a style you would not normally associate with MJ, and this somehow doesn't fit for me. There is still a musical quality here, and I think there always will be with his music, but this is not at the level we expect from him leading up to the release of this album. I rate this disc at 3 stars.
So, I guess the logical overall rating is 4 stars, which seems low considering the quality of the first disc, and high considering that of the second. I do like this album, but must admit that as time goes on, I listen to it less and less. Every now and then, it's good to pop the first disc on and let it play all the way through, but I am not keen on doing the same with the strange mix that is on the second disc.
The album 'HIStory' is currently available on amazon.co.uk for £11.98 new and £3.99 used.
Thanks for reading.
During my childhood, Michael Jackson was in his prime, with hits like Thiller, Bad and Billie Jean topping the charts from multi-million pound selling albums such as 'Bad' and 'Thriller'. A long awaited 'greatest hits' album was then produced in the late 90's, comprising of a double CD of 'Past, Present and Future' hits. 'History, Past, Present and Future - Book I' is a must have for all Michael Jackson fans and it is a snip at £10.99 in most music stores. It is not to be confused with 'History Volume 1' (around £8.99), which is merely a single CD of Michael Jackson's greatest hits. This double CD album contains a CD of all the hits on the 'History Volume 1' album, plus an extra CD comprising of his later hits at the time, which included future releases such as 'Stranger in Moscow'. The CD also contains a booklet with a biography of Michael Jackson and the lyrics to most of the songs on the 2nd CD. With the vast amount of Michael Jackson hits that have been a prominent part of music for over 25 years, it makes you wonder how this album is only a double CD. He could very well fill a CD compilation twice that size. Although some people deny that they like a song or two of Michael Jackson's, you just know that they have a CD or two hidden amongst their collection. In my opinion, the first CD is the best of the two, as it contains most of Michael's classics, which I have outlined below: History Begins - Disc I I will describe all of the songs on the first CD because I feel they are the most well known Michael Jackson songs that people would like to hear about. 1 - Billie Jean - One of the most famous Michael Jackson songs of all time, appeared on the album 'Thriller'. This is my favourite song because of the unique background music and lyrics to get you up and into a dancing mood. It is all about a one night st
and with the girl claiming to be having a son from Michael, but he's not having any of it! ("Bilie Jean is not my lover!" "The kid is not my son!") Written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 2 - The Way You Make Me Feel - What I like about this tune is the drum beat in the background, the song reminds you of walking down the street with no worries in the world, although it is actually about winning over a girl's love. Taken from the album 'Bad', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 3 - Black Or White - The one where Michael dances on the Statue of Liberty in the video and features Macaulay Culkin. This song is indifferent to me but I do like the beginning of the video. Taken from the album 'Dangerous', written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 4 - Rock With You - What I like about this song is the retro sytle 70's feel to it that made it a classic, One of Michael's earlier hits that appeared on the album 'Off The Wall', written and composed by Rod Temperton, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - **** 5 - She's Out of My Life - This is one of Michael Jacksons's slowest songs, which is about losing a girl. Michael reflects on the times that were, and what went wrong. Taken from the album 'Off The Wall', written and composed by Tom Bahler, produced by Qunicy Jones. Song Rating - ** 6 - Bad - I don't know a word that can describe the backing music on this one, but the beat builds a foundation for the entire song (it gets you tapping your fingers on the table). It Featuring 80's gang members on the video, this is one of Michael Jackson's most famous songs, taken from the same titled album 'Bad', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones.
Song Rating - **** 7 - I Just Can't Stop Loving You - This song starts slow and builds up to a faster song. The lyrics are about expressing your feelings for a girl (if you can't be with this person, life isn't worth living). Again, this is taken from the album 'Bad', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Qunicy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 8 - Man In The Mirror - You can only appreciate this song by carefully listening to the lyrics, which is about making the world a better place by taking a look at yourself ("the man in the mirror") and making a change for others. Another classic from 'Bad', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 9 - Thriller - This song is about a thriller night where the dead come to life and your fighting for your life. The greatest and most famous Michael Jackson song of all time, record selling hit featuring dancing zombies from the album 'Thriller', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 10 - Beat It - The guitar backing in this song is second to none. The song is about staying to fight it and not running away. You get out there and fight. Michael Jackson's first rock song that become part of a successful 'Thriller' album, written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 11 - The Girl Is Mine - Michael Jackson argues who a girl belongs to("the girl is mine, no she's mine"). Featuring a vocal duet with Paul McCartney from the album 'Thriller', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - *** 12 - Remember The Time - This song is about past memories of falling in love with a girl ("do you remember, when we fell in love"). From the album 'Dangerous', writ
ten and composed by Teddy Riley, produced by Teddy Riley and Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 13 - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - This song is about taking love through the hours ("dont stop til you get enough"). This song has that late 70's, early 80's sound to it, very much dance pop. Taken from the album 'Off The Wall', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 14 - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' - Yet again this song has some excllent backing music, I believe the song is about people telling lies ("You got to be startin' somethin'"). Another classic from the album 'Thriller', written and composed by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones. Song Rating - ***** 15 - Heal The World - This song has a similar meaning to that of 'man in the mirror', we should make the world a better place and care for the living ("Make a better place for you and for me and the entire human race"). Also taken from the album 'Dangerous', written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** Disc I Overall Rating - ***** History Continues - Disc II 1 - Scream - Featuring a vocal duet with Michael's Sister Janet Jackson, written and composed by James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Song Rating - *** 2 - They Don't Care About Us - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 3 - Stranger In Moscow - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 4 - This Time Around - Songs and lyrics written by Michael Jackson, music composed by Dallas Austin, Bruce Swedien and Rene, produced by Dallas Austin and Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 5 - Earth Song - writte
n, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 6 - D.S - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - ** 7 - Money - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - ** 8 - Come Together - written and composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - ***** 9 - You Are Not Alone - written and composed by R Kelly, produced by R Kelly and Michael Jackson. Song Rating - **** 10 - Childhood - The theme from Free Willy 2, written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 11 - Tabloid Junkie - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 12 - 2 Bad - Song and lyrics written by Michael Jackson, music composed by Bruce Swedien, Rene and Dallas Austin, produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - *** 13 - History - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - ** 14 - Little Susie - written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson. Song Rating - ** 15 - Smile - Lyrics written by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, music composed by Charles Chaplin, produced by David Foster. Song Rating - ** Disc II overall Rating - *** My favourite Michael Jackson song of all time has to be 'Billie Jean'. The lyrics and guitar backing of song is excellent. I'd love to hear what your favourite Michael Jackson song of all time is.... Compared to other gratest hits albums on sale, this is probably the best value for money. No CD collection is complete without it. You can't really compare this album to other Michael Jackson albums because it is simply a greatest hits album. 'Thriller' will always be Michael Jackson's greatest ever album achievement for both record sales and unique music. Lets face
it, Michael Jackson has had his fair share of stick and media attention, but he never fails to produce outstanding music. He is considered a music legend and a unique celebrity. He was the foundation for black music videos and a true 'pop idol'. You only have to listen to this album to see why he has been labeled 'the king of pop'. There's one question though; "Where is 'Smooth Criminal"?
Here's my review of the songs on Disk 2: SCREAM- Loud aggresive song. Definetly about Michael's troubles around that time. Despite being a good song,Janet sounds very weak. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US- Not a brilliant song but yet again not awful. Drums beat throughout whilst Michael sings about police brutality! STRANGER IN MOSCOW- Slow song about being left in the cold about something (I think).Starts off very peaceful with the rain lashing down. Stays reasonably quiet until the end, a very pleasant song- not aggresive like the previous two. THIS TIME AROUND- Average r and b song. I don't think there was much effort put into this track. Notorious BIG provides a good rap about three quarters way through and Michael sings in his angry voice again. EARTH SONG- Well, this is just amazing! This is by far the best song on the album. It lasts for nearly 7 minutes. In the beginning, it's very quiet with Michael using his ballad vocals. It then goes immensly loud and theres a lot of shouting. He really is trying to prove a point here. (Note: The video is brilliant for this track!) DS- What a shame we couldn't have the same quality as the previous song. Possibly the most boring track on the album. I'm guessing Don Sheldon (What the song's about) is someone who was against Michael in his court case. Chorus is quite catchy but his standard is slipping here. MONEY- You can hardly here Michael on this! He sing-talks through most of it, the only part with a rhythm is the chorus. There's no point whatsoever for this to be on the album, it's about lying to get money (oh, hang on- we know where this is going!) COME TOGETHER- After two poor songs, we are greeted with an improvment. Although it's not as excellent as the original, it sounds reasonably good with Michael's vocals. This was recorded way back in 1988 so I don't know why they decided to put it on this al
bum. YOU ARE NOT ALONE- Slushy ballad written by R Kelly. A bit too slow for me, but I know it's very popular among most MJ fans. I much prefer the jazzed up remix, I feel this is just too slow. CHILDHOOD- Very wierd!! The song sounds very outdated but it's actually fairly pleasant when you listen to it. You wouldn't expect a male singer (who was 36 at the time) to release a song like this, but we are talking about Michael Jackson here. TABLOID JUNKIE- Another one of these anti- tabloid songs. I prefer this song to Scream though, i just think it's more catchy and I like the way you can here all the reporters slagging Michael off! Similar sound to some of the songs from The Dangerous album. 2 BAD- A proper R and B smash hit. Very loud, fast and Michael style. It's a brilliant track. HISTORY- Goes on quite a bit but it's a really excellent song! It starts off with all different sounds and voices from historical events then builds up into a huge anthem. The chorus is the best part, especially the last one where theres about 500 people singing. After 7 minutes,the historical events return to fade the classic song out. LITTLE SUSIE- A very emotional and possibly upsetting song. In the beginning, you hear a young girl singing then being killed. Michael then sings ludly but sadly in a beautifully wrapped song. SMILE- Probably the best possible way to end a huge album. A remake of the Charlie Chaplin song is jazzed up to make this good last song. There is also another CD that comes with History: it contains all previously released material (the biggest hits). Every song on that CD is absolutley brilliant and I need not write about them. If you like any R and B, Pop, Dance and Rock music, you have to buy this and his new album "Invincible"
It starts so well. The first track is Jackson’s astonishing, "Billie Jean", one of the greatest pop songs. But then this album doesn’t so much go down hill, as jump straight of a cliff. As well as forgettable songs such as "Remember the time" (quite frankly I don’t), we also have the dreadful "just can’t stop loving you" and "The girl is mine. Who composed this album? By chance was it a blind chimpanzee? Very possible I suppose, given Jackson’s primate fondness. Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for the omission of such true Jackson classics such as "Off the wall", "Human nature", and "PYT" Jackson has clearly done better than this, and should rethink about his "greatest" hits!
HIStory: "The man's almost 40 - why is he singing about his childhood?" "I was left just selecting the ones I liked the best." "Sheez! Who steeped on his foot! - What's with all the negativity?!!" "Is THIS Michael Jackson (Little Susie, Money, D.S., Childhood)...NO! I don't think so!!! Where is he??" "He should have just written a book about the whole allegations episode." These are just some opinions on HIStory that I'm quite sure we have all either shared, or have heard others express. Given Michael's previous phenomenal success, what went wrong? Well, the thing with HIStory is this: you either get it, or you don't. And I think that listening to it becomes a LOT more pleasurable if you aren't just skimming through searching for another 'Bad' or 'Beat it'. These are songs from the heart. You may not get your groove on like you might have to 'Remember the Time' or to 'Rock With You', but if you REALLY listen then you realise that you are listening to another Michael Jackson masterpiece. I myself have only just 'got it'. Upon first listening, I thought it sounded as though it had missed the usual scrutiny that a Michael Jackson album undergoes as to which songs are good enough to be included. The only songs I thought were 'okay' at the time of release were 'Earth Song', 'Scream' and 'You Are Not Alone'; I won't even mention all the insults I hurled at the rest of the songs. It just didn't work for me when people would explain, saying, "Yes, but it's from the heart, sincere - it's his most personal album ever." That didn't cut any ice with me, and I thought that must have been the lamest and most poorly-thought-of excuse ever for thinking an album really rocks. Now the ironic thing is that now there are few other words that I can find to
describe it. I'm not suggesting that because it could be regarded as his most personal album that personal equates with best. Throughout his career he has undoubtedly written some amazing songs which have appealed to us all. Today some might think he's never equalled the funk of Off the Wall, the fan-following of Thriller, the attitude of Bad or the creativity of Dangerous. Yet each time his albums have a different edge to them, and I think a large part of it for HIStory is his utter Vulnerability. We should feel privileged that he even released it as an album. He can write hit records with the drop of a hat, which is why it can be expected that the new album will be excellent, and then some. But would we really want to have been denied HIStory? The lyrics to so many of the songs should be every fan's ANTHEM, not something to squirm at. It takes a REAL man to pour his heart out on a song like Childhood, and release it knowing that many will criticise him, for it's very nature is about something which has passed. However, it had to be said, which is typical of much on the album. The point is that when you truly say what's in your heart you are taking a risk. Yet he disregards this risk and speaks his mind, unabashed and unashamed. If people don't like him because of it, that's their prerogative. He unwraps the shroud of mystery - even anonymity - which has enveloped him, and gives us an insight into how he thinks and feels about issues of substance. As a Michael Jackson fan and supporter, I treasure every single 'angry' word that he sings on the HIStory album. That's not a fault, it's one of the things that makes it so damn good. For it wasn't just a bad time for him during the allegations, it was for his fans as well. So how anyone can listen to Tabloid Junkie, This Time Around, D.S., TDCAU, Scream or Money without shouting, "YOU GO MIKE!!!" I just
don't know!!! What would you rather - another Will You Be There?? No, every single song within that context on the HIStory album was entirely appropriate. He has turned his situation on it's head. "Lie for it, spy for it, kill for it - die for it." It's the intro to Money. With this song, I don't think he could have made people see the truth any more clearly if he'd have taken them by the shoulders and shaken some sense into them. Because we all KNOW just what people DO for money. And as he so forcefully reminds us, that's just about anything. It's almost too obvious. Well now. What on Earth is Come Together doing on there, I hear so many ask. I've also heard some pretty fanciful explanations... Here are just a few for you. "It's there because he wanted to remind us of how good he used to be, and to let us know he'd return back to good music with the next album." "Most people don't have that single do they?" "He couldn't think of anything else to put in there." "He's obsessed with the Beatles, and he's forcing that onto his fans - Michael Jackson fans." Wrong, wrong, wrong. That's missing the point completely! If you ask me, the explanation is so simple - it lies in the title of the song. It's all he really wants us to do. Now I can't even listen to the rain without feeling the isolation which radiated from Stranger In Moscow, in the pit of my stomach. Or hear about a case of child abuse/neglect and not faintly hear those first few powerful chords of Little Susie. I used to be afraid that I would grow to love a song about a girl who dies so tragically. Now I'm afraid that I'll become the kind of person who is so reluctant to become receptive to the story of another's pain. Earth Song speaks for itself. And I can't even tell how many times HIStory has made me get my butt upsta
irs to my room and get on with my homework! We've had inspiring and motivational songs from Michael before, Man in the Mirror being one of my favourites. However, with all the soundbytes and excerpts from history, REAL history, this in itself puts your existence right into context. You can 'go by feel, instead of circumstance' as he sang so well on Keep the Faith. On History though, he challenges us to see the bigger picture and learn from the mistakes and successes of OTHERS, before we go ahead and make it OUR way! Isn't having that ability what having true wisdom is all about? Isn't this exactly what HE has done right here with is album?! As for Smile, no other song that he's ever performed has ever said more about his character! Even if he sang it totally out of tune and backwards, I still would have nothing to say but 'respect' to the man. Just cast your mind back to the time when the whole world didn't even know where Michael Jackson was - he just disappeared, addicted to painkillers, hurt, alone and afraid. Money can buy you what success doesn't earn, but neither can give you security and peace of mind. But you know what? At the end of it all, he still has it in his heart to raise a smile. Just the thought of it breaks my heart more than the song itself ever could. HIStory is blatantly up there with the rest of his albums. So to even ask "is THIS Michael Jackson" begs the question -- "Who on Earth else could it be?" Happy listening.
Whatever you think of Michael Jackson, whatever the rumours are you have to admit the man is one hell of a talented artist. When he goes back to his roots and stays away from the real poppy stuff to which he isn't suited his talent shines through. Earth song is brilliant!, however my favourite of all has to be Rock with you followed by Billie Jean. They don't care about us and you are not alone are beautifully worded and sung. Deep down when you listen to his music you sense his sadness coming through.
This is the greatest hits/new album combo released by Jackson in 1995, and it really isn't as bad as all that. On one side it has a compilation of old songs that are true classics. This cd won't fail to disappoint as anyone has to like the old Billie Jean, Bad, The Girl Is Mine, etc.... Not one song on this CD you won't know, and you will find yourself bopping along.... The second CD is the new stuff that he has worked on. This was before Jackson tried to get all dancey with the Blood on the Dance Floor album, and is true to the old Jacko style. Songs here have also now passed into classic tracks and includes songs such as Scream, Easrth Song and a remake of Come Together. The album mixes between upbeat pop tracks, and mellow downhearted ballads. The mix works well, and you will find yourself actually liking most of it! If you don't have this but you were a fan of Jackson in his peak, then it is worth buying, but don't expect too much as it's not that inspritational against albums around these days...
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Billie Jean
2 Way You Make Me Feel
3 Black or White
4 Rock With You
5 She's Out of My Life
7 I Just Can't Stop Loving You - Siedah Garrett, Michael Jackson
8 Man in the Mirror
10 Beat It
11 Girl Is Mine - Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney
12 Remember the Time
13 Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
14 Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
15 Heal the World
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Scream - Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson
2 They Don't Care About Us
3 Stranger in Moscow
4 This Time Around
5 Earth Song
8 Come Together
9 You Are Not Alone
10 Childhood [Theme from "Free Willy 2"]
11 Tabloid Junkie
12 2 Bad
14 Little Susie