Newest Review: ... version! The music video seems tame in comparison to Jackson's later feats but is delightfully 1970s. The song also acts as the first U.S. ... more
Nothing else like it.
Off The Wall - Michael Jackson
Member Name: km1234
Off The Wall - Michael Jackson
Advantages: Most of the songs still sound fresh and the album has some absolute classics.
Disadvantages: Perhaps too grounded in disco.
'Off The Wall' can be considered as Michael Jackson's first solo adult album and it certainly sets the bar for the rest of his career. Released in 1979 under Epic Records and produced by legend Quincy Jones, 'Off The Wall' is perhaps Jackson's most critically acclaimed album and the sales didn't do too badly either. The main reason why I love this album is that it's written by a carefree fun-loving Jackson, not the (understandably) paranoid and angry Jackson we witness later on in his career. So let's begin...
The first track is one of his most famous, the Jackson-penned 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough'. A funky disco track, the song really introduces the new adult Michael Jackson with a bang where he showcases his beautiful vocal range from falsetto to a deep mature voice. In the special edition you can listen to the demo track for the song and marvel at how the song had developed into the classic it is today. You may have also heard it in the film 'Rush Hour 2' with Chris Tucker's equally as impressive version! The music video seems tame in comparison to Jackson's later feats but is delightfully 1970s. The song also acts as the first U.S. number one for Jackson as an adult.
Moving on to the second track is the Rod Temperton-composed 'Rock With You' and serves as the second U.S. number one for Jackson. A catchy ballad, the song is one I find very lush and relaxing - it is this soulful Jackson that becomes so rare as his career progress thus making this song even more precious. The accompanying music video is also delightfully 1970s disco as it consists of Jackson dancing in a silver spangled suit. Oh dear. But overall, this is a song that refuses to be constrained to the label of disco and still sounds great even today.
The third song 'Workin' Day and Night' is another scorcher composed by Jackson himself. Filled with funk and punk, the song is about the angriest Jackson gets on the album and he's only talking about how he doesn't get enough time to love his girl! Filled with all the ooohs and vocal hiccups which are trademarks of Jackson, this is a brilliant groove. The demo track for this is also available in the Special Edition.
The fourth song is composed by Jackson and legendary bass guitar player Louis Johnson and it's called 'Get on the Floor'. A husky deep voice from Jackson emerges and alongside a terrific bass, the song is disco at its best.
The fifth song, the titular 'Off The Wall' is composed by Rod Temperton and is quite possibly my favourite song on the entire album. It's so light and deliciously playful it's difficult to dislike it. Essentially a song telling us all to relax and dance, it really is a treat to listen to and Jackson's high vocals return to their soaring high quality.
Next onto the cover of Paul McCartney's 'Girlfriend'. Not much to say - it's a cute song for sure but doesn't really add much to the album. I feel that the album would have been stronger without this addition.
Song number seven is the Quincy Jones composition, 'She's Out Of My Life'. A deep and emotional song, the song talks about heartbreak and reveals some of the most beautiful vocals from Jackson that I've ever heard, even if the song is occassionally depressing (even Jackson starts to cry in the song - listen out for it in the track). The music video is very simple, like the song and so it's definitely one of the highlights of the album.
'I Can't Help It' is the eighth track and is reminiscent of Jackson's Motown grounding and it's no wonder why when you consider that it's composed by Stevie Wonder and Susaye Greene. Silky vocals from Jackson combined with some lush instrumentation mean that this song is de-stressing and lovely to listen to.
'It's the Falling In Love' written by David Foster and Carole Sager is one of the weaker tracks in my opinion but the song survives once again thanks to Jackson's vocals. A similar opinion applies to the final track, the Temperton composed 'Burn This Disco Out'.
If it weren't for a few tracks which are particularly weak but just too disco for my liking, this album for me would have even topped 'Thriller'. Still, it's startling that an album this good is a breakout album and what's even more startling is that Jackson continued to produce music of this quality. Simply amazing.
Summary: An amazing breakout album from Jackson and sets the bar for what is to follow.