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Thread started 08/18/17 6:05pm

HAPPYPERSON

Michael Jackson’s Bad: 30 Years Ago the King of Pop Hit His Prime ... so Why Is That Album Underrated?

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What does it mean to be in your prime? Whether you’re an athlete or an artist, it’s that window of time when all your best attributes and virtues are at the same level. When you’re young, your raw talent and physical ability supersede your intelligence and lack of experience. Over time, said experience gets applied to your growing physical prowess, fine-tuning your intuition. You reach a zenith when your intellect, intuition, physicality and ambition all come together and you produce your greatest results.

The late Michael Jackson had no shortage of skill sets. His ability to sing, write, compose, produce, dance and perform, along with acute business acumen, led him to become the biggest-selling artist in music history.

While he was considered wise beyond his years as the wunderkind front man of the Jackson 5 starting in 1969, no one could foresee the heights that he would reach with his adult solo efforts—first 1979’s Off the Wall and later 1982’s Thriller. With the latter becoming the all-time biggest-selling album (an estimated 65 million copies worldwide, 30 million in the U.S.), you’d think that Jackson had reached his peak at that point, especially in hindsight.

Upon more thoughtful examination, however, his prime began on Aug. 31, 1987, when he released his album Bad, beginning a three-year span in which his vocals, songwriting, producing, performing and video output were just as good as the next. Problem is, this is an unpopular opinion. Although there is much evidence to support this view, there are also numerous reasons that it isn’t shared by the general public.

It started with a challenge from Quincy Jones. “This is the one where I’d asked him to write all the tunes,” Jones stated in an interview released for Bad’s 1999 reissue. On Off the Wall and Thriller, Jackson had contributed three and four songs respectively. While his songwriting was already unique and evolved—evident in his work on the Jacksons’ concurrent albums Destiny and Triumph—Jackson admitted in a 2007 interview with Ebony magazine that he and writer Rod Temperton had a “friendly competition” when it came to composing.

Temperton was a crucial member of the Jackson-Jones partnership. His six compositions on the two albums, including “Off the Wall,” “Rock With You,” “Thriller” and “Lady in My Life,” were among the strongest of Jackson’s catalog, and in addition to contributions from the likes of David Foster, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, they undoubtedly drove M.J. to craft more complex and sophisticated songs, like “Workin’ Day and Night,” “Billie Jean” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Jackson would not have the luxury of measuring his songs against those for the Bad sessions. However, he was more than up to the challenge, choosing to compare himself with himself. Not only did he craft more than 65 original songs over the course of two years, but they were also more advanced than his prior production efforts.

During the early 1980s, Jackson began to branch out as a producer for other artists, most notably on Diana Ross’ “Muscles” and sister Rebbie’s “Centipede.” While they became hits, the production was sonically primitive, at best, in comparison with the professional sheen that Jones had. (For context, listen to M.J.’s Captain EO version of “Another Part of Me” and Quincy’s version that made it onto Bad.) For Bad, he set out to go toe-to-toe with his mentor. Their engineer, Bruce Swedien, was intensely impressed with the shape of the tapes that Jackson brought in to Jones, reflecting on it in Spike Lee’s documentary about Bad: “Other artists would’ve been perfectly happy to accept a Michael Jackson demo as a finished record.”

Jones wanted a “tough album” from Jackson to change his image and sound. He wanted Bad to have its own character, and felt that trying to compete with Thriller was “self-destructive and dishonest.” Jackson, ever the paradox, partially agreed. In his 1988 autobiography Moonwalk,Jackson described the difficulty of crafting Bad with Jones, due much to the public’s expectations: “You can always say, ‘Aw, forget Thriller,’ but no one ever will.”

On the flip side, however, M.J. constantly wrote out the number 100,000,000 in red Sharpie marker on the mirrors of this home to remind himself of the goal he intended for Bad’s sales. It was imperative for him to prove the world wrong again. He seemed to equate sales with public perception of greatness. Musical taste is subjective, but numbers don’t lie.

The material of the album is high-caliber Jackson. “It’s interesting for me to reflect on the Bad album, and I realize that I have more favorite songs on this album than on any other MJ albums,” Swedien stated in his book In the Studio With Michael Jackson.

Indeed, Jackson’s versatility as a songwriter was on full display, showcasing him at his most varied and imaginative. Writer Nelson George addressed the expansive nature of Bad’s song craft in his book Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson: “Of the three Quincy Jones-produced solo albums, Bad is usually overshadowed by Off the Wall and Thriller. Yet song for song, it’s probably the deepest of the Jones/Jackson trilogy.”

Bad doubled down on the edge that was established on Thriller, both in subject matter and in instrumental arrangement. There were brooding lead bass lines on “Bad,” “Speed Demon” and “Smooth Criminal”; the paranoia of “Billie Jean” grew to a fever pitch on the heavy metal opus “Dirty Diana”; and the rumormongering and celebrity claustrophobia hinted at in past songs like “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” were more fully realized in “Leave Me Alone,” a delicious groove that combines the 6:8 time signature and clavinet-driven funk of Stevie Wonder with the wall-of-sound backing-vocal overdubs of Marvin Gaye. The “sonic fantasy” of “Liberian Girl” also made for one of Jackson’s most singular and gorgeous creations.

Jackson’s vocals throughout the 11 tracks were more malleable and complex than people were used to. His pleasant high tenor, rich with vibrato and melisma, was confident and bountiful on tracks like “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Liberian Girl” and “Another Part of Me.” His more raspy, deeper, percussive tone on the title track, “Speed Demon” and “Smooth Criminal” illustrated his wish to make his voice a literal instrument in Jones’ arsenal. The understated staccato and diction in “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and the gospel fervor and reverb of “Man in the Mirror” offered proof that Jackson’s emoting chops were on par with the likes of Gaye and Barbra Streisand.

The Bad campaign was unprecedented for its time. A CBS television special showcased the world premiere of the “Bad” short film—an 18-minute Martin Scorsese-directed piece that found Jackson addressing social ills of the black community in a way no one saw coming. Only a month later came the launch of a world tour that would stretch from September 1987 to January 1989. Jackson sold out shows on six continents; incited, by his own account, nearly 5,000 faints per gig; and earned $1 million every time he stepped onstage.

The electric majesty of his presence, the power in his vocals while he was summoning every atom of energy for his dancing, were simply incomparable. The succeeding videos for Bad were among his most celebrated, including “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Another Part of Me” and “Dirty Diana.” His dynamic opening medley at the 1988 Grammy Awards of “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror” is among the most definitive television moments of his career, which is notable, considering the iconic moments he’s given to the small screen over the years. His film Moonwalker, which premiered video treatments of “Speed Demon,” “Leave Me Alone” (which won a Grammy for best video in 1989) and “Smooth Criminal,” prompted a popular arcade game of the same name all over the country.

When the dust settled, his seventh solo album had sold 10 million copies domestically to date and yielded five No. 1 singles on the Billboard 100 (“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana”), a record that has yet to be broken (although Katy Perry tied the record with her 2015 Teenage Dream album).

So why does Bad get a bad rap? Here are three main theories:

1. The Shadow of Thriller

Following up the biggest-selling album ever was a tall order, and anything other than a duplication of unit movements and awards would automatically list Bad as a failure. But let’s be completely clear. As far as commercial success was concerned, Jackson was deceptively consistent. Because Thriller sold so many albums, it’s easy to perpetuate the narrative that every album thereafter was a disappointment. Quite the contrary. Thriller is the anomaly that proves the argument.

With the exception of the 1982 blockbuster, all of Jackson’s albums from 1979 to 1995 (Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory) sold in the 7- to 10-million range. If Thriller had had sales of 12 million to 15 million rather than 30 million nationwide, Bad would not have been seen as the disappointment that it was in the press. Thriller came at a miraculous intersection of cross-discipline synergy: seven top 10 singles, music-video innovation (“Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Thriller”), Motown 25, the Victory Tour, a breakthrough marketing campaign. Since these occurrences constantly extended the album’s shelf life, it’s unfair to hold that against Bad. The campaign for Bad improved on all the aforementioned factors—consumer marketing, music videos, tour, TV specials—but what it lacked was the element of surprise that Thriller had.

2. Attack of the Media

Michael Jackson felt that being an elusive being would feed into his mystique. However, his eccentricities and growing rumors about his lifestyle—sleeping in an oxygen chamber, purchasing the Elephant Man’s bones, traveling with a pet chimp—along with M.J. fatigue from the Thriller era, were beginning to negatively affect the media’s perception of him.

Quincy Jones felt that Jackson’s eccentricities fueled his creative process and couldn’t understand why people were being so “myopic” about them: “It’s like saying there’s a cobweb in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.” Major media outlets could scarcely hide their disdain. “This shift in public perception had a huge impact on the way Bad was perceived,” wrote Joe Vogel, author of Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. “Many critics and consumers simply couldn’t separate the music from the new image and sensational stories.”

Although Rolling Stone magazine gave the album itself four out of five stars, its polls rated Bad and Jackson as “Worst Album,” “Worst Male Singer,” Worst Dressed Artist” and “Most Unwelcome Comeback” of 1987. People magazine’s September cover story headline read, “Michael Jackson: He’s Back. He’s Bad. Is This Guy Weird, or What?” CBS anchor Ron Powers cynically referred to the Bad rollout as “media silliness” and a “festival of foolishness.”

3. The Skin He’s In

Most distressing was the drastic change in his appearance since Thriller, due to his lighter skin tone and plastic surgery. Because of his reclusive nature, and delay in disclosing his diagnosis of vitiligo to the public (via a 1993 live ABC interview with Oprah Winfrey), the alterations seemed far more dramatic to the general public, and the black community especially felt that he was turning his back on them. Accusations of skin bleaching and selling out became relentless.

That September, Village Voice writer Greg Tate summed up many people’s state of mind in his scathing piece on Jackson and Bad following its release, entitled, “I’m White! What’s Wrong With Michael Jackson.” In it he cited his disdain for Jackson’s new look, calling it “self-hatred” and “self-mutilation,” and characterized a negative review of the album as divine retribution: “Proof that God don’t like ugly, the title of Michael’s new LP, Bad ... accurately describes the contents in standard English.” Ouch.

Although M.J. truly had little control over his pigment-destroying disorder, to be fair, his tendency to push duality found him attempting to have it both ways: reassure others of his blackness with the imagery and nuanced sounds of Bad while also making himself a neutral symbol of global acceptance. “More than David Bowie, or Prince, Jackson became the most famous symbol of androgyny,” Vogel wrote. “It made him increasingly impossible to define—or claim—by any group.”

Perhaps some critics felt this was the only way to restore some of the darkness in his skin tone: by dropping trou and metaphorically wiping their backsides with Jackson and his album. However, had they been listening closely enough, and without prejudice, they would have noticed that although the melanin was leaving his skin, it was prevalent in his art more than ever. Elements of James Brown (“Bad,” “Speed Demon”) West Africa (“Liberian Girl”), gospel (“Man in the Mirror”) and groove-laden funk (“Leave Me Alone,” “Smooth Criminal”) ooze through the speakers all over the 11 tracks. And when he does heavy metal (“Dirty Diana”) and pop balladry (“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”), he isn’t selling out but, rather, is reappropriating their origins in black innovation.

Final question: Can you call an album that sold over 35 million copies worldwide underrated? When debates about Michael Jackson’s best albums happen, only Off the Wall and Thriller come up. There lies the hidden and definitive contradiction that drove the artistry and ambition of post-Thriller M.J.: Half of the world expected too much from him, while the other half underestimated him. That’s how it was possible for the most popular musician in history to constantly have a chip on his shoulder. And 30 years after this album’s release, and eight years since Jackson’s passing, the whole world still has to answer right now: Who’s bad?

http://www.theroot.com/michael-jackson-s-bad-30-years-ago-the-king-of-pop-hit-1797835413?utm_medium=sharefromsite&utm_source=The_Root_twitter

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Reply #1 posted 08/18/17 7:11pm

Toofunkyinhere

It ain't underrated. Dangerous is the underrated one.
We're here, might as well get into it.
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Reply #2 posted 08/18/17 7:34pm

TrivialPursuit

Toofunkyinhere said:

It ain't underrated. Dangerous is the underrated one.


This x1000. The only things I could leave on Dangerous are "She Drives Me Wild" and "Can't Let Her Get Away". Frankly, I could never hear "Heal the World" (aka "Man In the Mirror" Lite) again and be perfectly okay.

I personally dig "Why You Wanna Trip On Me" and the whole second side from "Black or White" onward. "Keep The Faith" is so great is what should have been released instead of "Heal The World". It's the real contender for the new and improved "Man In The Mirror".

But BAD isn't underrated by any means. It'd the most #1s from a single album to that point in history, that being five #1, and another top 10 after that. Hell, only two of the songs, if memory serves, were not released as singles. They marked the fuck out of that album, with the book Moonwalker, the straight-to-VHS Moonwalker long form video, the first solo tour - every video was a masterpiece. "Bad" with Wesley, the street scene with LaToya in "The Way You Make Me Feel", the plethora of stars in "Liberian Girl", the concert-esque footage of "Dirty Diana", the multiple versions of "Smooth Criminal", the real concert footage of "Another Part Of Me"...it never stopped. They both also sold roughly the same worldwide and Dangerous sold only slightly less in the U.S.

BAD is far from underrated. Weird Al didn't only parody a song, he parodied the whole fucking album cover. Prince flubbed big time by not coming after MJ with a US-based SOTT tour. He'd have given ol' boy a serious run for it, especially with a double album and the concert movie.

"Despite everything, no 1 can dictate who u r 2 other people." - Prince |
http://bit.ly/unboxingprince
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Reply #3 posted 08/18/17 7:40pm

2045RadicalMat
tZ

No further comment on the albums cept this....all his post JACKSONS albums were pretty damn great. ..except INVINCIBLE was too long and POORLY....POOOOO OOOOORRR OR OOOORRRLY *MIXED*.


Something I've always wondered (no pun intended) how "DA FUQ" did JUST GOOD FRIENDS get on the album!!!!!???!!!! (*being grammatically incorrect for emphasis)

It's fucking AWFUL.

Same goes for the other clunker on off the wall...

Jesus.

Anyways, i wish i could remix INVINCIBLE. They'd tried (*without the same producers) far too hard to replicate the synthesized mix of NSYNC (*rip off mj-lite) on that one.

If you cut a few songs and remix the album you've got something.
"Damn Dolores, pick another subject, please...introduce the carpet to something other than your knees...."
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Reply #4 posted 08/18/17 8:00pm

TrivialPursuit

2045RadicalMattZ said:

No further comment on the albums cept this....all his post JACKSONS albums were pretty damn great. ..except INVINCIBLE was too long and POORLY....POOOOOOO OOOOORRR OR OOOORRRLY *MIXED*. Something I've always wondered (no pun intended) how "DA FUQ" did JUST GOOD FRIENDS get on the album!!!!!???!!!! (*being grammatically incorrect for emphasis) It's fucking AWFUL.


They should have put "Streetwalker" on there instead of "Just Good Friends".

"Despite everything, no 1 can dictate who u r 2 other people." - Prince |
http://bit.ly/unboxingprince
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Reply #5 posted 08/18/17 9:23pm

spacedolphin

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The first paragraph was pointless, fawning gibberish so I didn't read any further, but does the author specify why the album is underrated? I seem to remember it being well received and commercially successful. Has the definition of 'underrated' changed or something lately, are we going by urbandictionary, what's happening cats?

music
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Reply #6 posted 08/18/17 9:46pm

nextedition

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What is with everything being underrated all of a sudden? This artist being ubderrated, this album being underrated.
Anyway, my favoutite michael jackson album. I love it.
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Reply #7 posted 08/19/17 2:18am

2045RadicalMat
tZ

This is something that's never been revealed to me...not sure this is the correct forum.

Succinctly.

I believe that THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL was pitch sped/shifted up a semi tone or more. It sounds slightly higher than Michael's usual delivery, and would explain the "unusualness" of the rhythmic track. (It sounds off slightly/distorted and sped) ....this is to MY ears.

And I'd tried singing it years ago and found it very unnatural for a Michael song. Sorry of getting in touch with Q (*VERY UNLIKELY*) or BRUCE SWEDIEN.....does anybody know?

I've noticed this distorting on another 80's song from one of my FAVORITE groups EURYTHMICS - "It's Alright (baby's coming back)"....and without the distortion on QUEEN'S -"Another One Bites the Dust" (Happy Birthday, John Deacon! )

.....anybody confirm?
"Damn Dolores, pick another subject, please...introduce the carpet to something other than your knees...."
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Reply #8 posted 08/19/17 7:34am

MotownSubdivis
ion

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I guess I can see why the author would consider Bad underrated, in the sense that because it didn't sell as well as Thriller it was looked at as inferior by the general public. Critics, while they didn't pan the album, didn't really hold it in high esteem either.

If that's what (s)he means then I agree. I didn't bother to read the article but Bad is still considered a good album by many.

Personally, I enjoy it more than Thriller as it's a more adventurous and more cohesive project (and that's not to say that Thriller isn't great because of course it is). Commercially, while Bad has never sold Thriller numbers, it was still a huge commercial success; being the first album to have 5 #1 hits is nothing to sneeze at (a record that took over 2 decades just to match), not to mention its tour being the highest-grossing in history up to that point.

Bad didn't sell 100 million like MJ intended but just because it failed to sell that amount doesn't mean it was a commercial failure like some on here try to argue. Many artists can/ could only dream of having a "failure" like Bad.

If we're talking underrated MJ albums, I got to give it to HIStory. Dangerous is more overlooked than underrated but it receives more nods and recognition than HIStory ever has.
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Reply #9 posted 08/19/17 4:27pm

Doalwa

Bad is without a doubt my favorite MJ album.

This was the one record where he really had confidence in his own songwriting and it showed.
Starting with Dangerous he started relying on outside producers a tad too much imho.

But Bad was pure MJ. Speed Demon was probably the funkiest cut he ever conceived!
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Reply #10 posted 08/19/17 7:41pm

206Michelle

Bad is underrated because it isn't Thriller. I love both albums, although I like Thriller more. Also, by the time he released Bad, MJ had gone off the deep end with plastic surgery.
[Edited 8/19/17 19:44pm]
Live 4 Love ~ Love is God, God is love, Girls and boys love God above
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Reply #11 posted 08/20/17 10:49am

mjscarousal

BAD is a stellar album and one of the greatest albums ever made. I remember I was 8 when I first listened to the album and memorized all the lyrics. MJ is criminally underrated as a songwriter and but his songwriting shines brightly on BAD. To answer the question, BAD is not underrated commercially. It produced 5 number one hits, is a diamond album and one of the biggest selling albums of all time. However, BAD was snubbed by the Grammy academy and did not receive high industry accolades and in that sense it IS underrated. BAD is one of the most influential albums of all time, with 5 number one hits and it doesn't have any grammys. He was snubbed horribly and I know it really hurt him. Regardless, BAD is a classic, iconic and influential.

[Edited 8/20/17 10:52am]

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Reply #12 posted 08/20/17 5:28pm

Goddess4Real

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I still think HIStory is more underrated than BAD.

Keep Calm & Listen To Prince
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Reply #13 posted 08/20/17 5:47pm

Free2BMe

mjscarousal said:

BAD is a stellar album and one of the greatest albums ever made. I remember I was 8 when I first listened to the album and memorized all the lyrics. MJ is criminally underrated as a songwriter and but his songwriting shines brightly on BAD. To answer the question, BAD is not underrated commercially. It produced 5 number one hits, is a diamond album and one of the biggest selling albums of all time. However, BAD was snubbed by the Grammy academy and did not receive high industry accolades and in that sense it IS underrated. BAD is one of the most influential albums of all time, with 5 number one hits and it doesn't have any grammys. He was snubbed horribly and I know it really hurt him. Regardless, BAD is a classic, iconic and influential.


[Edited 8/20/17 10:52am]



I agree with everything you said.
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Reply #14 posted 08/20/17 5:54pm

MD431Madcat

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Because - Off the wall was the TOTAL M.F. SHIT!!! cool

and Thriller was Life Altering! eek

and

bad... was... Cute. neutral

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Reply #15 posted 08/20/17 7:17pm

214

Is a very good album, although it could have been greater if he had left out JGF and included Price of Fame, Cheater and Abortion Papers. History is the underrated album.

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Reply #16 posted 08/20/17 8:55pm

TD3

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if you live in Chicago area Motown 25 is on PBS WTTW.

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Reply #17 posted 08/21/17 4:06am

Cloudbuster

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Good article.

"When debates about Michael Jackson’s best albums happen, only Off the Wall and Thriller come up.


The reason for this tends to be because most people prefer to remember MJ before their perception of him was contorted by relentless media bullying and lies. The shift occured after Michael started breaking sales/chart records that had been set by the likes of Presley and The Beatles. And when he bought up the music catalogue that contained the majority of the songs by the latter it signalled the final nail in the coffin. As a child and long before I was a fan of his work I used to read music magazines that would constantly undermine Jackson's obvious talents and achievements, and I would wonder why. It was only as I got older that I began to understand the true depth of hatred that this extraordinary artist could summon in those who had no other "talent" than the ability to criticise the hard work of others. You could perhaps argue that MJ didn't help himself by being such a reclusive and mysterious figure but it's important to remember that the knives were sharpened long before anyone had a (supposed) legit reason to target him for ridicule. Even in the 70s there was shit about him having had a sex change or receiving injections to keep the tone of his voice high. Success breeds contempt and, love him or loathe him, dude was the most well-known person on the planet. Perhaps it was inevitable that the character assassination would be so brutal and unforgiving but the ugly and often racist nature in which it played out remains truly disturbing. Poor fucker never stood a chance.

Anyhoo, all of that said, and as brilliant as it is, curiously the Bad album remains my least favourite of his six big hitters on the Epic label. To my ears he would go on to make much more rewarding and creative and, dare I say, daring pieces of art long after his commercial peak. Sadly by then there were too few objective listeners willing to give his work the attention that it deserved.

"Wacko Jacko" (Mad Monkey) was at best an embarrasing has-been, at worst a possible abuser of children. That's all that most people thought they needed to know.

I'm gonna go listen to Bad. smile

.

[Edited 9/2/17 12:04pm]

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Reply #18 posted 08/21/17 8:07am

mjscarousal

Cloudbuster said:

Good article.

"When debates about Michael Jackson’s best albums happen, only Off the Wall and Thriller come up.


The reason for this tends to be because most people prefer to remember MJ before their perception of him was contorted by relentless media bullying and lies. The shift occured after Michael started breaking sales/chart records that had been set by the likes of Presley and The Beatles. And when he bought up the music catalogue that contained the majority of the songs by the latter it signalled the final nail in the coffin. As a child and long before I was a fan of his work I used to read music magazines that would constantly undermine Jackson's obvious talents and achievements, and I would wonder why. It was only as I got older that I began to understand the true depth of hatred that this extraordinary artist could summon in those who had no other "talent" than the ability to criticise the hard work of others. You could perhaps argue that MJ didn't help himself by being such a reclusive and mysterious figure but it's important to remember that the knives were sharpened long before anyone had a (supposed) legit reason to target him for ridicule. Even in the 70s there was shit about him having had a sex change or receiving injections to keep the tone of his voice high. Success breeds contempt and, love him or loathe him, dude was the most well-known person on the planet. Perhaps it was inevitable that the character assassination would be so brutal and unforgiving but the ugly and often racist nature in which it played out remains truly disturbing. Poor fucker never stood a chance.

Anyhoo, all of that said, and as brilliant as it is, curiously the Bad album remains my least favourite of his six big hitters on the Epic label. To my ears he would go on to make much more rewarding and creative and, dare I say, daring pieces of art long after his commercial peak. Sadly by then there were too few objective listeners willing to give his work the attention that it deserved. "Wacko Jacko" was at best an embarrasing has-been, at worst a possible abuser of children. That's all that most people thought they needed to know.

I'm gonna go listen to Bad. smile

smile Excellent post

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Reply #19 posted 08/21/17 11:50am

CoolMF

Toofunkyinhere said:

It ain't underrated. Dangerous is the underrated one.

Agreed.

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Reply #20 posted 08/21/17 1:00pm

StrangeButTrue

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It was too hip for its own britches and sounds super-dated now, sounds like a terrible period piece for the 80s. Thriller kinda crossed the line from disco era to the 80s but this was full on big hair dayglo nonsense. Its underrated as it signals the beginning of the end. Plus that hilariously terrible title cut and its hilarious video don't help. Points for the strangest duet "Just Good Friends" since that Lauryn Hill/Mary J. Blige duet on Miseducation though. Is it a song about two gay dudes fallling out of love because of some chick? Or is she bangin them both and not telling? Its such a weird tune, almost anticlimactic.

if it was just a dream, call me a dreamer 2
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Reply #21 posted 08/21/17 6:49pm

MD431Madcat

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Dangerous to me = "not much meat on the bone!"

CoolMF said:

Toofunkyinhere said:

It ain't underrated. Dangerous is the underrated one.

Agreed.

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Reply #22 posted 08/21/17 10:50pm

alphastreet

StrangeButTrue said:

It was too hip for its own britches and sounds super-dated now, sounds like a terrible period piece for the 80s. Thriller kinda crossed the line from disco era to the 80s but this was full on big hair dayglo nonsense. Its underrated as it signals the beginning of the end. Plus that hilariously terrible title cut and its hilarious video don't help. Points for the strangest duet "Just Good Friends" since that Lauryn Hill/Mary J. Blige duet on Miseducation though. Is it a song about two gay dudes fallling out of love because of some chick? Or is she bangin them both and not telling? Its such a weird tune, almost anticlimactic.

It aint deep, but I may not hear the song the same again for quite some time upon reading that fan fiction-ersque fantasy! lol

[Edited 8/21/17 22:50pm]

[Edited 8/21/17 22:51pm]

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Reply #23 posted 08/22/17 5:23am

MotownSubdivis
ion

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Everyone saying Dangerous is MJ's most underrated work are only proving my point that HIStory is the real underrated album. Dangerous was very well-received and viewed as an improvement over Bad by critics; the general public still remember/ mention many of its songs and videos. Outside of "Scream" is rarely brought up anyway, HIStory does not receive any of the recognition Dangerous does. It was received well enough though reviews were mixed and though a commercial success (highest selling double album of all time), all but 2 of the album's singles were Top 10 hits ("You Are Not Alone" at #1 and "Scream" at #5) with the others not even hitting the Top 20 (at least in the US). Even the controversy surrounding it (i.e. the promotion and lyrics of "They Don't Care About Us") aren't points of discussion with anyone outside of hardcore music fans like us.

Even Invincible seems to be acknowledged more although being MJ's last ever album surely has something to do with that. Dangerous is an excellent album and I think it's a better album than HIStory but there's no way it's more underrated than what came after it.

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Reply #24 posted 08/22/17 6:11am

StrangeButTrue

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alphastreet said:

StrangeButTrue said:

It was too hip for its own britches and sounds super-dated now, sounds like a terrible period piece for the 80s. Thriller kinda crossed the line from disco era to the 80s but this was full on big hair dayglo nonsense. Its underrated as it signals the beginning of the end. Plus that hilariously terrible title cut and its hilarious video don't help. Points for the strangest duet "Just Good Friends" since that Lauryn Hill/Mary J. Blige duet on Miseducation though. Is it a song about two gay dudes fallling out of love because of some chick? Or is she bangin them both and not telling? Its such a weird tune, almost anticlimactic.

It aint deep, but I may not hear the song the same again for quite some time upon reading that fan fiction-ersque fantasy! lol

[Edited 8/21/17 22:50pm]

[Edited 8/21/17 22:51pm]

.

Its a catchy tune but what does it meeeeean? Or is it just a sweet little bubblegum tune about two men in their late 30s hoping for the same lady? Who is keeping the secret?

if it was just a dream, call me a dreamer 2
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Reply #25 posted 08/22/17 6:25am

alphastreet

MotownSubdivision said:

Everyone saying Dangerous is MJ's most underrated work are only proving my point that HIStory is the real underrated album. Dangerous was very well-received and viewed as an improvement over Bad by critics; the general public still remember/ mention many of its songs and videos. Outside of "Scream" is rarely brought up anyway, HIStory does not receive any of the recognition Dangerous does. It was received well enough though reviews were mixed and though a commercial success (highest selling double album of all time), all but 2 of the album's singles were Top 10 hits ("You Are Not Alone" at #1 and "Scream" at #5) with the others not even hitting the Top 20 (at least in the US). Even the controversy surrounding it (i.e. the promotion and lyrics of "They Don't Care About Us") aren't points of discussion with anyone outside of hardcore music fans like us.

Even Invincible seems to be acknowledged more although being MJ's last ever album surely has something to do with that. Dangerous is an excellent album and I think it's a better album than HIStory but there's no way it's more underrated than what came after it.

I agree HIStory and BOTDF are underrated; but also feel that outside the US it was massive. It was number one in Canada for 8 weeks and almost everyone I know/knew owned that compilation. I also agree Scream is the most remembered, at least in North America, but singles like Earth Song, TDCAU and Stranger in Moscow were big in Europe and internationally cause I think for the american music climate at the time, at least mainstream, he was ahead of his time and thoes songs would have fared well today on the charts rather.

From what I recall though, Dangerous era he was bigger than HIStory, by then most were listening to hip hop or grunge, or bit of both and MJ was someone they liked when they were younger and bought the album for disc one rather

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Reply #26 posted 08/22/17 6:27am

alphastreet

StrangeButTrue said:

alphastreet said:

It aint deep, but I may not hear the song the same again for quite some time upon reading that fan fiction-ersque fantasy! lol

[Edited 8/21/17 22:50pm]

[Edited 8/21/17 22:51pm]

.

Its a catchy tune but what does it meeeeean? Or is it just a sweet little bubblegum tune about two men in their late 30s hoping for the same lady? Who is keeping the secret?

What do you meeeean? *does a beiber dance* lol

My question is what did stevie see in her? cool It sounded to me like michael was the one who saw her, and stevie was the one in suspicion?

[Edited 8/22/17 6:28am]

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Reply #27 posted 08/22/17 7:09am

smoothcriminal
12

Cloudbuster said:

Good article.

"When debates about Michael Jackson’s best albums happen, only Off the Wall and Thriller come up.


The reason for this tends to be because most people prefer to remember MJ before their perception of him was contorted by relentless media bullying and lies. The shift occured after Michael started breaking sales/chart records that had been set by the likes of Presley and The Beatles. And when he bought up the music catalogue that contained the majority of the songs by the latter it signalled the final nail in the coffin. As a child and long before I was a fan of his work I used to read music magazines that would constantly undermine Jackson's obvious talents and achievements, and I would wonder why. It was only as I got older that I began to understand the true depth of hatred that this extraordinary artist could summon in those who had no other "talent" than the ability to criticise the hard work of others. You could perhaps argue that MJ didn't help himself by being such a reclusive and mysterious figure but it's important to remember that the knives were sharpened long before anyone had a (supposed) legit reason to target him for ridicule. Even in the 70s there was shit about him having had a sex change or receiving injections to keep the tone of his voice high. Success breeds contempt and, love him or loathe him, dude was the most well-known person on the planet. Perhaps it was inevitable that the character assassination would be so brutal and unforgiving but the ugly and often racist nature in which it played out remains truly disturbing. Poor fucker never stood a chance.

Anyhoo, all of that said, and as brilliant as it is, curiously the Bad album remains my least favourite of his six big hitters on the Epic label. To my ears he would go on to make much more rewarding and creative and, dare I say, daring pieces of art long after his commercial peak. Sadly by then there were too few objective listeners willing to give his work the attention that it deserved. "Wacko Jacko" was at best an embarrasing has-been, at worst a possible abuser of children. That's all that most people thought they needed to know.

I'm gonna go listen to Bad. smile

Great post.

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Reply #28 posted 08/22/17 7:13am

smoothcriminal
12

MotownSubdivision said:

Everyone saying Dangerous is MJ's most underrated work are only proving my point that HIStory is the real underrated album. Dangerous was very well-received and viewed as an improvement over Bad by critics; the general public still remember/ mention many of its songs and videos. Outside of "Scream" is rarely brought up anyway, HIStory does not receive any of the recognition Dangerous does. It was received well enough though reviews were mixed and though a commercial success (highest selling double album of all time), all but 2 of the album's singles were Top 10 hits ("You Are Not Alone" at #1 and "Scream" at #5) with the others not even hitting the Top 20 (at least in the US). Even the controversy surrounding it (i.e. the promotion and lyrics of "They Don't Care About Us") aren't points of discussion with anyone outside of hardcore music fans like us.

Even Invincible seems to be acknowledged more although being MJ's last ever album surely has something to do with that. Dangerous is an excellent album and I think it's a better album than HIStory but there's no way it's more underrated than what came after it.

My only frustration with HIStory is that if you remove all of the weaker tracks and replace them with the five original Blood on the Dance Floor tracks you would have Michael's best album. It always reminded me of what could've been.

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Reply #29 posted 08/22/17 7:56am

alphastreet

smoothcriminal12 said:



MotownSubdivision said:


Everyone saying Dangerous is MJ's most underrated work are only proving my point that HIStory is the real underrated album. Dangerous was very well-received and viewed as an improvement over Bad by critics; the general public still remember/ mention many of its songs and videos. Outside of "Scream" is rarely brought up anyway, HIStory does not receive any of the recognition Dangerous does. It was received well enough though reviews were mixed and though a commercial success (highest selling double album of all time), all but 2 of the album's singles were Top 10 hits ("You Are Not Alone" at #1 and "Scream" at #5) with the others not even hitting the Top 20 (at least in the US). Even the controversy surrounding it (i.e. the promotion and lyrics of "They Don't Care About Us") aren't points of discussion with anyone outside of hardcore music fans like us.



Even Invincible seems to be acknowledged more although being MJ's last ever album surely has something to do with that. Dangerous is an excellent album and I think it's a better album than HIStory but there's no way it's more underrated than what came after it.



My only frustration with HIStory is that if you remove all of the weaker tracks and replace them with the five original Blood on the Dance Floor tracks you would have Michael's best album. It always reminded me of what could've been.



How would that playlist look?
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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Michael Jackson’s Bad: 30 Years Ago the King of Pop Hit His Prime ... so Why Is That Album Underrated?