Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michael Jackson - Bad (1987)

By request!

Note: the CD I listened to was the 2001 "Special Edition" with 7 bonus tracks.

I hate to compare this album to its predecessor, Thriller, but I'm gonna do it anyway: it's just not as good.  No matter; being MJ's third best album (after Thriller and Off the Wall) is still something fantastic.  Quincy Jones does yet another great job and it makes me wonder why the Jackson/Jones ever split.  Most of the material on this was written by Jackson and while MJ puts out some excellent tunes here, he's no Rod Temperton when it comes to songwriting. However, MJ the performer brought his A game to this album so the charts loved Bad:

Song Hot 100   R&B  AC  Dance 
I Just Can't Stop Loving You 111
The Way You Make Me Feel1191
Man In the Mirror112
Dirty Diana    15
Another Part Of Me1114418
Smooth Criminal 72

Not bad, Michael.  Throw in two Grammies to the mix then add 30 million-plus in global sales and you've really got something there.  While I rarely listen to this album from top-to-bottom, I always enjoy the good tracks when they shuffle around on iTunes.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (6 consecutive weeks, Sept 26 - Oct 31, 1987)
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #1 (18 weeks)

Tracks:  My favorite cut on this album is easily The Way You Make Me Feel, an infectious, danceable shuffle with overbearing electronic drums.  It's beyond the scope of this blog, but I just love that song's video for two reasons: 1) MJ acting tough while using a hair ribbon for a belt, and 2) model Tatiana Thumbtzen, who made my eyes pop out of my head like I was in a Tex Avery cartoon. Coming in second, third and fourth place are, respectively, Another Part Of Me, Smooth Criminal, and I Just Can't Stop Loving You.  I was never much for Dirty Diana or Leave Me Alone.  While Thriller was completely devoid of filler, this album has Speed Demon, a track that I'd put in that category.  On the other hand, there are songs like Just Good Friends that are funky enough that they shoulda been released as a single.

Bonus tracks: some Quincy Jones interviews, a Spanish language version of I Just Can't Stop Loving You, and two previously unreleased tunes including one that probably should have been put on the album: Streetwalker. 

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This is one of those albums I didn't feel the need to own upon its release because I could hear the songs constantly on the radio and see the videos on MTV.  The local radio station would play all the tracks, even those not officially released as singles, so it wasn't uncommon to hear Liberian Girl, which I originally thought was Librarian Girl (that would make it a different song altogether, wouldn't it?)

Previously revisited for the blog:

1 comment:

  1. For the longest time, my baddest memory of this album was hearing it in every stereo store I frequented at the time as it quickly replaced Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and Alan Parsons Project's Eye In The Sky as the go to demo disc of stereo salesmen everywhere. It had more bass, more nuances and was just better sounding than any other disc out there.

    "I don't know, I don't know if I really need all that bass."
    "Oh, I think you need all that bass."

    (Dirk, that's your cue to bring even more employee of the month Buck Swope quotes and references.)

    It wasn't until the mid-90s, when I brought up the Bad album with a former stereo salesman that he let me in on their dirty little secret: they usually weren't playing the Bad CD (at least not all the time), they were more than likely playing the The BAD Mixes, a special "audiophile" promo CD mixed and mastered to highlight the "benefits" of Monster Cables. In truth, the tracks on the CD had been remixed to be brighter, louder and deeper so when played after the regular CD and the Monster Cables had been connected and "swtiched on", it sounded undeniably better. Further confusing the listener/potential stereo buyer was the fact that all but two of the tracks were different versions of the original album tracks. The tracklist of that thirteen track CD is below. (There is an alternate nine track version as well - it lacks the four "Smooth Criminal" mixes.) I've never seen a copy for sale for less than $150 and I'm fairly certain I read that someone paid $500 for a sealed copy. To the best of my knowledge, all of the mixes were eventually released on other discs, either vinyl or CD. Whether or not they were these specially remixed Monster versions, I cannot say. I parted with my copy several years before MJ passed for a price within the above listed range.

    1 Another Part Of Me (7" Version) 3:47
    2 Another Part Of Me (Extended Dance Mix) 6:11
    3 Dirty Diana 4:42
    4 Man In The Mirror 4:55
    5 The Way You Make Me Feel (7" Version) 4:26
    6 The Way You Make Me Feel (Dance Extended Mix) 7:53
    7 Bad (7" Version) 4:05
    8 Bad (Dance Extended Mix) 8:24
    9 I Just Can't Stop Loving You (7" Version) 4:10
    10 Smooth Criminal (7" Version) 4:10
    11 Smooth Criminal (Annie Mix) 5:35
    12 Smooth Criminal (Dance Mix Dub Version) 4:45
    13 Smooth Criminal (A Cappella Mix) 4:12