Older

Thank you for waiting," George Michael writes on the back of his first studio album in almost six years. If anyone is really still waiting, they'll discover Michael hasn't lost his talent for writing pop songs as contagious as the Ebola virus, if only slightly more cheery. Like the comedy director in the 1941 film Sullivan's Travels who wants to make "serious" films, Michael desperately craves respect, not content with simply being an accomplished writer of silly loathe songs about relationships gone bad. Although he occasionally sounds like the Prozac queen Elizabeth Wurtzel singing "It's My Party" in an empty karaoke bar, for those who can get past Michael's pretentious melancholy, Older is a surprisingly enjoyable record. From the smooth, moody groove of "It Doesn't Really Matter" to the bouncy disco concoction "Fastlove" (flavored with Dr. Dre-style whistling synths), Michael proves his guilty feet still have rhythm.