Latest reviews

Album Review


May 13, 2014

Michael Jackson has been more prolific in death than he usually was while alive. For his second posthumous studio LP, weighing in at an ungenerous eight songs, Timbaland and Jerome Harmon lead a team of producers who've added bulk and even dubstep eruptions...

Album Review

Bad: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

October 5, 2012

Twenty-five years on, Bad sounds less like Thriller's underachieving follow-up than a masterpiece of pure pop. The deep cuts rule, from the clamorous electro-soul of "Speed Demon" to the harrowing "Leave Me Alone," whose thump can't disguise the song's...

Album Review


December 14, 2010

This is not a Michael Jackson album. Jackson was one of pop's biggest fussbudgets: Even when his songs were half-baked, the production was pristine. He would not have released anything like this compilation, a grab bag of outtakes and outlines assembled...

Album Review

Michael Jackson: The Remix Suite

October 19, 2009

This collection of Michael Jackson retreads from the Motown era seems towalk the line between shameless cash grab and worthy tribute. Generally,the best cuts here stay close to the spirit of the originals: Of the threetakes on the Jackson 5's "Dancing...

Album Review

Thriller 25 Deluxe Edition

February 21, 2008

Thriller is the sound of Michael Jackson in 1982, when he was the coolest, slinkiest, prettiest pop star alive. He was Boy George times Rick James and beat both of them at their games, although he did nothing but make the competition sound even better....

Album Review


December 6, 2001

Near the end of michael Jackson's first album of new material since 1995 is an exceptional song titled "Whatever Happens." Jackson, singing in the third person with a jagged intensity, narrates the story of a couple trapped in an unnamed threatening situation:...

Album Review


January 1, 1992

The booklet for Dangerous begins with a short prose poem by Michael Jackson describing the release the singer feels while dancing: "Creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy" until "there is only ... the dance." It is Jackson's version of William...

Album Review


January 28, 1983

In the three years since Michael Jackson's first solo album, Off the Wall, sold 7 million copies and spawned four hit singles, black music has veered away from the danceable but ultraslick style that Off the Wall epitomized. From Prince to Marvin Gave,...

Album Review


June 7, 1973
Not Rated

Beck's reunion here with his late-Sixties bandmate Rod Stewart, on Curtis Mayfield's inspirational ballad "People Get Ready," is also a welcome return to classic form, a replay of their soulful covers of "Ol' Man River" and "Morning Dew" from Beck's 1968...

Album Review

Maybe Tomorrow

July 22, 1971
Not Rated

This might be referred to as a "mature" album, and that's its major disappointment. Rather than an intensification of the Jackson 5's earlier work, Maybe Tomorrow is a cooling off — carefully considered and well-timed, but just a little too easy....

Album Review


December 21, 1968
Not Rated

To comprehend the Bee Gees is to comprehend much that is banal, without grace, and trite. This is necessarily to say that the Bee Gees have deep roots in one of the most neglected areas of rock music, the popular romantic ballad. What is called rock...

Album Review


December 29, 2011

Part remix album, part theatrical souvenir, this sequence of hits serves as the soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil's Vegas-ready Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. There’s as much "Earth Song" as "ABC," but ex- Jackson sideman Greg Phillinganes...

Song Review

"Hold My Hand"

December 1, 2010

When it first appeared, there was some doubt that this 2007 "collaboration" — circulated in a rough but near-identical version after Michael Jackson's death — really happened. (Members of Jackson's family are among the skeptics.) Musically,...

Album Review

Hello World - The Motown Solo Collection

August 5, 2009

As a 10-year-old, Michael Jackson mimicked adult emotions, like most child performers. As a teenager, he was able to reach places most mature singers can't touch. Jackson's first four solo albums — released from 1972 to 1975, between his 13th and...

Album Review

Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection

January 5, 2005

The Ultimate Collection is at least the fourth way to repurchase songs from Michael Jackson's Thriller: If you didn't fall for the 1995 greatest-hits/new-material mishmash HIStory, the 2001 Thriller special edition or last year's Number Ones anthology,...

Album Review

HIStory: Past, Present, Future, Book I

August 10, 1995

A decade after Thriller and MTV transformed pop, Michael Jackson releases a collection that combines a classic greatest-hits anthology with a jarring and uneven new album. Throughout HIStory we're reminded of the Michael Jackson who helped groove music...

Album Review


October 22, 1987

Michael Jackson is a man. Agreed, he is a young man, emotional age about thirteen, with a young man's interest in cars, girls, scary movies and gossip. But adolescent stardom, Jehovah's Witnesses wackiness and unadulterated genius have kept this faux-porcelain...

Album Review

Off The Wall

November 1, 1979
Not Rated

Like any an aging child star, Michael Jackson has had to grow up gracefully in public in order to survive. Until now, he's understandably clung to the remnants of his original Peter Pan of Motown image while cautiously considering the role of the young...

Album Review

Got to Be There

December 7, 1972
Not Rated

I had a dream about the Jackson 5. I was addressing the audience at a luncheon of somesort but all I said when I stood up was that I was hungry. The Jackson 5 were at one of thetables and Tito came up to the podium with a sandwich of American cheese and...

Album Review


September 3, 1970
Not Rated

Flash, however, is not an album that dwells on the past. In the same way that he adapted jazz fusion to arena-rock dimensions on the mid-Seventies LPs Blow by Blow and Wired, Beck challenges the rigid discipline of Eighties dance music, with Arthur Baker...