Michael Jackson is one of the world’s most famous singers and artist. Starting off as an ordinary American recording artist, he had a couple of breaks. He was later on discovered as the world’s King of Pop because of the genre of songs he usually composed in his music albums. His fans often refer Michael Jackson as MJ. Jackson did not become famous just because he has a relatively good or unique singing voice. His unique and usually hard-to-copy dance moves were actually equally contributory to his success as an entertainer, a recording artist, and even a businessperson. This man certainly rocked the world. Born in the U.S. particularly in Indiana in 29 August 1958 and died in the same state—particularly in Los Angeles California, Michael Jackson definitely left a huge legacy both to his fans and to all the people he had helped. The objective of this paper is to be able to present a good comparison between the two of his most popular and successful albums: “Dangerous” and “Thriller.” Overall, Michael produced 10 music albums. However, for the purpose of discussion, we will only focus on the two mentioned albums.
Released in the year 1991, Dangerous is Michael Jackson’s eighth music album. The album contains a total of 9 singles—Black or White, Remember the Time, In the Closet, Jam, Who is It, Heal the World, Give in to me, Will You Be There, and Gone too Soon. Critics during that time reasonably gave Michael Jackson, the contents of that album, and his overall performance a good rating, probably more or less than a grade of 7/10 based on the different reviews we have retrieved and read.
Dangerous Album Cover
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The generations of music lover who love for this album argue that it displays Michael’s lyrical versatility and songwriting ability. The songs complement each other making listeners feel like the Singer is telling them a story. This led some of the fans to compose the following line: ‘Do you remember the time my girl was dangerous? We could not keep it in the closet. She drove me wild but we had to let go. Now I ask myself who is it? She failed to keep the faith and she is now gone too soon. Now I jam to my own tune.’ Note this line is cleverly composed from the song titles of the dangerous album. The ability to write fantastic songs that complement each other in an album perhaps contributed to Michael’s success during the Dangerous album. Teddy Riley added the New Jack Swing sound to the album, which made it popular with the younger generation of the time. The dangerous tour performances were marvelous as Michael displayed complex dance moves such as the robot, the lean and his signature moonwalk. Consequently, the units sold in the U.S alone stand at 7 million copies, and 32 million copies worldwide making it one of the bestselling albums in the history of music.
We are currently in the 21st century. Several years have passed since Michael Jackson’s death and of all the songs in this album, there is probably only one song that the current generation of casual music listeners and enthusiasts would recognize—heal the World. Not even half of the songs in this album are popular these days except for the one we just mentioned. However, Dangerous continues to be recognized as one of MJ’s most successful albums, in terms of both sales and its impact on the entertainer’s career. This could be attributed to the context used in the one and only youth-friendly song in this album. Heal the World’s message and music video captured the people’s attention and affection. The song is good and is somewhat melodramatic. Understanding the message of the song and the video used for the MTV, we could safely say that it carried the album. The rest of the songs in the album are very classic-Michael Jackson (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th Edition, 2011). The current generation of music listeners would probably see this as an album that contains stereotypical Michael Jackson music. Nonetheless, the album is still considered as one of the greatest hits in the history of Pop Music.
Michael Performing during the Dangerous Era
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Michael’s entertainment career is not characterized purely by ups because if he had been greatly honored by some of his best-performing albums—in terms of sales and performance, it would be safe to say that those that did not do well in terms of sales and performance had also disgraced him. Michael’s latest album before Thriller was Off the Wall. Though this album was greatly admired by majority of Michael’s fans and was a commercial success, it “received strong critical reviews from a lot of music experts and enthusiasts” (Harrington, 2007). However, the good thing is that despite the criticisms, Michael was able to absorb what his critics pointed, perhaps his performance. The positive criticism drove him to come up with a better plan and perform much better on his next album release. This next album was Thriller. It is the bestselling music albums of all time (Ebony Magazine, 2007).
Thriller Album Cover
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The album contains only 7 songs – The Girl is Mine, Billie Jean, Beat It, Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’, Human Nature, Pretty Young Thing, and Thriller. Three of these songs are one of the people’s all-time favorite hits of Michael Jackson—Billie Jean, Beat it, and Thriller. The short film for Thriller featuring the co-actor Ola Ray popularized the album to a great extent that it ceased from being a leisure item and started selling like a home staple (Taraborrelli, 2009). It is approximately 14 minutes long. The director of the short film, John Landis, features Michael dancing with the living dead. Before the release of the creative video, album sales had slowed to roughly 200,000 copies a week. After the Thriller music video came out, sales soared again and the Album recaptured the number one slot once again. It is estimated that the video led to an additional sale of 14 million copies of the album within six months of its release (Taraborrelli, 2009).
Thriller Single Cover
Michael Dancing with Zombies
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Music analysts tout the Album as Michael’s greatest classic. It was listed at position 20 on Rolling Stone Magazine Greatest 500 Albums of all-time list released in the year 2003 (Taraborrelli, 2009). The National Association of Recording Merchandisers features the Album at position three of the most Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.
In fact, we can still hear people playing the Album’s songs in their music player—a very good indicative sign that Michael’s legacy still lives. Sources estimate that somewhere between 65 to 110 million copies of this album have been sold; making it the best-selling album of all time during that time and until today. This album enabled Michael to break down the racial barriers and other sociocultural issues concerning his stage performance and his whole career. MTV was a station that shunned the black community and only played music composed by the white community. However, due to popular demand, it started playing music videos from the thriller album (Taraborrelli, 2009). This is by far his most successful album. The current generations of music listeners who are likely exposed to all sorts of the latest generation music are actually playing MJ songs from this album, which is quite surprising considering the number of years that has passed since the album’s official release.
Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th Edition. (2011). Michael Joseph Jackson. Columbia Entertainment.
Ebony Magazine. (2007, December). Michael: 25 Years After Thriller. Ebony Publishing Inc.
Harrington, R. (2007). Prince and Michael Jackson: Two Paths to the Top of Pop. The Washington Post.
Lynch, C. (2001). Ritual Transformation through Michael Jackson’s Music Video. Journal of Communication Inquiry.
Taraborrelli, J. R. (2009). Michael Jackson: the magic, the madness, the whole story, 1958-2009. New York: Grand Central Publishers
“Thriller vs. Dangerous – The Thriller Era – Fanpop.” Fanpop – Fan clubs for everything. What are you a fan of?. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2012.