audio review : Will You Be There ( song ) … Michael Jackson

This song would be better without the intro; an orchestral piece that lasts for over a minute; especially considering a second one; what sounds like angels hymning; immediately follows. By the time Michael Jackson sings, his old Motown records Got To Be There and I’ll Be There would be reaching their ends.

This isn’t a romantic dedication to some girl though. As the angels suggest, it seems to be a religious calling of sorts. “Hold me like the river Jordan and I will then say to thee you are my friend,” Michael Jackson pleads, “Carry me like you are my brother, love me like a mother; Will You Be There?”

The church choir offers a similar melody to the verses, which suggests a lack of musical creativity, though it is a wondrous melody. The song, in fact, sounds like one that was destined to be made; perhaps a future standard generations of people will come to sing-along with and enjoy. It reminds me of Christmas.

The one major sin (flaw) other than the ostentatious prelude is Jackson seeming to not be able to hear what the choir is saying during the peak. “Lay your head lowly,” they sing to which he ad-libs about getting “lonely”. The coda, on which he recites a poignant poem over the music of Heaven, sounds divine.

my rating : 4 of 5

1991

audio review : Heal The World ( song ) … Michael Jackson

This sounds like a cover of an old pop standard perhaps from the catalogue of The Carpenters. According to the credits, it’s composed entirely by Michael Jackson; its philanthropic theme is to the Dangerous album what Man In The Mirror was to Bad; with musical accompaniment from John Bahler and Marty Paich.

It’s a song mostly layered in schmaltz, but they’re beautiful oceans nonetheless. Jackson’s quivering vocal melodies sound superb. The only bruises (flaws) I can see (hear) have to do with certain words that should rhyme not rhyming (“brothers/plowshares”) and an adult starting monologue being spoken by what sounds like a kid.

my rating : 4 of 5

1991

audio review : Dangerous ( album ) … Michael Jackson

audio review : Dangerous ( album ) ... Michael Jackson

What’s Dangerous, at least to the career of Michael Jackson, was his decision to leave producer Quincy Jones after three hit albums. This one isn’t trimmed as tight as it probably would’ve been if he were still around; it goes for 77 minutes; but the way that time is utilized made it a risk worth taking. The set immerses itself in New Jack Swing; gritty dance grooves produced by Teddy Riley; before dwindling the tempo down for an eclectic assortment of ballads.

Gone Too Soon matches poetic similes with soaring orchestration. It’s a beautiful lament, but before you can shed a tear, the music fades to the thumping pulse of a nightclub. It’s not the place that’s unsafe. It’s a girl. She’s vindictive, conniving, sexy and divine, all at once. Could it be the return of Dirty Diana? Perhaps, but this album is not only better than Bad, it is arguably the best Michael Jackson album thus far and one of the two best albums I’ve ever heard.

There is Thriller, of course, and that’s where the internal arguments begin. Song for song, with a loaded gun to my head, I’d say Thriller is better. It certainly has a more ageless soundscape, which does wonders for its classicity. Dangerous dates itself with overactive sound effects and unwelcomed guest rappers, plus some of these songs go on a little too long, but the music is also incredible and Michael Jackson’s signature style is even more magnificent.

Unlike most singers, he doesn’t simply sing. He often takes on a riled staccato delivery that almost sounds like melodic rap. He snaps, grunts, hiccups, hees and hoos like no one else. Even when the ad-libs don’t match the words of the song, as during the peak of Will You Be There, you’re too enthralled to care. Can’t Let Her Get Away falters during its second half, but it’s a minor fault. This album is a masterpiece. Michael Jackson doesn’t need Quincy Jones anymore.

my rating : 5 of 5

1991