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Michael Jackson - King of Pop

Michael Jackson, King of Pop

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE umpteenth compilation album from Michael Jackson, King Of Pop has been assembled to celebrate Jacko’s 50th birthday. The gimmick this time being the fact that fans in 10 countries got to vote for the tracks they wanted to appear on his latest greatest hits compilation.

It’s a quite frankly shocking excuse to put yet another album out… especially coming so hot-on-the-heels of his Thriller re-issue. But if fans are gullible enough to rush out and buy it, then there’s plenty to savour.

Say what you will about some of Jackson’s more recent headline escapades, there was a time when he could justifiably lay claim to being “the king of pop” – and when his music did the talking, rather than his exploits.

We’re talking Off The Wall and Thriller era Michael Jackson – the content of which still manages to thrill (probably because the songs provoke so many childhood memories of listening to the albums while growing up).

Needless to say, the tracks chosen by his fans mostly reflect this era – more so, since fans were only given a list of 50 to choose from, before the choices were whittled down to the 18 on display here.

Hence, the first half of the album is a corker – a glorious nostalgia trip through some truly great pop gems. Beat It, Thriller, Billie Jean and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, in particular, stand out as timeless greats.

But the ’70s disco fun of Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough is still plenty of fun, and still capable of filling dancefloors, while there’s a cheesy pleasure to be found in the softly-softly ballad Rock With You.

BAD and Smooth Criminal are still quite cool, as are message-laden tracks such as Black Or White and Man in The Mirror – but the longer the compilation lasts, the more you begin to realise that some of Jacko’s more recent material failed to cut it by comparison.

Songs like Remember The Time, Scream and the tedious Earth Song came at a time when Jackson had begun to take himself too seriously. The fun had gone.

King of Pop is therefore a mixed blessing of a Greatest Hits package, and a flimsy excuse for yet another career retrospective. But the strength of the early material still makes it worth owning IF YOU’VE NEVER BOUGHT A PREVIOUS MJ COMPILATION!!!

Download picks: Beat It, Thriller, Billie Jean, Wanna Be Startin Somethin, Black Or White, Man In The Mirror, They Don’t Care About Us

Track listing:

  1. Billie Jean
  2. BAD
  3. Smooth Criminal
  4. Thriller
  5. Black Or White
  6. Beat It
  7. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
  8. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
  9. The Way You Make Me Feel
  10. Rock With You
  11. You Are Not Alone
  12. Man In The Mirror
  13. Remember The Time
  14. Scream
  15. You Rock My World
  16. They Don’t Care About Us
  17. Earth Song