Sound: In reviewing Michael Jackson's "Bad," I feel a strong compulsion to give it a big, shiny, golden, sparkly review in what should be a sort of scheme of vengence against all those who degraded my review for the classic, "Thriller' because it was no such review. It wasn't horrible - 7.7 is pretty good, actually, and will seem even better when I go back and rewrite everything else I reviewed. But the people obsessing over the King of Pop's death are just so unforgiving that you'd very well think it was. Well, I've decided to do JUST that (that is, write a sparkly review), and here you go.
I've never claimed to be a humble person - actually, it's pretty safe to say that I'm the least humble man on the planet, but even I was stunned and humbled by Michael Jackson's pop thriller, "Bad." The record takes you from the INCREDIBLE title track all the way to "Leave Me Alone," the best song I have ever had the privilage to hear. It literally blew my ears and newly grown womanhood off, hence the fact that I'm unable to hear the noise of little babies crying over my last review.
"Smooth Criminal" is unutterably catchy, and will have you being "hit by a smooth criminal" for years on end. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" left me in TEARS like no song since Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" had, and I was moved by the frustration in the aformentioned "Leave Me Alone."
The sound is the reason the good lord gave us our ears, and the lyrics are, surely, not the words of Jackson, but were unravelled on a golden-fleece scroll written by the angels.
But the BEST part of "Bad" is the unspeakable seventh track, "Man In The Mirror." My GOD, never since the world was shaped has there been such an emotional tale of a man struggling not with others, not with his lover, but with his inner SELF. Michael Jackson, you are a god. Buy this album while I go wet myself over listening to it again.
Now, I'm actually going to give a humane review, because, while this is better than "Thriller," it is not the best thing to come about in the musical world. I mean, it's really incredible, but it's not the best thing ever. Just...wanted to clear that up.
Okay, the sound. Well, when I said "Thriller" was edgier than "Off The Wall," I made a point of saying that making such a statement was an utter joke, and that you'd be better off saying it was just less fluffy. Well, this go is actually edgy. It's more pop than soul and R&B, which was what Thriller had more of, and a lot of the dance themes remain present as well, if more darkly toned. Specifically, the rougher tracks are "Bad," "Smooth Criminal," and "Leave Me Alone." There are more than that, but there's a start.
At the same time, it's not without some of the "Thriller" sound - "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is worth mentioning, as well as "Liberian Girl." I think it's safe to say I really like every single track on this record, the only real exception being "Another Part of Me," and even that one is pretty good. Well, "Dirty Diana" has some weird screaming that sounds cheezy, but I find it hard to murder the record's sound just for that bit, as it really does go with the rest of the song and album - I just don't care much for it. Plus, the rest of the song is really good, as is the album in general, but it isn't without its flaws - or, rather, it isn't without imperfection. I can't really take much away for any song being bad, but I can for them not being as good as they could. Around "Just Good Friends," which is a good song, but I think "Liberian Girl" cursed it a bit, the record slows down a little, which is okay, but they aren't 5-star-tracks. So the sound itself really gets a 9 from me, with a few problems here and there, but, overall, decent quality. // 9
Lyrics: As I said in my review of "Thriller," I think most artists ditched deep lyrics after the '70s, which isn't completely true, but I feel like the '80s was just a glutonous mass of sex, drugs, and rock n roll, and other than artists already having been in the '70s, like Jackson and Phil Collins, no one really came out with anything decent, lyric-wise.
That being said, Michael IS a child of the '70s, and he's got some pretty great lyrics here. Less fantastical than "Thriller," but, there again, only that track really had that theme. With this record, there's a track to match: "Smooth Criminal."
"Bad" has some pretty cool lyrics as well, "Leave Me Alone," "The Way You Make Me Feel"... Most of the lyrics are either decent or good. None are cringe-worthy, except for a bit of "Liberian Girl," (the "PYT" of "Bad") and, other than that, it's a pretty solid record. Jackson's vocals are, if possible, better than they were in "Thriller," and that may be because he has more of his little screeches and such that I've grown so fond of. The music, lyrics, vocals, and everything flow together seamlessly.
However, I don't believe in perfection - that is, I don't believe in giving any record 10 stars anywhere, but "Bad" makes it easy for me to cut a star or two for "Liberian Girl" and the screaming in "Dirty Diana," which does count as a lyric, seeing as he's screaming words. I guess I'll give the lyrics and all a resounding 8 - still really, really good. // 8
Overall Impression: Well, at this point, there's not much else to say, because I've basically given this record the best review a person could write, apart from chopping off three stars thus far. Well, I'll get a bit gritty here, because this album does the same. This record is not perfect. It's not the messiah record. It IS really, really, REALLY good, though. I really enjoy it. Sure, it gets slow around the time you're hearing "Just Good Friends," but "Man In The Mirror" picks it right back up a couple of tracks later. Still, it IS better than "Thriller," if not as famous.
At the same time, I refuse to be moved by the hype surrounding Jackson's death and give this that good a review solely due to the fact. I mean, this is almost the best I can give, but I think there's something more out there. Overall, it's got some good stuff, some mediocre stuff, but is worth buying and listening to thousands of times. "Liberian Girl" is iffy, as is that slow bit afterward. Best tracks are "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man In The Mirror," "Smooth Criminal," and "Leave Me Alone." So, overall, I'll give "Bad" an 8. It's the best Michael Jackson record out there, and it deserves it. // 8