Thriller

Performers Michael Jackson

Epic | October 16, 2001 | Compact Disc

Thriller is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.
Off the Wall was a massive success, spawning four Top Ten hits (two of them number ones), but nothing could have prepared Michael Jackson for Thriller. Nobody could have prepared anybody for the success of Thriller, since the magnitude of its success was simply unimaginable -- an album that sold 40 million copies in its initial chart run, with seven of its nine tracks reaching the Top Ten (for the record, the terrific "Baby Be Mine" and the pretty good ballad "The Lady in My Life" are not like the others). This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul -- expanding the approach to have something for every audience. That alone would have given the album a good shot at a huge audience, but it also arrived precisely when MTV was reaching its ascendancy, and Jackson helped the network by being not just its first superstar, but first black star as much as the network helped him. This all would have made it a success (and its success, in turn, served as a new standard for success), but it stayed on the charts, turning out singles, for nearly two years because it was really, really good. True, it wasn't as tight as Off the Wall -- and the ridiculous, late-night house-of-horrors title track is the prime culprit, arriving in the middle of the record and sucking out its momentum -- but those one or two cuts don't detract from a phenomenal set of music. It's calculated, to be sure, but the chutzpah of those calculations (before this, nobody would even have thought to bring in metal virtuoso Eddie Van Halen to play on a disco cut) is outdone by their success. This is where a song as gentle and lovely as "Human Nature" coexists comfortably with the tough, scared "Beat It," the sweet schmaltz of the Paul McCartney duet "The Girl Is Mine," and the frizzy funk of "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)." And, although this is an undeniably fun record, the paranoia is already creeping in, manifesting itself in the record's two best songs: "Billie Jean," where a woman claims Michael is the father of her child, and the delirious "Wanna Be Startin' Something," the freshest funk on the album, but the most claustrophobic, scariest track Jackson ever recorded. These give the record its anchor, and are part of the reason why the record is more than just a phenomenon. The other reason, of course, is that much of this is just simply great music. [The 2001 reissue adds two bonus tracks (the unreleased "Someone in the Dark" and a demo of "Billy Jean,") the voice-over session for Vincent Price's cameo, interviews with producer Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton, and a new booklet] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 16, 2001

Genre: Contemporary R&B

Style: R&B

Number of Discs: 1

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1982

Label Name: Epic

UPC: 074646607329

Found in: Contemporary R&B

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Say what you will about Michael... This album rocketed MJ to the top of the pedestal. Whatever has happened since is mere noise compared to the masterpiece that is the Thriller. Never in my days have I seen a werewolf turned zombie with back breaking beats turned dude in leather rock the house down. And Vincent price to boot. And that's just the title track. The rest of the album has some definite toe tapping tunes. Just awesome.
Date published: 2008-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great stuff. best album of all time! You dont get any better than this...one of the greatest albums of all time...its been over 20 years since Thriller came out and it still is AMAZING!!
Date published: 2005-11-06

– More About This Product –

Thriller

Performers Michael Jackson
Guest Artist(s) David Foster, Eddie Van Halen, Janet Jackson, Jeff Porcaro, Paul McCartney, Steve Lukather, Vincent Price
Engineer Bruce Swedien

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 16, 2001

Genre: Contemporary R&B

Style: R&B

Number of Discs: 1

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1982

Label Name: Epic

UPC: 074646607329


Title Track Time
1.Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' --
2.Baby Be Mine --
3.Girl Is Mine, The - (with Paul McCartney) --
4.Thriller --
5.Beat It --
6.Billie Jean --
7.Human Nature --
8.P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) --
9.Lady In My Life, The --
10.Quincy Jones Commentary --
11.Someone In The Dark - (bonus track) --
12.Quincy Jones Commentary --
13.Billie Jean - (previously unreleased, 1981 demo) --
14.Quincy Jones Commentary --
15.Rod Temperton Commentary --
16.Quincy Jones Commentary --
17.Voice-Over Session From "Thriller" --
18.Rod Temperton Commentary --
19.Quincy Jones Commentary --
20.Carousel - (previously unreleased) --
21.Quincy Jones Commentary --

Editorial Notes

Off the Wall was a massive success, spawning four Top Ten hits (two of them number ones), but nothing could have prepared Michael Jackson for Thriller. Nobody could have prepared anybody for the success of Thriller, since the magnitude of its success was simply unimaginable -- an album that sold 40 million copies in its initial chart run, with seven of its nine tracks reaching the Top Ten (for the record, the terrific "Baby Be Mine" and the pretty good ballad "The Lady in My Life" are not like the others). This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul -- expanding the approach to have something for every audience. That alone would have given the album a good shot at a huge audience, but it also arrived precisely when MTV was reaching its ascendancy, and Jackson helped the network by being not just its first superstar, but first black star as much as the network helped him. This all would have made it a success (and its success, in turn, served as a new standard for success), but it stayed on the charts, turning out singles, for nearly two years because it was really, really good. True, it wasn't as tight as Off the Wall -- and the ridiculous, late-night house-of-horrors title track is the prime culprit, arriving in the middle of the record and sucking out its momentum -- but those one or two cuts don't detract from a phenomenal set of music. It's calculated, to be sure, but the chutzpah of those calculations (before this, nobody would even have thought to bring in metal virtuoso Eddie Van Halen to play on a disco cut) is outdone by their success. This is where a song as gentle and lovely as "Human Nature" coexists comfortably with the tough, scared "Beat It," the sweet schmaltz of the Paul McCartney duet "The Girl Is Mine," and the frizzy funk of "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)." And, although this is an undeniably fun record, the paranoia is already creeping in, manifesting itself in the record's two best songs: "Billie Jean," where a woman claims Michael is the father of her child, and the delirious "Wanna Be Startin' Something," the freshest funk on the album, but the most claustrophobic, scariest track Jackson ever recorded. These give the record its anchor, and are part of the reason why the record is more than just a phenomenon. The other reason, of course, is that much of this is just simply great music. [The 2001 reissue adds two bonus tracks (the unreleased "Someone in the Dark" and a demo of "Billy Jean,") the voice-over session for Vincent Price's cameo, interviews with producer Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton, and a new booklet] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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