1979, Music

Off the Wall (1979) by Michael Jackson

I was listening to this record and I was struck once again by the fact that I just don’t like Michael Jackson. I was so struck by this that I posted a crude joke about him on my podcast’s social media which I will refrain from including in this review because it’s both not the place and child abuse is not funny.

About the child abuse: I read something in the last year or two that made a very compelling case for separating the man from the artist, since they both exist. It’s a case that is more compelling when the artist is dead because, when they artist is still alive, we have to reckon with the fact that we are financially supporting someone who is doing something immoral. Anyway, I am not the person to tell you what to do about the fact that you like Michael Jackson’s music but he molested children. So that’s all I’ll say about that.

“Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough” is emblematic of my problem with Michael Jackson from a musical perspective. Every record of his I’ve listened to has at least one of these extremely insistent dance-pop songs that even break down my walls and heaps of reserve to overcome me and leave me admitting that, yes, it’s pretty great, maybe it’s close to “perfect”. But then I get to the rest of the album.

And in the case of this one, there isn’t a lot of material here that is up to the standard of the record’s biggest song. That’s not to say the rest of the material is bad, as it isn’t – though there is at least one song I really don’t like – but rather that the rest of the record lacks the energy and whatever else it is present in “Don’t Stop” which wears me down and has me admiring music I otherwise really don’t like. (If I made a list of least favourite genres of music, this record’s genre, whatever you want to call it, would be high up there.)

I will say that, though this record is slick and overproduced as all Quincy Jones Michael Jackson records are, they were limited by technology and so the terrible robotic sound that is present on Bad, for example, doesn’t exist yet. And that makes me very, very happy. It’s the thing that keeps me from rating the record even lower.

Basically, this just isn’t my thing. And no matter how much other people like Michael Jackson as performer, I’m just never going to get there, in part because I think his material is often quite subpar, because I find his sound so damn slick, and because I just don’t like dance music very much.

6/10 I guess

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