Well, we have it now. What a great way to get back to the working week, amirite?
Yes, Thriller, Michael Jackson’s magnum opus, is now gracing our shelves with its silky perfection, and is rightfully this week’s Sweet New Arrival. Released in 1982, Thriller went on to become the best-selling album of ALL TIME, a title it keeps to this day. Deservedly so, too, because this album is a compact, deliriously sweet slice of everything pop music could be and has ever been.
This album achieves a vibe unmatched in music history. Produced by Quincy Jones, everything is in its right place on this album. Every single shaker track, synth, horn section or slippery palm-muted guitar is an indispensable part of Thriller‘s ambiance and groove. Jones’ production is lush but tasteful, expansive but perfectly pruned.
And Michael rises to the occasion with an unmatchable set of songs and with his own legendary vocals and charisma. Ubiquitous hits such as bombastic opener “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the perfectly kitschy guitar solo of “Beat It” and the iconic, indulgent title track are still shockingly fresh pop songs. Smaller hits, such as the languid “Baby Be Mine,” the goofy Paul McCartney duet “The Girl Is Mine” and certified jam “P.Y.T.” are equally high-quality, if not as familiar. The requisite ballads (“Human Nature” and “The Lady In My Life”) are both beautiful. And then there’s my favorite tune on the album, “Billie Jean,” a triumph of rhythm, production, chord progression and melody, and everything else musical, a tale of paranoia and deception made irresistible simply by how good it sounds. I mean come on!
We have over 10,000 CDs here at the music library, but this is the one I can confidently say you’ve all heard before. But come check it out anyway! Even if you’re a certifiable Thriller superfan, there’s no harm in listening again. Maybe take it back to your dorm/apartment, put it on and dance around for a night? Just a suggestion. Plus, our version comes with some special bonus material: interviews with Quincy Jones and related tracks, including a tantalizingly incomplete home demo of “Billie Jean.” So come get it, before I do!