In my opinion, Michael Jackson’s album Thriller was a tough act for even the King of Pop to follow. The album’s 38 million plus copies sold, along with seven top-10 hits, and seven Grammy awards created a lot of pressure on the pop star when he was working on his 1987 album Bad. However, 25-years after-the-fact, with the reissuing of Bad just a few days ago, which features bonus tracks, remixes, and demos, an argument can be made for which was the better album.
The songs like “Bad” are almost more affecting, however, one of my personal favorites, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” opens with soft-rock keyboards and one of Jackson’s most delicate, vulnerable vocal performances. And despite the casual hard rock of “Dirty Diana”, the song is a dramatic, tension-filled vignette. Filled with faded crowd noise and an ominous electric guitar solo by Billy Idol foil Steve Stevens contribute to music that reflects increased terror of Diana.
But the short answer is ultimately, you can’t equal such success. Even Stevie Wonder told Rolling Stone that the King of Pop shouldn’t be too hard on himself: “You can’t think about what people will like; you go crazy doing that. If it’s possible for him to sell 50 million records, let that happen. But if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just records.” Still, that didn’t mean the driven MJ, whom Martin Scorsese called “a perfectionist” in the same story, couldn’t try.
By the way, the picture that you see above this blog is actually the official poster of The Michael Jackson BAD 25. A documentary about the BAD album. The film reveals never-seen images of Jackson and more, including footage shot by the King of Pop himself. Spike Lee directs and also interviews choreographers, musicians and collaborators including Martin Scorsese, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, L.A. Reid and Kanye West. Premiering on ABC November 22nd.