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Michael Jackson – Bad (1987)

July 7, 2015

[Album 402/1001]Michael_Jackson_-_Bad

Challenge: Name a song from Bad…that was NOT released as a single.

Not an easy task.

Especially considering 9 of the 11 tracks were eventual singles!

The 2 ‘album’ tracks?

Those would be Speed Demon & Just Good Friends.

Kudos if you remembered them!


Of course, Bad had the less than enviable task of following the mega-selling Thriller.

That being said, I’d say Bad is somehow better.

Though I think it has more to do with the carefully crafted tracklist as opposed to track-by-track superiority.

With Bad, Michael Jackson & Quincy Jones perfectly demonstrated my #1 rule of essay writing: if you start and finish strong, that’s what the reader remembers.

If it sags in the middle, what’s the difference?  You hooked them from the start and you’ll leave them wanting more at the end.

By opening with the brand-reinventing title track & the ever-danceable The Way You Make Me Feel, MJ had my undivided attention.

After a triumphant 4-song closing set, including the dark career-peak double-pack of Dirty Diana & Smooth Criminal, I was inspired to immediately move on to his ’91 record Dangerous, forgetting of course that the rest of Bad hadn’t been all that memorable.

Such is the power of a well-executed set of album bookends.

And with the exception of Man in the Mirror, MJ is credited with writing each of the aforementioned book-ending tracks.  So in addition to his craftsmanship with the running order, Michael did a fine job writing the strongest singles in the first place!

From → 1980s

  1. jprobichaud permalink

    With all the weirdness, it’s woefully easy to forget how talented MJ was. A wackjob, yes, but a talented wackjob.

    • Fortunately I find as the years move along, it’s his music that’s reclaiming space in my memory!

  2. Nice to read about others’ past (and current?) affections.

    I think I listened to Dangerous all the way through when I bought the lavish CD with pop-up cardboard architecture, but that is the only Michael Jackson album I’ve ever owned or even heard.

  3. Not a fan I’m afraid. I may ask the record label if I can do a remix of the LP called ‘F—– Bad’.

    • to paraphrase man in the mirror, If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a ….remix!

  4. Phillip Helbig permalink

    “That being said, I’d say Bad is somehow better.”

    Surely it must be badder?

  5. Must admit, Jackson was never my thing. Even as a kid, in the 80s, I should’ve been all over it but it just didn’t do it for me. Everyone I knew had this one, and Thriller, so I heard them a lot, but it wasn’t anything I ever owned for myself. Still, I can’t argue with the popularity of the music. Nice one!

  6. Well, you are in good company, Geoff. MJ was one of my favourites growing up. I remember my mom buying Bad on cassette for my birthday. It didn’t get as much play as Thriller, but I did listen to it quite a bit.

    • If that cassette wasn’t among the ones you found recently at home, I may have picked up your copy at an Ontario thrift shop – I listened to Bad on tape this week!

  7. Nope, don’t know those album tracks at all!

    I thought Bad was pretty good though. You can’t follow Thriller but I think MJ did about as well as anybody should have expected. Now, Dangerous…I didn’t like that one too much.

    • I found I skimmed when I revisited Dangerous but one track I really liked was ‘give in to me’ – Slash’s appearance didn’t hurt!

  8. I had this on cassette. My gran bought me it for my birthday, if I recall. I listened to it a helluva lot, but I didn’t go seeking out and other MJ albums, upgrade my cassette copy when I got the CD player way back when, and I haven’t ever revisited it.

  9. I wasn’t a fan back in the day, but it’s amazing how things grow in retrospect when you compare it to today’s chart music!

    • It’s funny – I can think of a lot of pop songs from the late 90s that didn’t appeal to me at the time but when I hear now, I quite enjoy. A bit of nostalgia in there too I guess!

  10. Hi Geoff, I’ve yet to seek out MJ music but have a few favorite songs. His talent was overwhelming and I should listen to some more. Thanks for this one.

    • I think even non-MJ fans would agree, there’s no denying the talent.
      Admittedly, I’ll never be able to listen to his stuff objectively, I was a huge fan as a kid – thanks for reading Danica!

      • You’re right and that’s not even looking at his early days with the Jackson Five. He was a standout even as a young kid.

  11. Hackskeptic permalink

    Any album with “Man In The Mirror” and “Smooth Criminal” is cool by me. This is number 3 in my MJ chart with “Off The Wall” number 2 and “Thriller” the winner.

    • Two of my preferred tracks as well – I think my top 3 would be those 3 albums but the order might fluctuate weekly!

  12. Probably the favorite album of my family of MJ fans. It has my favorite of his, “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Great harmonies.

  13. I would say the production is weaker than Thriller; the latter had a much more smooth, organic sound. And I’ve never really been a fan of his ballads, but other than that, a great album. Leave Me Alone is an underrated vicious little song.

    • Those darker tunes like leave me alone are as you say, underrated. Most people will remember the hits but it’s those type of songs that really gave his catalogue the depth

  14. One of my favourite albums, although not my favourite MJ album (that would be Off the Wall).

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