Michael Jackson – Bad (1987)
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!