Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas goodies.

I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas and got all they wanted. I certainly got spoilt rotten this year with plenty of new musical goodies. So without further adieu.. 

CDs:
  • Erasure - The Innocents (CD+DVD Hardback Book edition)
  • The Jackson 5 boxset containing first four studio albums
  • Factory Records Boxset
  • Pet Shop Boys - Christmas EP
  • Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe (Boxset)
  • Queen - Greatest Hits (3CD)
DVD'S/Bluray's:
  • Erasure - Hits!
  • Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
  • Michael Jackson - Life of an Icon
  • Kylie Minogue - Ahprodite Tour 
Books:
  •  Shaun Ryder - You're Twisting my Melon Man (Autobiography)
  • Queen - 40 Years of Queen
  • The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson
  • Michael Jackson - Stories You Were Never Meant to Read.
I'll post about some of them individually in the coming days, I think the first one will be on the Depeche Mode boxset, enjoy the rest of the holidays everyone!


Friday, 9 December 2011

A funny video and a (sort of) album testing update

So one band I've been giving a serious listening too lately is Depeche Mode and I am starting to really adore these guys. It took some time for them to grow on me (due to reasons I'll explain in a future post). Absolutely loving Songs of Faith of Devotion, Violator and Some Great Reward in particular. So I've been investigating their live shows which I am really enjoying, I think their lead singer Dave Gahan  seems like a brilliant frontman and I think thats evident in this brilliant little live blooper. Its from the Touring The Angel tour, during Everything Counts. Rather embarassingly I had to get my friend Ena to explain to me the blunder (I'm a total Depeche Mode novice forgive me!), it turns out the blunder is that Dave starts singing the sing a few seconds too early, he keeps going for a bit then realises. His reaction is incredibly funny, I love how he turns it into a joke with the audience rather than getting all uptight as sometimes bands seem to do when they screw up. Great little video from a band fast climbing my favourite artist lists!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Matters of musical importance: Pet Shop Boys - Its Alright

This is one of my most personal songs. Its an absolutely beautiful cover of a song originally by Sterling Void. Its not the most cryptic song they've ever done, but the simplitcity just adds to it I think. I fell in love with this song whilst going through some pretty tough times. I wasn't depressed or anything, but it was just one of those phases were I felt a bit under the weather and generally a bit stressed. I tend to think of the chorus of this song the aural equivalent of a hug and it always cheered me up no end. I guess the part of the song that I really love is the part were Neil sings "Its alright, I think its gonna be alright" and then Chris affirms "its gonna be alright". It borders on the affirmative for me, and I do think affirming things can really help lift someones mood. It kind of conjures up an image of someone who feels down, but then as the song crescends they come to the realisation that things will one day look up (I know the song is about world issues, but thats the feeling this song gives me also). I'm not saying this song saved my life or anything because it didn't, but for a 17 year old teenager who forgets (regrettably too much sometimes) that in reality I've got more than enough to be thankful for, this song does give me a better perspective of the world and that little bit of encouragement. For that reason it means a lot.

Friday, 25 November 2011

New CD!

 My newest arrival came today, this is Pet Shop Boys - Release.  I only ordered it yesterday so cannot believe it took 12 hours to get here! Its my last Pet Shop Boy studio album that I needed (Thank goodness) But still need to get 4 other PSB CD's that are as follows
  • Ultimate (Deluxe)
  • Christmas
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • The Most Incredible Thing
I'll probably get their Back to Mine CD too and I got to replace my copy of Fundamentalism too but they'll be last probably. I'm hoping to have them all by the release of Format hopefully. One parcel here, three to go!

My favourite finds of the year: Songs


Electronic ft Neil Tennant - Disappointed
I guess for anyone who knows me personally this will hardly be a suprise. I fell in love with this sorely overlooked track over the summer and its been a regular play on the ipod since. This was Electronics highest charting single over here in the UK, and strangely enough is sung entirely by Neil Tennant who wasn't actually a member of the group. Not going to lie, thats probably why I like it so much! By and large seems forgotten about now. I can't understand why, this is a brilliant song with a totally infectious chorus. I also really love Neil's voice here and his lyrics. This just makes me wish he had done more work with Electronic!


Prince - I Would Die 4 U
One of many musical backtracks (your going to see that phrase a lot) was with the Purple One. I fell in love with Sign Of The Times overall as an album but for best song it may just have to be this little gem of the Purple Rain soundtrack. This is one of those ridiculously infectious songs that no matter how cheesed off I may be, when it comes on the ipod I will be garantueed to start strutting around like a right royal plonker. The live version from the Purple Rain tour was also awesome. Absolutely brilliant song from someone who is fast climbing my list of favourite artists!


Talking Heads - Slippery People
This was one band that surprised me, big time! I'd never listened to them before, although when I heard Once In A Lifetime I had one of those "Oh I always liked that song!" moments. Having said that my favourite Talking Heads song is Slippery People. The studio version from Speaking in Tongues is great, but on Stop Making Sense (the first version of the song I had heard) was just too good. Those backing vocals just absolutely make it, and despite his quirky vocal delivery David Byrne is quite a genius!





Favourite lyricist: Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys)

The more I listened to Pet Shop Boys initially, the more I started to pay more attention to the lyrics of their songs and became convinced that Neil Tennant must be one of the most criminally overlooked lyricists of recent times. I adore their music in general of course, but its Neil's brilliant lyrics that just is the icing on the cake. He has a brilliant ability of being able to write lyrics about a range of feelings that you can connect with and an even better ability to do lyrics based on possibly cliched or overdone themes and do them in his own unique way. Sometimes he can be positively chilling too. I challenge anyone to listen to Only The Wind, which is about domestic violence but seen through the eyes of the person committing the abuse and then tell me he isn't incredibly overlooked. Some may say its odd that I seem to love the lyrics so much written by a man who is 40 years older than me with a different sexuality. I can't explain it really, but a lot of the experiences he writes about in songs are rather similar to that of my own. A perfect example is the whole theme of rejecting school and not wanting to conform with peers are doing that is the basis for a number of songs. Personally I think its a sign of how good his lyrics are, I mean if someone like me: a 17 year old hetrosexual female can identify with lyrics he wrote before I was even born (In some cases its a decade beforehand) then he must have a certain degree of timelessness in his lyrics then. I'm not saying he is the best lyricist ever because lyrics like music in general is highly subjective, and we all respond and connect with different things in different ways because we're all unique. Having said that, using this same personal connection as criteria, then I think its safe to say I don't connect with other lyricists as much I connect with Neil Tennant. Trying to post my favorite lines would be too hard but I think the whole Behaviour album just sums up why I love his lyrics (and the man himself) so much and why he remains one of my biggest inspirations.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

20 years on....

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's untimely passing. He's one of my absolute favourite men in music, I just adore his flamboyancy and that mesmerising voice he had. Obviously, I never seen him live as he died 3 years before I was born, but my father had the privilege to do so (which I'll be posting  about later hopefully) and said he was absolutely beyond brilliant and would have gladly gone to see him again had the chance arrived. This was coming from someone who wasn't even a Queen fan until he seen them! He may be gone but he will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace sir, you are sorely missed <3 xxx 

Currently unavailable..... *sigh*

Finally got round to some album testing these past few days. An album (well EP) that I fell in love with was 808 State - Quadrastate. Ever had one of those musical moments were you fall in love and its something along the lines of "I need to buy this CD as soon as humanly possible?", well for me it was one of those CD's. So I go onto the usually excellent Amazon UK website, knowing that 808 State had released some remastered albums in the last few years as well as a greatest hits this year. Of course, one album came up as "Currently Unavailable" and it was, you guessed it, Quadrastate! I don't even think a high portion of the tracks were on their recent greatest hits CD so I've got absolutely no clue how to track that down. Damn!

First listen Impressions: Michael Jackson - Immortal

Listening to some samples of the new Immortal soundtrack for the Michael Jackson Cirque de Soeli show. Its not a full review, just some initial bullet point esque opinions. As it it just a soundtrack you could say its something of a cash in but on the whole, its not too shabby at all!
  • One of the best things about it is its tracklisting: it has about 12 or so songs on it that wouldn't be familiar to people only familiar with his work with Quincy Jones. I say fair dues for not including just the big hits that everyone would know, so it may encourage people to investigate his 90's (which I thought was criminally overlooked) material more. 
  • There's also a good number of mash-ups here, whilst they're all pretty good (and some are really good) my only greivance with that is that too often one song just kind of goes into another. The songs aren't really mixed together as such or played off each other. The Immortal Megamix sounds really good but Don't Stop Till You Get Enough just sort of goes into Billie Jean with no real build up which is a shame as a proper mixing of the two would sound phenomenal I think.
  • The tracks aren't vastly different to the studio versions a lot of the time which is good, so I never heard a song and thought "What the hell have they done to this?". They've just tweaked the arrangements more or less. However, sometimes it doesn't really work. Human Nature has some new bits that don't really go with the original and it does spoil it slightly. Having said that, I'm hard to please with remixes of that song to be honest as I love the original so much. Also, you've got to give the people behind this some credit, remixing a body of work as iconic as Michael Jackson's would be hard and as the originals are so well known any tweaks are going to come as a bit of a shock
  • It doesn't rip off any live arrangments from tours either which is nice. Listening to it, it feels like they've tried to make an individual soundtrack and a lot of the songs here had never been performed live.
  • There is 27 tracks on the CD which is a lot. As such, basically all of the songs and mixes are much shorter than the originals or any live arrangment Michael would have used. Some of the songs loose mommentum for that I think, Wanna Be Starting Something is only half the length it originally would have been which sort of kills the build up to the "Mama se mama sa mama coo sa" chant. Its like they'
  • The short lengths are a hindrance on the mash-up tracks too. A lot of them tend to be more focused on one track than the other. For instance, Speechless and Human Nature are paired up which I thought would be brilliant. In reality, 20 seconds in it goes straight into Human Nature and there is no more elements of Speechless used. Don't get me wrong, it sounds good but I do think some mash-ups would benefit from a mash up of tracks more
Overall its perfectly decent, even if it is a bit of a cash in. I hope his studio albums being remastered becomes a priority now, Off The Wall is begging for a deluxe edition treatment! Having said that, with Bad 25 next year it doesn't look likely for a while.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Favourite group (Part two) Pet Shop Boys

I know I bent the rules slightly, but I couldn't choose between The Killers or the Pet Shop Boys. I've only been a Pet Shop Boys fan for little over a year (On 26th June 2010 after watching their Glastonbury performance) but they've inspired me so much (and their music has got me through some rough times) so to ignore them would be criminal I feel. Whilst watching Glastonbury 2010 I was immediatlely fascinated with their style, they were unlike anything I had ever seen before. I loved their PopArt greatest hits CD (Still probably the most consistently good hits compilation I have heard) and particularly loved Can You Forgive Her, Heart and What Have I Done To Deserve This. In terms of albums my favourites would be Very and Behaviour (I do have a particular love for the Behaviour era if I'm honest). His voice may be an aquired taste, but you can't argue that Neil Tennant has an unmistakably distinctive tone, which I personally love. Although I do think his talent lies with lyrics moreso, the man is a lyrical genius. I have to echo Brandon Flowers sentiments and agree that Chris Lowe is some sort of synth wizard behind that silent exterior. I've never seen them live (do own a tour programme though of Performance), but I've promised myself that their next tour I am so going to be heading down to Dublin for it. I am thinking of going VIP possibly, but I think meeting them, whilst it would be an absolute dream come true, the shock and obligatory excitement may result in a heart attack. Nevertheless, roll on Feburary 2012 for Format and next autumn for the new album!


Honourable Mentions:

  • U2
  • Erasure
  • The Jacksons
  • Happy Mondays
  • Stone Roses
  • Joy Division 
  • New Order
  • Electronic

Favourite group (Part 1): The Killers

 I can't pick just one for my favourite groups. So here is the first one. The Killers were my first real musical love if I'm honest, since the age of 10 years old. At the time, I was wholeheartedly convinced that Brandon Flowers was the most adorable human being on the planet (7 years later and I still have a massive crush on him). I remember being osbessed with their Hot Fuss era singles when they were first released. I borrowed Hot Fuss off my brother who said it was a brilliant album, and when I listened to it I loved it so much I kept it until earlier this year! Whoops! Anyhow. Their second album Sam's Town was a drastic shock in sound (and in style, I wasn't a lover of Brandon's mustache in that era). The album still grew on me however and still has some of their absolute best ever songs. Once again, I loved their 3rd album Day and Age and needless to say I have been missing them dearly on their hiatus. Although Brandon did release a very solid solo album called Flamingo that is well worth checking out. I've actually managed to see them both times they've played in my home city of Belfast, in 2007 then in 2009 and they were absolutely phenomenal! The second time was probably my favourite, although the first time they did play On Top, which is my favorite Killers song and one I am unlikely to see live ever again. I can't wait for their comeback in early 2012 and I'm hoping they come back to Belfast!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Well done Boys!

Good news petheads! It was a good night for Chris and Neil last night as they along with choreographer Javier De Frutos won the inaugural "Beyond Theatre" award at the 57th Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The award was for innovation and was thoroughly well deserved, its great to see Pet Shop Boys getting accolades for their work as they are criminally overlooked! Well done guys!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ok Depeche Mode, you win!

 A few months ago I listened to Depeche Mode properly and was rather disappointed for once. I just didn't same to get the hype with them at all and thought they were actually overrated. Not wanting to consign them to the shelf of bands that hadn't clicked with me so soon however I decided to persevere and give a few of their albums several listens. Slowly but surely they grew on me and I've just been listening to their album Some Great Reward and I've really enjoyed it! Yes, I think I am definitely becoming a fan of these guys!

Favourite Male Solo Artist: Michael Jackson

This a tad cliché possibly, but for me he really is the King of Pop, despite all the rumours and hearsay that surround his life. I think people (and especially younger people) can forget just how damn good this man was in his prime. I have an embarrassing confession to make: I had started investigating his music more only a few weeks before his untimely death in June 2009 however coming from a family of big MJ fans, I never grew up disliking him. It wasn't a case of suddenly changing views after he had died really. As you could imagine his death was felt rather strongly in our house and not going to deny, there was a few tears shed over it. Musically, my favourite decade from him would have to be 80's, but I also feel his work post Quincy Jones was criminally overlooked bar a few songs that I'm not keen on. His material with his brothers as the Jackson 5 is also very good although having said that I do prefer The Jacksons. Off The Wall is one of my absolute favourite albums ever, seriously, its just so good! In terms of music video's he was an absolute pioneer, I mean I feel Thriller itself needs no introduction on that front. Parts of his career were criminally overlooked though. He remains to this day the most charitable pop star of all time, donating a staggering $350,000,000 to charity! I do wish that was more reported on in the media to be perfectly honest. He was also a very good poetry writer, I would definitely recommend checking out his book called Dancing The Dream to get an essence of the real man. No matter what the media say regard his lifestyle, he is still sorely missed in the pop world. My advice? Never judge a book by its cover, and if you haven't done so already, take some time out to research the real man, you might be surprised!


Honourable mentions:
  • Prince.
  • George Michael

Artists of the Moment

                                                      
 Soft Cell
Been a fan of Tainted Love for many years but only now am I going to investigate the other work of this duo. Working my way through their first album at the minute and I have to say it is a brilliant listen, the group sound like they are criminally overlooked! Really enjoying Bedsitter, Sex Dwarf and Chips On My Shoulder at the minute!
Tears for Fears - Tears For Fears


Tears For Fears
Another underappreciated duo. This isn't so much as new seeing as I heard Songs From The Big Chair a number of months ago. Over the past few days I've been playing their debut album The Hurting a lot and it is absolutely brilliant! So far loving Ideas as Opiates and Mad World in particular! Going to give their third album a listen soon and really looking forward to it!                                                                                  


The Beatles
I have to be honest and say I used to think these guys were overated, on account of disliking Hey Jude. I still don't like that song. It took them a bit longer to grow on me when I started listening to them even, but I think its because I've never really listened to music of the 60s that much. However now they are really growing on me, and I rarely do this but have to admit I was very wrong about these guys! Help particularly is impressing me as is their debut and some  B-sides!

Prince
Like The Beatles, I also wasn't too fond of this guy either. I think it was because he scared me a little to be perfectly honest. Once I started listening to his work though more objectively I have realised though that Prince is a very talented man. Some of his more sexual lyrics do awkward me out slightly there is no denying his talent. Sign Of The Times in particular was a brilliant album as was the Purple Rain soundtrack. Just finished listening to his 80s output and going to start the 90s very soon!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

10 Tracks of the Week

Top Tracks:
  1. Soft Cell - Bedsitter 
  2. The Beatles - You've Got To Hide Your Love
  3. Tears For Fears - Ideas as Opiates
  4. Joy Division - Transmission 
  5. Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence
  6. M People - Colour My Life
  7. 808 State - Pacific
  8. Oasis - Up In The Sky
  9. Inspiral Carpets - Joe
  10. The Beatles - Act Naturally
Albums Of The Week:
  1. Soft Cell - Non Stop Erotic Cabaret
  2. Tears For Fears - The Hurting
  3. The Beatles - Help!

Spotlight: Flowered Up

 I've been investigating a lot of the Madchester music scene of the late 80s and early 90s recently. Whilst the main two groups of the scene were the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, many other great bands existed around this time as part of the scene. One of my favourites is short lived group Flowered Up. They weren't actually from Manchester, instead they were from London but were seen as the London answer to these two groups. Personally I find their sound to be more akin with Happy Mondays. The group were a classic example of a massive buildup of hype followed by meltdown. They were originally known for their wild live shows and embracing "baggy" culture. They actually had been on the cover of NME before releasing any music! Their debut single Its On became something of a club anthem and the group released their debut album A Life Of Brain, but overall it dissapointed in both the critical and commercial stakes. They were subsequently dropped from their record label but resigned to Heavenly. The group broke up following a number of live shows and recording sessions, becoming a victim of their own "party all the time" philosphy. Some of the band members went on to do other projects, but a planned reunion tour for 2007 fell through. Sadly, a reunion now will definitely never happen, vocalist Liam Maher died of a heroin overdose aged 41 in 2009. They may not have been everyones cup of tea but I personally liked them!

Top tracks:

  • Its On 
  • Egg Rush 
  • Weekender

Matters of Musical Importance: Brandon Flowers sings with Pet Shop Boys at 2009 Brits

Well as I'm sure your all aware of by now, I absolutely adore Pet Shop Boys and The Killers and they are my two favourite bands. I've been a Killers fan for 7 years, since the age of 10. They actually were my first introduction to the Pet Shop Boys (I first heard of them via their brilliant remix of Read My Mind in 2007). However this one is rather special because it was the first time I had ever heard their own material and also see them. I watched this in February 2009 purely because I had heard Brandon was going to be there. I knew for a number of years by then that Brandon was a big fan of their work, so I watched them out of curiosity, I even remember this part and enjoying it, purely because Brandon had got the chance to sing with one of his favourite artists. Little did I know that just over a year later that the Pet Shop Boys would join the list of my personal favourite artists too! Brandon has collabareted with Neil and also Sir Elton John on a charity single, and was featured on the A Life In Pop DVD too. Meanwhile Pet Shop Boys have attended the show that was filmed for The Killers Live At The Royal Albert Hall and Neil cited Hot Fuss as one of his favourite albums of 2005. This is a great performance, and I really hope there is a proper The Killers/Pet Shop Boys collaboration in the future!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Madonna - Get Together (Confessions Tour)

I just love this performance! This is the second song of Madonna's Confessions tour, which was from 2006. I've always really loved Get Together, for me it was one of the highlights of Confessions On A Dancefloor and here she more than does it justice. Vocally she sounds fine, and you can tell she is really enjoying herself here and is just having fun. Considering she was 48 at the time of this tour, her dancing is astonishing! I'm 36 years younger than her and I can't dance like this! I really love the last minute or so of this performance. For me it makes it so much better than the studio version of Get Together which if I'm honest, I don't listen to much after watching this! I also really love this particular clip because it was watching this that really made me a Madonna fan. The whole Confessions show is an absolutely brilliant watch in my opinion, but this possibly could be the best performance from it!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Oh the beauty of album testing!

Artists I'm investigating:
  • The Beatles
  • Beloved
  • Beth Ditto 
  • Blur
  • The Cars
  • Coldplay
  • David Guetta
  • Depeche Mode
  • Duran Duran
  • A Guy Called Gerald
  • Ian Brown
  • Inspiral Carpets
  • New Order
  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
  • Oasis
  • OMD
  • Prince
  • The Psychedelic Furs
  • Rihanna
  • Saint Etienne
  • SBTRKT
  • Sia
  • Soft Cell
  • Tears For Fears
  • Thompson Twins
  • Tom Tom Club
  • Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
  • 808 State
Thats a grand total of 80 albums! I've got a lot to be listening too.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Collecting: Michael Jackson Tour Programmes

These are the tour programmes my mum got after seeing Michael Jackson in concert twice. The tours here are the Bad Tour and the Dangerous tour. My mum and my Aunt and Uncle seen him live on the Bad Tour, during the second leg in Cork in 1988. We actually live about 2-3 hours away from Cork, but my mum who was actually the same age as Michael (there is actually only 18 days between them) had been a fan right since The Jackson 5 days and had followed his career the whole way through. My other aunt and uncle and their cousins seen Michael on the Bad Tour in Bristol on the same leg. In fact, me and my younger cousin are the only people in my immediate family that never saw Michael live. On my Dad's birthday, mum took him and my brother Colin who was 7 at the time to see Michael in Dublin for the Dangerous tour in 1991, 3 years before I was born. It was my brothers first concert, and to this day he can still remember the shock that went through him when Michael entered the stage simply by jumping up through the floor. He couldn't quite believe that it really was the man himself. We still have some pictures from both tours and a Dangerous tour T-shirt, but these programmes I will always treasure!

Format Tracklisting Announced!

So the new B-sides compilation Format's tracklisting has just been announced. Overall, I am more than pleased with it but I am also slightly puzzled. The B-sides collection covers from Bilingual era up until the end of Yes. For some reason though, its omitting the Together B-sides released last year. I can't understand why to be honest. I mean, I don't want to sound nasty but by the time they've released another 5 albums (Using that number because thats how many albums they released before Alternative before releasing another five before Format) Neil will be nearly 70 at least. I don't want to sound nasty, but is it likely they'll still be making music by that point? I mean, you never know what will happen with Pet Shop Boys and that's why I love them, but I can't see why the Together B-sides aren't there. Also Je t'aime... moi non plus isn't on it either. Although despite being included on the CD single for I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore it was recorded for inclusion on a compilation instead, so maybe it wasn't a technical B-side. Never the less, the songs on the album will still be really good and I can't wait to get it on February 6th 2012!

Moving on up and I can't wait to get my CD's back!

So in the process of moving rooms I took this picture a few weeks ago. As you'll soon find out I adore my little CD collection (well its more like 200) I've had all my CDs, DVD's and books packed up into a number of these for what feels like far too long now, its been nearly two months! I'm finally going to be able to unpack them next week and I can't wait, I'm sure there's CD's in there I forgot I even had lol! In a random but of trivia, the CD's at the top are Simply Red - Starts, Black Eyed Peas - The End and Joy Division - Substance.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A great MCR video.

A good friend of mine sent me the link to this very funny little clip that I thought was simply too good not to post. Its of a My Chemical Romance concert, were lead singer Gerard Way gives his reaction to a girl flashing her breasts for attention. I have to be honest and say musically they're not my personal taste (Although I do love some songs and they're still very talented regardless), one thing I have to take my imaginary hat off to these guys for though is the way they conduct themselves. They always come across as really down to earth and just generally really nice people, to be honest I wish some of the artists I like could be this professional sometimes. I've seen a few interviews with them and they seem to have real self respect for themselves which is refreshing, considering a lot of celebrities will do stupid things to generate publicity. So although their music isn't my thing, to the guys at My Chemical Romance, your still awesome!

Reviewed: Michael Jackson - Thriller

Thriller is the epitome of a legendary album. So much has been said about this album it barely needs an introduction. Its been written about many many times over. Of course, it is the best selling album of all time worldwide, and when any album gets such a credit it leaves you open to considerable backlash. Its been hailed as Michael's masterpiece, containing such pop classics as Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean. Personally, I love the album with a passion but it still has its very minor faults.

Michael was dismayed with the lack of awards he received for previous album Off The Wall. Once working on the follow up, he took the decision to create an album that would be impossible to avoid. You have to give him credit, and I think its fair to say he achieved that with flying colours, but if I'm honest I don't think even he could  fathom just how successful this album would be. He became even more of a perfectionist in the studio for the creation of this album, there was a finished album created but when he played it through once completed, he cried and decided to start the album from scratch, saying there was no way the album could be released. It has been reported that 300 songs were written for possible inclusion, although whether this includes snippet ideas for songs etc is unclear.

The album itself is different from Off The Wall, although there is one slight link between the two. Wanna Be Starting Something, which opens Thriller was written and recorded originally during the Off The Wall sessions. Personally, I think it fits in far better on Thriller. Thriller by and large is more pop/R+B, although some tracks have elements of rock and soul in them also.

The tracks here are all very strong (bar The Girl Is Mine which is rather cheesy and Thriller for me works far better when with the video) But you could say the album is a tad too diverse in a way. Even if you look at Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller, which are the three most iconic songs from the album they all sound completely different. The album has by and large aged really well, bar Thriller and PYT, for me they haven't aged just as well as the others. Interestingly enough, having heard some of the unreleased tracks for the album I could see why Michael ordered it to be scrapped. The unreleased tracks whilst good, are even more dated sounding and if I'm honest, I don't think the album would have sold as well if they were still on it

Some of the best songs here though are some of the best Michael ever sang. For some strange reason Lady In My Life wasn't a particularly popular choice from the album, personally it could be my favourite MJ song. His voice on this album sounds impeccable, particularly on Lady In My Life and Human Nature especially.

All in all, this is a great album, but not perfect, then again I'd struggle to name a perfect album if I'm honest. Whilst a lot of the songs here are some of the best he ever did, I think the album could do with being a bit more cohesive.As it stands, its my second favourite MJ album purely because the best songs here are some of my absolute favourites ever. Never the less, this is such a legendary album everyone should hear it at least once!

Monday, 14 November 2011