Michael Jackson's masterpiece still a 'Thriller'

"The Lady in My Life": And the '80s pop big bang ends with a . . . whimper? So it might have seemed at the time, this Rod Temperton-penned and arranged trifle closed "Thriller" on an unconvincingly romantic note -- even prescandal. Yet today, "Lady" shines for its classic simplicity and nuanced craft, a verse melody straight from vintage Burt Bacharach (the muted trumpet early on leaves no doubt) topped with a chorus that's almost a Stevie Wonder homage. And Jackson's delivery is refreshingly unaffected -- not until shortly before the final fade does he even let out an ooo! No, not a whimper. A sigh. (Steve Hochman)
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