Like his other posthumous releases, “Bad 25” shines and polishes the King of Pop’s crown.
The collection hit stores Sept. 19 following an intense marketing effort via social media outlets and Jackson’s official website, www.michaeljackson.com.
The deluxe edition box set, reasonably priced at $35, is the nucleus of the “Bad 25” releases. It’s a must-have that serves to remind fans how hard Jackson worked to follow up the best-selling album of all-time: “Thriller.”
What makes “Bad” such a great album is not necessarily the record it broke in terms of producing five consecutive no. 1 singles, but rather the creative freedom that Jackson was granted. The title track alone is enough to prove how much Jackson had evolved since 1982’s “Thriller”—this time around, he was taking more risks with sound effects, language and his voice.
Containing three CDs and one DVD, the deluxe edition box set revisits Jackson’s creative vision circa 1987and gives fans an opportunity to not only hear, but also see what made Jackson such a multi-talented entertainer.
Disc One features the original “Bad” album in its entirety. All of the songs have been remastered. Scattered amongst six other songs that demonstrate Jackson’s style and brilliance, every hit is here—“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana.” Clearly this is an album that marked a momentous time in Jackson’s already unparalleled career. He not only wrote almost all of the songs, but also was inclined to create short films to accompany them.
The second disc in the collection seems to pick up where Jackson left off at the end of “Bad.” Jackson’s sleeves were long indeed—he had enough unreleased tracks from the “Bad” sessions to almost fill an entire disc over two decades later.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing songs on the disc full of bonus material is “Song Groove (A/K/A Abortion Papers).” The song highlights a sensitive issue that Jackson chooses to address from a pro-life standpoint. “Think about life / I’d like to have my child,” he sings in the chorus.
“Al Capone” is supposedly an early version of “Smooth Criminal.” The song boasts an undeniable 80s flavor and a fast-pace. It’s a commendable effort, especially if you listen to it as a “rough draft” of “Smooth Criminal.”
Other songs on Disc Two include the Spanish and French versions of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” as well as “Streetwalker” and “Fly Away,” both of which were released on the “Bad” album re-release in 2001. “Streetwalker” is a brilliant track that deserves not to be overlooked—the finger-snaps coupled with the shuffling-sounding beat will lock you in every time.
It’s a shame that some of these songs didn’t appear on subsequent albums, but I speak on behalf of my fellow MJ fans when I say that I’m glad that they have finally appeared here, seemingly right where they belong.
Some of these songs probably aren’t up to Jackson’s finished standards, perfectionist that he was. Regardless, the Estate thought it necessary to provide fans a glimpse into how “Bad” came to fruition, not to mention how the album might have sounded if some of these tracks made the final cut.
Disc Two concludes with two remixes of “Bad” by AfroJack and an equally stellar remix of “Speed Demon” by Nero. Something tells me that MJ would appreciate these remixes because the lyrics aren’t compromised and the main beats remain intact. It’s a new way to hear these songs, and the fact that they seem crafted to appeal to younger audiences is praiseworthy.
The third and fourth discs in the box set are a CD and DVD, respectively. The CD features live audio from Jackson’s concert at Wembley Stadium, which took place July 16, 1988, and the DVD essentially places fans in a seat at that sold-out concert. Sourced from Jackson’s personal VHS tape and restored to the best quality achievable, the DVD gives fans a chance to view an MJ concert in its entirety. His energy on stage makes you wonder how he didn’t collapse from exhaustion; he just delivers that electrifying a performance.
Complete with booklets full of rare photographs, a poster, a sticker and more, the “Bad 25” box set is dedicated to Jackson’s three children and his mother Katherine.
The variety of “Bad”-themed items also available for purchase on Jackson’s website include a deluxe collector’s edition enclosed in a “Bad”-themed case, the “Bad” tour staff jacket, two vinyls and a DVD. Not bad for fans who can’t get enough of Jackson’s third solo album.
Kudos to Michael Jackson’s Estate for putting together a box set that satisfies fans of all ages, all over the world. I’m already counting down until the 25th anniversary of “Dangerous.”