44: Thriller (Michael Jackson)

Album: Thriller
Artist: Michael Jackson
Year: 1982

1. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
2. Baby Be Mine
3. The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney)
4. Thriller
5. Beat It
6. Billie Jean
7. Human Nature
8. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
9. The Lady in My Life

I was tempted to place this album higher simply because it might be the best pure pop album ever. But it’s still pop music, and I have to be in a rare mood for it. I must admit, though, that usually when I listen to this album I am still in awe at Michael Jackson’s talent. I don’t much care for Off the Wall, and while I like Bad quite a bit, there are a few songs I skip so it didn’t make the countdown. Thriller doesn’t miss a beat.

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ is a perfect start to the album, showcasing Michael’s musical talents and showing off the best of 80’s synthesizer beats. Baby Be Mine is a sweet if unmemorable ballad. The Girl Is Mine is annoyingly catchy, like I Want it That Way by the Backstreet Boys, only with better singers. I roll my eyes when Michael and Paul have their “talk” but it fits with the silliness of the song.

After that the album gets epic. Thriller is what pop is all about, and the music video was mesmerizing when I was growing up. Beat It is a great sing-a-longer, though I’ve soured a bit on it over the years, mostly because the chorus is repeated one too many times. But all is forgiven with Billie Jean, the best example of Michael’s singing and writing. A very personal song, emotionally resonating, but poppy enough that it doesn’t change the attitude of the album. Human Nature is a fairly new song for me, but one I’m pretty nuts about. And P.Y.T. is catchy as well, much like the first song on the album.

Unfortunately, the album ends with a whimper, as The Lady in My Life is too slow and too boring, especially at this spot. It’s not a terrible song, but it does nothing to distinguish itself and it’s one I sometimes skip. Still, like the best of pop music, it’s hard not to be in a good mood after spinning Thriller.

6 thoughts on “44: Thriller (Michael Jackson)”

  1. I don’t know where this would fall for me, but I love it. “Human Nature” was and is my favorite as well, but I’d red or orange almost everything on this album, and I don’t like pop music either.

    And seriously, what is with that final track?

    1. I had never listened to this album from start to finish until a few months ago, so it could certainly move up the rankings the more I listen to it.

      1. Human Nature my favorite on this as well. I could have sworn we listened to this whole album together before. We never owned it, but I know we played it to death when our parents rented the cassette tape from the library. Then of course, always turning out all the lights when Thriller came on.

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