artist Michael Jackson
producer Terry Riley and Michael Jackson
label Epic
release date 1991
available on LP, MC, CD, MD
estimated worldwide sales 29 million units
... tell it to the preacher ...

Avid Michael Jackson-fans had to wait another four years after "Bad" (1987). I don't remember whether I already knew Michael Jackson, but turning 7 in the fall of 1991, I sure wasn't looking forward to the release of "Dangerous". The first single, "Black Or White", was of course enormously hyped in the media (and it wasn't until 2004 that I found out why - check the "Dangerous"-dvd for more info on that) so I caught it while looking for mind-numbing cartoons. I was blown away by the smooth dancemoves the man could perform.

I actually started listening to Michael Jackson intensively in 1995. I heard "They Don't Care About Us" and bought "HIStory". "HIStory", as turned out later, has an impressive second disc, but the first disc is actually not that essential. Sure, "Thriller", "Beat It, "Billie Jean" and "Bad" are all present, but where's "Dirty Diana", "Smooth Criminal" or just ... more songs from "Dangerous"?!

The already mentioned Matthias Meersmans recommended "Dangerous" in January 2004. He said : "Look, I tell you : I know "Thriller" is a brilliant album, but only 5 out of 9 tracks on "Thriller" are quintessential. "Dangerous" has 9 out of 14 essential tracks!!"

So I rented the album from the local library and listened thoroughly to it, without prejudice. I must say : Matthias was absolutely right. "Dangerous" is so cool, so well produced, so slick and so street-smart. Michael will never get better than this.

The highlight of the album for me is track 10 : "Give In To Me". A powerful rocksong with Slash on guitar. Eleven months after first listening to it, it is still on near-endless repeat. One word : awesome!

One more reminder : ignore the 2003 "Number Ones"-disc. "HIStory" lacked several good songs from Michael's career, but Sony/EPIC didn't learn from their mistakes. Ok, "Dirty Diana" and "Smooth Criminal" are now present, but ONLY ONE SONG ("Black Or White") from "Dangerous"?!!!. Oh yeah, sure, if you take the title literally. "Black Or White" is indeed his only "Number One" from "Dangerous". But if that was the motivation, then what is "Human Nature" (on the European pressing), "You Rock My World" or "Break Of Dawn" doing there?! Imagine : "Break Of Dawn" wasn't even a single! Ah come on, fill the "Number Ones" with crappy albumtracks nobody cares about and forget "Give In To Me" or "Jam". Riiiiiight.

The message here is : buy "Dangerous". Now. Don't dare to download it. $1 on eBay.

Pop has never sounded so attractive.

Julian, 19 December 2004