May 7, 2014

People think Thriller is the best Michael Jackson album, they're wrong…
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

People think Thriller is the best Michael Jackson album, they're wrong…

In our feature 'People think... they're wrong', we tackle the ultimate givens in popular culture, statements that are said so often they're just passed off without any argument. We want to correct that. This month it's a doozey; you know how people think Thriller is the best Michael Jackson album,…they’re wrong, let the sparks fly...

The main reason people have anointed Thriller as the King of Pop's best album is pretty simple; record sales, which in all kind of ways is difficult to argue with. You can't mention Thriller without reeling out the stats. Depending on whose information you read, the album has sold between 51 to 65 million copies worldwide and 29 million in the US alone.

Seven of its nine tracks became singles, it's a brilliant pop record and if selling records was the only yardstick to judge an album by, it would be classed as the best of all time. But it isn't, it isn't even Michael Jackson's best album; that is Off The Wall

Released in 1979, Off The Wall is Jackson at his most dangerous, it's got a rawness, a rhythm and a spark that Thriller just doesn't have. Thriller is too clean, too polished; it smelled of success before it ever hit the shelves. Off The Wall is this explosive mixture of disco, motown, R'N'B and even touches of post-punk. It's a Molotov cocktail of pop.

Off the Wall
Off the Wall Michael Jackson


The ballads are better too, Off The Wall has the elegiac pop of 'Girlfriend' and the tender 'She's Out Of My Life'. Put that up against Thriller's 'The Girl Is Mine' and 'The Lady In My Life' and there's no really no comparison.

Thriller has the iconic images, it changed things, it showed artists how to use videos to get what they want and it has some whopping great hits. But Off The Wall is more consistent, there are no duff tracks and it sizzles out of the speaker, it takes you back to a time when Michael Jackson was an outsider, a young artist making this perfect R'n'B, not the pop behemoth he would go on to become.

Thriller is an exceptional pop record, one of the finest ever created, but it's not Michael Jackson's finest. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Off The Wall


Michael Jackson's second posthumous compilation album Xscape will be released on May 12th. You can pre-order it now in hmv stores.

You can also check out his back catalogue over in our digital store by clicking here.

Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

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