Listen Without Prejudice / MTV Unplugged (Deluxe Edition)
By 1990, pop phenomenon-turned-solo megastar George Michael was ready to reveal more of his introspection and social conscience. Listen Without Prejudice is an intimate and beautiful album that employs aching balladry to despair for a conflict-torn world (“Praying for Time,” “Mothers Pride”) and fuses hushed folk with James Brown to mourn lost love (“Waiting for That Day”). Even the gloriously uplifting gospel-dance sound of “Freedom! ’90” houses a cautionary tale about fame’s soul-sapping effects. Leaning largely on his 1996 album Older, the stripped-back MTV Unplugged section of this remastering emphasizes what an arrestingly soulful singer and songwriter Michael was.