9 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Thriller’s late-1982 release marked the beginning of Michael Jackson’s entry into another level of fame; it also saw the end of a great five-year period of creativity that had seen him raise his solo game on the unstoppable Off the Wall and make heavy contributions to the Jacksons’ Destiny and Triumph. Stripping the weight of history from Thriller is a big job, but hearing the record as a statement in itself remains hugely rewarding. Seven of its nine original cuts were Top Ten singles, but more important is the way Jackson and producer Quincy Jones turned the singer’s obsessions into intricate, stunningly sung pop-funk. From the knowing humor of the title track to the dread of “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” and the irresistible cuteness of “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” and “Baby Be Mine,” Thriller finds Jackson at an artistic height. A quarter century later, it still sells. And nostalgia is far down the list of reasons why.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Thriller’s late-1982 release marked the beginning of Michael Jackson’s entry into another level of fame; it also saw the end of a great five-year period of creativity that had seen him raise his solo game on the unstoppable Off the Wall and make heavy contributions to the Jacksons’ Destiny and Triumph. Stripping the weight of history from Thriller is a big job, but hearing the record as a statement in itself remains hugely rewarding. Seven of its nine original cuts were Top Ten singles, but more important is the way Jackson and producer Quincy Jones turned the singer’s obsessions into intricate, stunningly sung pop-funk. From the knowing humor of the title track to the dread of “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” and the irresistible cuteness of “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” and “Baby Be Mine,” Thriller finds Jackson at an artistic height. A quarter century later, it still sells. And nostalgia is far down the list of reasons why.

TITLE TIME

More By Michael Jackson