Released just a few weeks after his death, The Stripped Mixes features 11 of Michael Jackson's Motown hits, solo and with The Jackson 5, with much—but not all—of the instrumentation removed in order to emphasize the vocals. It's not an attempt at being "unplugged" or a cappella, but rather to present understated presentations of Jackson's best-known early work. (For a cappella versions, check out Pure Michael: Motown A Cappella.) There's still plenty of gospel fire behind "Who's Lovin' You," while "Ben"—his first No. 1 solo hit—is made even lonelier in this context. The more upbeat material—The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye"—is interesting, especially for folks who wonder how records are made; key parts of the songs' arrangements are no longer obscured by the electric guitars and keyboards that dominate the original versions. This isn't for everyone, but anybody who loves these songs but has grown fatigued from hearing them so many times will cherish the opportunity to hear them anew.
I'll Be There (Minus Mix)
Ben (Stripped Mix)
Who's Lovin' You (Stripped Mix)
Ain't No Sunshine (Stripped Mix)
I Want You Back (Stripped Mix)
ABC (Stripped Mix)
We've Got a Good Thing Going (Stripped Mix)
With a Child's Heart (Stripped Mix)
Darling Dear (Stripped Mix)
Got to Be There (Stripped Mix)
Never Can Say Goodbye (Stripped Mix)
11 Songs, 38 Minutes
July 7, 2009
This Compilation ℗ 2009 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.