Falling in the middle of the towering successes of Off the Wall and Thriller, Triumph achieves a balance between the blissful disco of the former and the sharp-edged pop of the latter. While the Jacksons were still bonded at this time, there is no denying that Michael had become the dominant creative force within the group. He is responsible for writing or co-writing six of the album’s nine songs, and even on tunes by Jackie and Randy (“Your Ways,” “Wondering Who,” “Time Waits for No One”) Michael’s vocals give the music its glowing aura. While there is nothing here as indispensable as “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” or “Billie Jean,” “Can You Feel It,” “Lovely One,” and “This Place Hotel” exude the same urgent passion that made Michael’s solo work so irresistible. Triumph can’t boast the phenomenal popularity of its sister albums, but it is no less golden. Michael Jackson was in the zone, enlivened by the support of his family, and everything he touched during this period alights with a singularly exhilarating inspiration.

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