|Michael Jackson - Number Ones|
|Music Disc Reviews Audio CD|
|Written by Jessica Amen|
|Tuesday, 18 November 2003|
The timing of this album’s release and the recent controversy surrounding Michael Jackson brings me to wonder if it was purely coincidental. But accusations aside, there is no doubt that Michael Jackson creates great music and this compilation of number one hits is no exception.
While listening to Number Ones, all thoughts of Jackson’s scandal left my mind and I was carried away in the musical genius of his flawless melodies. As a little girl at age five, I danced across the living room in my spandex body suit to the sounds of Off The Wall and a few years later, gazed into Michael’s eyes as he lay in his white glowing outfit beside a baby tiger in the inside cover of the original vinyl record two-page photo spread. My first real crush.
As I grew older and Jackson continued to put out records, I continued to buy and memorize every lyric and musical riff, despite ridicule due to loss of credibility in Jackson’s musical and personal reputation.
To this day, I still buy every album that Jackson releases and genuinely like most tracks, with the exception of some of his songs about saving children where he sounds like he’s about to cry. I could do without those.
Though this is the third “greatest hits” album Jackson has released, it is the perfect collection for fans of all natures. Number Ones goes in chronological order, starting with “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You” from Off The Wall. Apparent in these two tracks are Jackson’s disco influence, with the use of many percussion instruments and walking bass line. On this album, he mostly sings of dancing and loving, one of which he does very well and the other he’s been accused of doing a little too much of.
“Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Thriller,” off the Thriller album, come next. Who could forget the Thriller video, directed by John Landis, ahead of its time in cinematography and special effects makeup. I’d sit terrified at the edge of my seat watching and wanting to turn away, but unable to do so.
“Smooth Criminal,” “Black or White” and “You Rock My World” follow, among others, making it quite a well-rounded album.
The last two tracks are not number one hits, however. “One More Chance” is a new song and is quite catchy. It’s not of the same caliber as Jackson’s earlier works, but it’s still quality.
“Ben Live” is the last track on this album, which was originally sung by Jackson when he was still performing with the Jackson Five. It was never a real favorite of mine, but is a nice addition to this collection.
Though Number Ones is a good album with a lot of great songs, it is kind of another excuse to have fans spend more money. The record company knows that hard-core fans will always buy every album, even though they already have History, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and every other album with all of these same songs.
Number Ones is a good album for people who only listen to top-hit radio and haven’t picked up many (or any) Michael Jackson discs previously. Everyone else can probably just burn the same CD from their already existing collections. There is also a DVD available of this album, which would be a more valuable buy since it includes videos and some of Jackson’s short movies.
Despite recent accusations against Michael Jackson and the media producing a cloud of anger and ridicule around him, we cannot forget what an influence this musician has had on the music and entertainment business. Do speculations about a musician’s personal lifestyle, habits and mistakes, whether they are true or not, really affect whether we are going to like the music? And if so, what are we really buying, the music or the story?