OFF THE WALL by Michael Jackson

Released in August 1979 on Epic Records, this was Michael Jackson’s first solo album as an adult (after having released 4 solo albums on Motown Records as a teenager). Michael enlisted producer Quincy Jones to co-produce this album with, which turned out to be a very wise choice, as Jones had a knack for finding the right songwriters to write songs that played to Michael’s strengths as a vocalist. Michael himself also wrote and co-produced some songs of his own, for the first time on one of his solo albums, as well as reaching out to celebrity friends Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder for songs. The album contained 10 tracks, all mostly heavily R&B, with some disco influence.

1/DON’T STOP ‘TIL YOU GET ENOUGH
And uptempo dance track, written by Michael, who sings it in a high pitch. A very infectious beat and memorable chorus.

2/ROCK WITH YOU
Written by Rod Temperton, this midtemp dance track is just perfect. The beat, the melody, Michael’s vocals, everything.

3/WORKIN’ DAY AND NIGHT
A good uptempo dance track, written by Michael.

4/GET ON THE FLOOR
Michael co-wrote this with Louis Johnson. It a decent, if not remarkable dance track. It’s got a nice horn section. This song is pretty much designed for the clubs, I could see it being a hit on the dance floor.

5/OFF THE WALL
Another great uptempo song, written by Rod Temperton. I love the way the bridge builds up to the chorus. The song just flows naturally.

6/GIRLFRIEND
Written by Sir Paul McCartney, this is a sweet little midtempo love song. It sounds like something McCartney could have song himself, like an updated version of an early Beatles song.

7/SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE
A powerful ballad, written by Tom Bahler. You can hear the emotion in Michael’s voice as he sings it, as if he was really going through a breakup.

8/I CAN’T HELP IT
Written by Stevie Wonder and Susaye Greene. This delightful little track remains one of my all-time favorite Michael Jackson songs, if not THE favorite. His voice sounds so joyful as he sings it. You can’t help but smile while listening to it.

9/IT’S THE FALLING IN LOVE
A duet with Patti Austin, written by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager. Michael and Patti’s voices complement each other, there’s a nice playful feel to it, as they trade lines back and forth.

10/BURN THIS DISCO OUT
Another Rod Temperton song, the title pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a disco song, built for playing in clubs. Not bad, but I can’t say it really stands out.

Overall it’s a very good album, it feels “adult,” establishing that Michael Jackson had grown up. If I had a complaint, and it is a minor one, it would be that it does feel slightly dated. This is a 1970’s album. The dance songs sound like what you’d expect if you were at a Disco in the 70’s. But that’s not a bad thing. Michael’s voice is superb, and Qunicy’s production brings out the best in Michael, the background vocalists, and the musicians. A great product.

OFF THE WALL

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