HISTORY by Michael Jackson

This album was released in July 1995, on Epic Records. This was a double album, with one disc containing a bunch of Michael’s previous hits, and then one disc containing 15 newly recorded songs. Of the new songs, Michael wrote or co-wrote all but two, which were covers, and once again he produced most of the songs himself, sharing producing credit with his co-writers on their collaborations. A recurring theme on this album, which was released in the wake of child molestation allegations made against Michael, is media persecution.

1/SCREAM
A powerful dance track, which Michael sings duet with his sister Janet Jackson, with whom he co-wrote the song along with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The perfect song for Michael and Janet to collaborate on. A blistering attack on the media. Loved it.

2/THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US
Another of Michael’s anti-media self-persecution songs, but it’s got an interesting drumbeat that makes it irresistible.

3/STRANGER IN MOSCOW
A nice ballad about fame and loneliness.

4/THIS TIME AROUND
This midtempo song, which Michael co-wrote with Dallas Austin, Bruce Swedien, & Rene Moore, featuring a dope rhyme from The Notorious B.I.G.

5/EARTH SONG
Another Michael Jackson social message song, written with Bill Bottrell and David Foster. Didn’t thrill me at first but it eventually kinda grew on me.

6/D.S.
Slash joins in for a blistering guitar solo on this hard rock track, with Michael attacking Tom Sneddon, the D.A. who would later file child molestation charges against him.

7/MONEY
Micheal Jackson’s first “rap” song! Sort of. It’s not bad.

8/COME TOGETHER
A cool hard rock cover of the classic Beatles song.

9/YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Beautiful ballad, written by R. Kelly. Instant classic.

10/CHILDHOOD
I’m sorry but this ballad about Michael’s lost childhood just sounds creepy to me.

11/TABLOID JUNKIE
A fast dance track, written with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The title speaks for itself. Michael attacking the media. Again.

12/2 BAD
A much better dance track, written by Michael with Bruce Swedien, Rene Moore, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. And featuring a rap by Shaquille O’Neal.

13/HISTORY
Written by Michael with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. I never liked this song.

14/LITTLE SUSIE
A song about a little girl getting killed…I actually quite like this one, but the subject matter may have been questionable.

15/SMILE
A cover of the classic Charlie Chaplin song.

This album had a few high-points, Scream & You Are Not Alone almost make the album worth buying just for those two songs, but I feel that it didn’t quite live up to the hype. The songs don’t really fit together as a cohesive album. And it’s more conspicuous because of the inclusion of the greatest hits disc. For an album called History, which is supposed to be a celebration of his career, he should have gotten songs that reflect the growth of his music. If ever there was an album where he should have reunited with Quincy Jones, it was this one. Still, even mediocre Michael Jackson music is better than most artists at their best.

HISTORY

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