Released in 1997 on Epic Records, the subtitle of this album is History In The Mix, because it’s primarily a dance remix album, featuring remixes of 8 songs from Michael’s previous album, HISTORY. The remixes are Scream, Money, 2 Bad, Stranger In Moscow, This Time Around, Earth Song, You Are Not Alone, and HIStory. But I’m not going to talk about those. I’m not a big remix guy, if it was just that I wouldn’t have bought this album. But they’re all fine enough for what they are, which is remixes for the clubs. You can dance to all of those, even the ballads which have been remixed as uptempo tracks, so that’s good. The gem here is that it includes 5 previously unreleased songs, which is what I bought this album for. Michael wrote or co-wrote each new song, and produced them along with his songwriting collaborators.
1/BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Written with Teddy Riley, this is a fantastic dance track, from the way the verses build to the bridge to the chorus. It just works on every level. I love it.
Ever since Beat It on Thriller, it had become a tradition for Michael to include one rock song on each album, and I have to say that this track is the hardest hard rock song Michael have ever done, with searing guitar from Slash. This is all the more impressive that Michael wrote it all by himself. It makes me wonder what if Michael had ever made a complete rock album? Just all rock songs, he clearly had the knack for it.
Written with Bryan Loren, this is a nice little track. Reminds me of an updated version of a song like P.Y.T.
And the last two new songs are GHOSTS, written with Teddy Riley and IS IT SCARY? written with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Both are very good tracks, I think Is It Scary is my favorite song from this album, although out of these two, Ghost is probably the better “dance” song. But the reason I’m writing about them together is because it reminds me something I said when reviewing Thriller, that I thought the title track would have been perfect as a concept album, a whole album of songs based around horror and fear. And I think these two songs would have been perfect additions to that album. Add Little Susie from History, perhaps Smooth Criminal from Bad, and Threatened from the next album, Invincible, that’s 6 songs right there. Add 4 more horror songs and there you go, one spooky horror album.
Anyway, you could say that I’m grading this album on a curve. It’s primarily a remix album, so you can’t really judge it the same as normal albums. But as I said, the remixes all work for giving you something to dance too, but for me the gem is the new songs. If it was just a 5-song E.P., I’d be as happy. Based on that, this album is perfect.