Dangerous, by Michael Jackson
Suggested by Sarah Stevenson
“Have you Randomised the Albums yet?”
“Yeah, just now.”
“Did any of mine come out?”
“… I hate the bloody Randomiser.”
I’ve had the above conversation with my wife at least eighty times in the past ninety-one days.
When I started this project, Sarah was on board pretty quickly. She suggested five albums, because back then we didn’t know any better, and eagerly awaited her first turn.
And she waited.
And she waited.
And she waited.
Other suggesters hit four, five, six Randomisations. Some made it to double figures. Some had suggested fewer initial choices than her but still saw multiple Randomisations. One suggester had the unmitigated gall to suggest their first pair of albums on a Monday and have one Randomised on a Tuesday.
This morning, when I Randomised the Albums, I couldn’t hide the relief in my voice. Sarah did a little dance around the sofa.
Her album? Dangerous, by Michael Jackson.
Dangerous is MJ’s eighth studio album, released in 1991. It contains fourteen tracks, of which a whopping eight were released as singles, and it went multi-platinum around the world. Some say it’s the greatest MJ album ever released, but I suspect that accolade is a generational choice, selections made for the album that had the biggest personal impression on the individual listener. I think the award goes to Bad, but others would state Thriller with equal conviction.
You likely know the majority of the songs on Dangerous. Everybody does. This is a consequence of Jackson singles being more than mere record releases. Accompanied by mini movies and premiered on prime-time TV slots, Jackson’s singles were watercooler moments, back in the days when such things existed. My personal standout from Dangerous, Black or White, sported an incredible video that showed multiple people of all ages, races and creeds morphing seamlessly between each other with contagious smiles. Small beer in the Avengers Age, but groundbreaking for 1992.
Other excellent tracks include the menacing Give In To Me, with a brooding guitar lick from GnR’s Slash. The riff is directly lifted from the Suicidal Tendencies track How Will I laugh Tomorrow (Heavy Emotion Version), which is well worth a listen for comparative examination. There’s the fuzzy funk of Remember the Time, the whispered R&B of In the Closet, and the angry staccato rant of Jam.
On the other hand, this album panders to so much of MJ’s egotistic eccentricities that it’s almost laughable. Gone Too Soon is well-meaning but schmaltzy, Heal the World is legitimately offensive, and the one-two punch of Will You Be There and Keep The Faith seem to be Jacko’s opening salvo suggestion that he is, in fact, a God. Finally, the earlier songs on this album are so replete with Jackson’s trademark vocal ticks, bursts and breathy stylings that it almost feels like I’m listening to a Hip Hop Rolf Harris. Ironic, considering.
Unpleasantness aside, we suspect that the decision on Jackson’s place in the societal tableau will be made by someone far above our paygrade, and we stand with the victims here at Chez Stevenson. Dangerous, with zeniths and nadirs in equal measure, gets a middling 6/10, but no matter the score, Michael Jackson’s musical legacy cannot be understated.