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by Michael Jackson

Released November 29, 1982 via Epic Records

Reviewed December 11, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Billie Jean (72%), Thriller (71%), Beat It (53%)

If anyone ever tries to present an argument against MJ as the King of Pop, the trackless of Thriller alone might be enough to shut it down. It’s amazing how many songs from here someone who never actually listened to *the album* (like me, prior to this review) will immediately recognize.

With only nine tracks, Thriller keeps it short and sweet. And with the exception of maybe two of them, every one of those nine songs were (and still are) bonafide hits. Universal hits, too, as the success of Thriller was unprecedented for a Black American. Michael Jackson became a household name and an MTV staple, helping to break down racial barriers that often prevented black artists from achieving such mainstream recognition.

Thriller became a cultural phenomenon, to the point you could argue the music video for the title track is even more iconic than the song itself. Michael Jackson’s ability as a vocalist, a dancer, and an all-around entertainer got the shine it deserved after Thriller. It was the whole package.

Funk, disco, and soul all combined on the nine tracks of Thriller, while Jackson’s complicated personal life began to shine through in the songwriting. Darker themes are present in even the biggest hits and Jackson’s voice shifted further away from a child-like falsetto than ever before.

Thriller was about much more than creating hits. It presented the determined version of a generational talent aiming to maximize his talents and impact. And 40 years later, there is no question about whether or not he did just that. – Dominick (9/10)

The proclaimed King of Pop's sixth studio album broke new ground on many levels. Produced by Quincy Jones and Jackson—the same partnership as previous project Off the Wall—Thriller touches on similar themes and blends a number of genres: disco, R&B, pop, funk, the list goes on. Tying as much into a succinct piece requires a vision and method of execution on the levels of mastery. Although, 40 years on, some of it can seem a bit aged—trite, even. However, this may just be due to the fact that it has been parodied and played about as much as anything can. The engineering of Thriller sonically is one of its strongpoints. The ingenuity of instrumentation and its various uses give it a feeling of being alive and vibrant. It also features one of the finest guitar solos in “Beat It,” in which Eddie Van Halen's hands birthed something not of this earth. To this day Thriller remains the highest-selling album of all-time. Its masterful balance of studio trickery and foundational pop elements clearly struck a chord on a deep, you could say subatomic, level. – Peter (8/10)

Ben (Synth): 10/10 | DeVán: 10/10 | Jacques: 10/10 | Alan: 9.5/10 | Dominick: 9/10

Pax: 9/10 | Victoria: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8/10 | Jared: 7.5/10 | Cam: 7/10

Community Reviews:

They wrote so many songs for Thriller and had to cut so many for those nine slots. It’s the highest selling album of all time and Michael purposefully put it together by listening to every number one song since the beginning of time and figuring out what made them the best. – Lauren Meltzer (10/10)

The perfect album if you’re looking for pop songwriting greatness, perfected with slick production. – @maxrosk (9/10)


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