Michael Jackson

Anthology: The Best of Michael Jackson

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When a teenage Michael Jackson was known primarily for his membership in the Jackson 5, rock critics tended to dismiss him as bubblegum. But even at his most waifish, the pre-Thriller, pre-Quincy Jones Jackson could be soulful. Spanning 1971-1975, this two-CD set shows how inviting some of Jackson's early solo recordings were. Major hits like "Ben" (his oddly poignant ode to a rat), "I Wanna Be Where You Are," and "Got to Be There" are included, along with noteworthy album tracks like Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and the standard "All the Things You Are." Anyone who doubted that he was a serious R&B/pop singer should have examined Jackson's moving version of the Philly soul classic "People Make the World Go Round" (which is heard with different lyrics than on the Stylistics' much better-known version). The package also contains a handful of Jackson 5 hits, including "Never Can Say Goodbye" and the infectious "Dancing Machine." To be sure, Jackson's solo albums of the early to mid-'70s had their share of filler, something this package isn't devoid of either. But thankfully, Anthology has a lot more pluses than minuses. For an introductory overview of Jackson's early accomplishments on his own, Anthology is the most logical choice.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:32
2 2:31
3 4:08
4 3:40
5 2:56
6 3:47
7 2:51
8 3:45
9 4:03
10 4:13
11 4:32
12 3:58
13 4:38
14 3:55
15 3:32
16 5:39
17 4:57
18 3:59
19 3:55
20 3:18

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:39
2 2:31
3 2:36
4 3:23
5 4:15
6 3:09
7 3:24
8 2:51
9 2:41
10 3:41
11 3:21
12 3:09
13 3:19
14 3:03
15 3:04
16 3:25
17 2:58
18 3:36
19 4:04
20 4:21
blue highlight denotes track pick