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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Music Retrospective - Michael Jackson: Dangerous

Well, it’s another day and another album from that guy named Michael Jackson. Today’s album is one that should be approached with caution because it is “dangerous.” Yes, I know that pun was a little lame. Anyway, Dangerous was released towards the end of 1991. It incorporated a lot of music styles just like his previous albums. It was also was fully produced by Jackson meaning he didn’t collaborate with Quincy Jones on this one. 10 singles were released from the album. It only received four Grammy nominations in 1993. He also wrote the majority of the songs on here as well.

I’ve had bits and pieces of this album for years but I never owned the complete thing. My sister even got the album before I did. Since I’ve really never heard the whole thing, I bought it last year. I just didn’t see the urgency in getting it until then. I don’t have much else to say, so let me see if this album is truly hazardous or just causes sunburn.

Dangerous

  1. Jam – The album (like all of his albums) starts out with a fast-paced dance song. The song is about being burdened by the things of the world and just needing to let out a groove, I think. It could also be about basketball, I’m just not sure. At least I can dance to it! The video had both Michael and Michael Jordan in it. We also get some rapping from the late rapper Heavy D which was pretty cool. Overall, it’s a nice song to start the album out with.
  2. Why You Wanna Trip On Me – Hold on to your butts because it it’s another fast-paced song. This is one Jackson didn’t write for the album though it feels like he did. The song is essentially about how he is constantly talked about while there are real issues out there not being talked about. Of course, it’s a jab toward the media which still puts out useless jargon about the latest celebrities instead of concentrating on important stuff. I really like the song. It’s got a nice message and you can do that one dance move to it as well.
  3. In the Closet – Now, I know what you’re thinking, but you’re kind of off base. It could be about Jackson’s hidden sexuality. It could also be about Jackson’s hidden relationship with “Random Female Woman” or something. I’m just looking at the song.  Anyway, “In the Closet” is about a pretty hot and bothered couple who want to keep their relationship hidden from all eyes. It’s pretty racy for the most part. I feel like Jackson took some pointers from Prince for this song. It’s also got a pretty nice beat. Overall, it’s not one of my favorites on the album, but it is okay. I might throw it on for my “Random Female Woman” one day. On second thought, I probably won’t because she might throw an uppercut at me or something.
  4. She Drives Me Wild – In another dance piece (man, it’s feeling like Off the Wall again), we have Michael singing about a hot girl. It could be “Random Female Woman” but he doesn’t specify. This is probably one of the most forgettable songs on here. There’s nothing really noticeable about it. Even the rap verse from Wreckx-n-Effect don’t help matters. When “Buckwheat” gets mentioned in a rap, I usually zone out at that point. Overall, it’s an alright song, but it’s pretty forgettable.
  5. Remember the Time – Next up is another dance number. Unlike the last forgettable song, this one is pretty memorable and it’s not because it’s called “Remember the Time.” The song is about someone asking his lover (former or otherwise) if she remembers their good times. I like this song. It’s one of the best songs on here. It’s not too long and not too short. The music is also quite nice. Overall, I see why this was released as a single.
  6. Can’t Let Her Get Away – We get another fast-paced song for us to dance to. The first time I ever heard this song was on a black superhero comedy called The Meteor Man. It’s about a random guy who… oh yeah, I’ll get to that one day. Anyway, this song is either about a guy who doesn’t want to let his woman go, unrequited love, or addiction. Take your pick because I really don’t care. This is another one of the good songs on here. The lyrics are cool and the music is poppin’. It makes you want to do some sort of groove. Even if you can’t dance, you’ll be moving something. It’s a great song all around.
  7. Heal the World – The album (and the possible dancer) finally takes a moment to breath with the slow song “Heal the World.” As the title suggests, the song is a call out to everyone to make our planet a better place to live. The song even features some kids talking about how they want to see the future. It even features a kids’ choir at the end to give it that wholesome push. It’s a fine song, but it’s not one of my favorites. It’s basically a toned-down version of “Man in The Mirror.” Still, it’s a good song with a good message.
  8. Black or White – Next up, things speed up as we get another socially relevant song. If anything, it’s “the” socially relevant song. The message of “Black or White” is simple and it doesn’t have to do with Jackson’s actual skin color. It simply talks about how racism and bigotry are stupid. The lyrics are good and music is good. That guitar riff is so memorable. We also get a pretty decent rap from L.T.B. Overall, it’s another nice song with a good, relevant message.
  9. Who Is It – Next up is this depressing song. It’s not a fast piece but it isn’t really slow either. The song is about a man who’s lost his woman to another guy and he wants to know who it is. This might be one of my favorite songs on the album. The lyrics are really good and the music is really awesome. It might trail on towards the end but I still like this song.  It’s simply awesome.
  10. Give In To Me – Next up is another slower song. It’s kind of like a faster-paced version of “Dirty Diana.” Figuring out the meaning behind this song is pretty weird. From what I’ve looked at, it’s about a crappy relationship between two people. While the lyrics are little confusing, the music is pretty awesome. Slash kicks some butt with a pretty good solo and riff. Overall, it’s a nice song even though I don’t get its meaning.
  11. Will You Be There – The next song on the list is “Will You Be There.” Most will remember this song also being on the “Free Willy” soundtrack. The song starts after a weird, two-minute long, operatic intro. The song is about asking someone to be there during the good times and bad times. The “someone” can pretty much be anyone. It can be God, a parent, a spouse, or a friend. It’s a nice, slow song that is a little inspirational.
  12. Keep The Faith – Next up is another inspirational song. I guess Michael wanted this to be his “Gospel” section or something. The song is about keeping the faith. It’s essentially a motivator into holding on till the end. Other than it being a nice motivating song, there really isn’t much to say about it. It’s a good song, but it’s not his best song on here.
  13. Gone Too Soon – The next song is another tearjerker that really reminds me of “She’s Out Of My Life.” Unlike that song, this song is about death. This was the other song that Jackson didn’t write for the album. I read somewhere that it was a tribute to a kid who died from AIDs back in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Even though the subject is pretty depressing (especially since Jackson died at a pretty shocking age), it’s a well-made song.
  14. Dangerous – The last song on the album is another dance piece and that’s definitely needed after that previous song. “Dangerous” is about a man who gets seduced by “Random Female Woman”… yes, I really like typing that.  Anyway, this screws up completely screws up his life.  It feels like a continuation of “Dirty Diana” or something. While the song is not my favorite song, it’s still pretty good. The spoken word parts make the song feel unique from others on the album. In the end, it’s a good song to end to end the album on.

Favorite Song – This is a tough one. There are a lot of songs on here that are really good. I’ll go with “Remember the Time” since it’s really one of the standout songs on the album.

Least Favorite Song – it’s going to be “She Drives Me Wild.” I actually feel like that song is just taking up space on a pretty good album.

Overall, the album is quite hazardous and might turn you into a green, eight-foot tall giant with an interest for dance. In other words, this is a good album. While I have a couple of small gripes, it’s still pretty good. Jackson did his best in trying to incorporate a lot of then-current music genres into the album. It worked for the most part. The lyric work was also quite good. The album is pretty socially-driven and this isn’t the last time Jackson jumps into social issues. It kind of becomes his thing. I also like how the album is laid out. We had a lot of fast-paced music on the first half and a mix of slow and fast on the back half.

There isn’t much bad with the album. I do have a couple of small nitpicks. Some of the dance songs blend together especially when you listen to them back-to-back. There isn’t lot diversity with them especially with the ones in the beginning. Also, I felt like some of these songs went on a little too long. You get to the end and the song is still playing. I guess my best example is “Dangerous” because that song did not want to end. Even after all of that, I still like the album. It’s too soon to see how well this matches up with the rest. Check it out if you haven’t.

I really couldn’t find that many unreleased songs for this album. I was able to find one that got cut from Dangerous. The song is called “Do You Know Where Your Children Are,” and yes, that is a pretty weird title. The song was eventually featured on Xscape, a recent album that compiles new versions of Jackson’s unreleased songs. It’s an alright song but the album is fine without it. Well, next month is The Month of Batman, so I won’t be touching on Jackson’s next album. I will get to it eventually. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and watch out for “Random Female Women” or “Random Male Men.” They’re pretty tricky.


NEXT TIME: HIStory!!!

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