It has been almost twenty years (ack!) since I bought my first compact disc. This was in the early days of CD technology, and my parents had just purchased a CD boombox for me as a Christmas present.
I had fallen in love with Michael Jackson just a few weeks before while watching his “Black or White” video on Fox, so when it came time to choose a disc for my new player, it was an easy choice. I was so proud that I carried it around and demonstrated the amazing abilities of the player to anyone that would pay attention. All this time later, I still count that album as my absolute favorite.
Michael was on top of his game in 1991. He sounded phenomenal, still looked beautiful, and was an incredible dancer. Everything about the album was done correctly – from the release of a single and video to build up hype for the album to interviews and an accompanying tour. It was a machine.
Dangerous came in a long cardboard sleeve with elaborate artwork. It contained 14 tracks that clocked in around 77 minutes (rather lengthy by album standards of the day) and spanned every genre from rock to gospel.
- Jam – Released as a single. I can’t listen to this song without seeing a mental image of Michael performing it on the “Dangerous” tour. Very high-energy with deeply humanistic lyrics.
- Why You Wanna Trip On Me – MJ wonders aloud why with all the problems in the world do people still care about his personal life. He went on to raise this issue in several songs on subsequent albums.
- In The Closet – Released as a single. Suggestively titled, but a very heterosexual song that features vocals by Princess Stephanie of Monaco.
- She Drives Me Wild – Another fun, upbeat song with lots of background sound effects.
- Remember The Time – Released as a single. Love this song and the accompanying video.
- Can’t Let Her Get Away – I really like this one. He literally spits the words on the verses.
- Heal The World – Released as a single. A gospel-infused anthem about making the world a better place.
- Black or White – Pop music at its best! This was the first single released from the album, and the accompanying video was both phenomenal and controversial.
- Who Is It – Released as a single. In my opinion, this is probably Michael’s greatest song. The layers of vocals, beat-boxing, and music is intoxicating. The lyrics are haunting (“I am the damned/I am the dead/I am the agony inside the dying head/This is injustice/Woe unto me/I pray this punishment will have mercy on me”).
- Give In To Me – Released as a single. Rock ballad featuring Slash.
- Will You Be There – Released as a single. An absolutely gorgeous gospel song that was also used in the film Free Willy.
- Keep The Faith – Another lovely gospel-infused song.
- Gone Too Soon – Released as a single. Michael dedicated this one to his friend, Ryan White, who died of AIDS at the age of eighteen.
- Dangerous – The perfect way to end the album. My mother used to get mad when I listened to this song, because Michael said “damn.” Ha!
I really can’t believe it has been twenty years. Damn.