Michael Jackson – “Off the Wall” (1979)

June 25, 2010 at 7:11 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

 

On the first year anniversary of MJ’s passing, The Beat Patrol posts this review by Stephen Holden (Rolling Stone — Nov. 1, 1979) of his excellent Off the Wall album. Can’t believe a whole year has gone by already since his, and Farrah Fawcett’s passing…   

————————————————————————————————————— 

Like many an aging child star, Michael Jackson has had to grow up gracefully in public in order to survive. Until now, he’s understandably clung to the remnants of his original Peter Pan of Motown image while cautiously considering the role of the young prince. Off the Wall marks Jackson’s first decisive step toward a mature show-business personality, and except for some so-so material, it’s a complete success.

A slick, sophisticated R&B-pop showcase with a definite disco slant, Off the Wall presents Michael Jackson as the Stevie Wonder of the Eighties. This resemblance is strongest on “I Can’t Help It” (co-written by Wonder), in which Jackson’s vocal syncopation is reminiscent of the master’s breathless, dreamy stutter.

Throughout, Jackson’s feathery-timbred tenor is extraordinarily beautiful. It slides smoothly into a startling falsetto that’s used very daringly. The singer’s ultra-dramatic phrasing, which takes huge emotional risks and wins every time, wrings the last drop of pathos from Tom Bahler’s tear-jerker, “She’s Out of My Life.” “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” (written and co-produced by Jackson) is one of a handful of recent disco releases that works both as a dance track and as an aural extravaganza comparable to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland.” The rest of the dance music touches several grooves, from jazzy South American to mainstream pop funk.

A triumph for producer Quincy Jones as well as for Michael Jackson, Off the Wall represents discofied post-Motown glamour at its classiest.

Stephen Holden

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: