Hello and welcome my fellow kilSters to the second installment of Desert Island DUH Month. For this edition of DIDM, we feature Michael Jackson’s monumental monster, 1982’s Thriller. No, this is not a review of the 2008 25th anniversary Thriller with the extra tracks, remixes, and videos. No, no, fuck that noise. This is a look back at the original 9-track masterpiece as it was originally released.
Michael Jackson started out as the lead singer of that family band of his, The Jackson 5. Front and center from the time he was 11 years old, anyone who checked out footage from those early days could see that there was only one real star in that whole family. Okay, sure Janet was alright, La Toya was just right for 1989’s Playboy pictorial, and that Tito was good for a laugh, but the only one who had any real staying power (that is until his June 25th, 2009 “accidental” drug overdose) was Little Michael.
Michael was good y’all. He was an entertainer. He had it all: The pipes, the moves, and one shiny glove. Michael Jackson first broke out on his own with 1979’s Off The Wall (Thriller is listed as his 6th studio album, which would make Off The Wall his 5th. What were the previous four albums called? Who the hell knows, who the hell cares.) This album had all the monotonous disco trimmings, and to be fair, was a pretty good album. Still it was not special enough to be considered a big WOW moment in his career. I mean, Michael was a fucking star and the only thing he could do was prove it. He didn’t prove it with that album. No, but it was a few short years later when he got his chance.
People today like to think that as soon as Thriller dropped on November 30th, 1982 that it was an instant smash hit. Nope. Michael was smart though. He used all the resources that were available to him. Mainly, that then-new media catering to artists and music, MTV (back when they used to play music videos. Remember that? Wow.) There was also that Motown 25 special that aired on May 16th, 1983. That’s when the world really got a close look at what Michael Jackson could really do sans those hangers-on, his family. May 16th, 1983 was the first time that a televised world first witnessed the spectacle of the Moonwalk. It was electrifying and exhilarating to behold. That performance coupled with movie quality music videos skyrocketed Michael Jackson to a stratospheric realm of gargantuan proportions.
Thriller produced 7 top 10 singles (“Wanna Be Starting Something,” “The Girl Is Mine,” “Thriller“, “Beat It“, “Billie Jean“, “PYT,” and “Human Nature“) with two massive music videos (“Beat It” and “Thriller“.) The second music video produced for the album, the self-titled “Thriller ” was directed by visionary director, John Landis who took the music video medium and turned it on its head with his 11-minute mini movie music video for the song. All these factors, once they were put into place helped to cement Michael Jackson’s name into the pantheon of great entertainers who released an instant classic, but the album was an instant classic in the sense that all the stars aligned, all the little pieces (the music videos, the Motown 25 performance) were methodically put into place so, it’s not hard to believe how this album became the classic that it has.
1984 was a huge year for Michael Jackson. Not only was Thriller inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for having sold over 40 million albums (that number is up to 65 million in 2013), but that year, Michael, for all his efforts, took home 8 Grammy Awards, that’s including the Album Of The Year award. Many good things came with Thriller. Michael got to meet with President Ronald Wilson Reagan (666, ooooh scary), go on a massive tour garnering new puppets –err– fans and Michael got himself a healthy dose of ego to boot. Could you blame the guy?
Michael Jackson was never able to reproduce the fire, magic, and success of Thriller, although not for lack of trying. Something happened between the years 1987-2009. Things got weird. Michael got weirder (and lighter in complexion…and looking more like a woman…and…) It stopped being about the music and it became all about the scandal(s). I don’t want to focus on any of that hibbity bibbity gobboly gook. Let us remember that for one brief, shining moment that there was a man named Michael Jackson who produced a fan-fucking-tastic album with help from Satan and Quincy Jones called Thriller. That’s all that should matter. In the case of Desert Island Duh Month and kilScene.com, that’s all that does matter. It’s the music, baby. Okay, although I find this very hard to buy or believe, if you do not own this monster album, not to worry, kilScene has got you hooked up. Click here and relive the magic and the memories of Thriller.
Did you enjoy this week’s installment of Desert Island Duh Month? Do YOU agree? Have your say in the comment box below (hateful or otherwise, all opinions are welcome.) We want to hear from YOU. Do you have a better list? feel free to e-mail us your lists of the greatest Desert Island albums. Don’t be shy, you may be surprised, we may just very well cover it, but the first step is yours. You can e-mail your Desert Island lists at: email@example.com. If you want to verbally praise or bash me, make sure you put DESERT ISLAND, ATTN: GEORGE. I shall respond in kind.