Friday, November 28, 2003

This week's downloads are up early - hey, it's a holiday weekend! They're two very different versions of the same song, one of the most underrated records of the '80s (or at least 1984).

The song is "State of Shock," which was released on The Jacksons' Victory album, their first album as the brotherhood since 1980's Destiny (which seemed light-years away, considering Michael's Off the Wall and Thriller came during the interim). The hit (and album) version of the song featured Mick Jagger. Neither of these is that version.

The first is the song's 1983 demo, recorded by Michael and Freddie Mercury. The track isn't dissimilar from the way it appeared on Victory, albeit a bit underproduced. Michael leans a bit into his vocals more than he does on the single version, but that might simply be a consequence of trying to outsing the great Mercury. Both Michael and Freddie engage in some... interesting scatting in the song's outro. And be sure to check out this thoroughly bizarre I-have-far-too-much-spare-time page of "interesting comparisons revealed" between Messrs. Jackson and Mercury.

The Jacksons didn't appear at Live Aid in 1985, but Jagger did, solo. Who was more natural for him to bring onstage with him than his frequent (and perhaps best) concert foil, Tina Turner? They duetted on "Shock" and the Stones' "It's Only Rock'n'Roll," and completely transformed the song, making it sound completely unlike its original (Michael who?) and much more like the kind of thing Tina was doing circa '78, when she was making the rounds covering Rod Stewart's "Hot Legs." It's got a tough, muscular, rock structure in this arrangement - played by, believe it or not, Hall & Oates' band (hello, G.E. Smith!). Any time I can hear Mick'n'Tina duet, it's a guaranteed good thing.

Bonus! Talking with Erik today, we were discussing songs by Michael's siblings not named Janet, and the topic of oldest sister Rebbie Jackson (pronounced 'ree-bee') came up. 1984's "Centipede" was her first single, her first hit single, her first gold single, and the only hit or gold record she ever had. A surprisingly solid record, it was written and produced by - who else? - little brother Michael. Give it a listen; it's by no means a milestone of any sort, but is a fine pop record.

Coming next week: Paul's favorite record by any member of the Jackson family! Here's a hint: peeing standing up.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?