It’s “kids choice” now and, of course, she’s going with the newest acquisition to her collection of Michael Jackson‘s records, namely the ‘Thriller‘ album.
You could write an entire historical essay on this album, be it on it’s artistic conception, it’s critical reaction (it would take, like, forever to list all it’s acquired merits and achievements), it’s sociological impact on popular culture, or you could just dance around the room like a break-dancing zombie. I also remembering thinking that inside album photo of a baby tiger crawling up on Micheal’s leg while he reclined there in his white leisure suit was also kind of weird; foreshadowing the bizarreness that was his life to come, I guess (click HERE).
‘Thriller’ enabled Jackson to break down racial barriers in pop music via his appearances on MTV and meeting with President of the United States Ronald Reagan at the White House. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools — the videos for ‘Thriller‘, ‘Billie Jean‘, and ‘Beat It‘ all received regular rotation on MTV. It was ranked #20 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003, and was listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at #3 in its “Definitive 200” Albums of All Time. It was included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of culturally significant recordings, and the ‘Thriller’ video was included in the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films”. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #1 on its list of Best Albums of the 1980’s. I remember it for the break-dancing zombies (click HERE).
Nobody could have prepared anybody for the success of ‘Thriller’, since the magnitude of its success was simply unimaginable – an album that sold 40 million copies in its initial chart run, with seven of its nine tracks reaching the Top Ten. This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of ‘Off the Wall‘ by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul – expanding the approach to have something for every audience. That alone would have given the album a good shot at a huge audience, but it also arrived precisely when MTV was reaching its ascendancy, and Jackson helped the network by being not just its first superstar, but first black star (of course, this was there was still no question of Michael’s race and/or pigment) as much as the network helped him. This all would have made it a success (and its success, in turn, served as a new standard for success), but it stayed on the charts, turning out singles, for nearly two years because it was really, really good. Of course, in part because it was produced by Quincy Jones and features guest appearances by Paul McCartney and Eddie Van Halen among others.
On a side not, it also must have generated some fond memories for some guy named Brent too, since whoever owned this album before us sure loved him as it’s scrawled all over the lyrics insert. Atta boy, Brent. Knock ’em dead killer.