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C.A.T: Off the Wall

Michael Jackson – Off the Wall (1979)
Wow, the first artist to get a second album in Cat Fancy’s “Classic Album Tuesday” feature. I was hesitant about doing it but if this isn’t an appropriate opportunity to repeat an artist than I don’t what would be. The fact that the King of Pop has passed is still a shock but on the bright side it’s definitely helped rekindle many people’s (myself included) interest in the music of one of the best artists, if not the best of the last thirty years or so of music.

Like most classic pop/rock fans I’m a big fan of Thriller but I wasn’t really that well acquainted with Off the Wall until recently. Now I’m glad to say It’s quickly grown on me over the past week or so with it’s infectious beats and melodic hooks. I also find it fascinating as a transitional album, that seems to both channel and link the disco music of the seventies to the new generation of pop music that was to come.

Known as Michael’s breakthrough album as a solo artist Off the Wall would not only be a smash hit but as well Michael’s first in a string of classic pop albums. Beginning with Michael’s desire for more creative freedom (as his last four solo albums were released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise.) Off the Wall would team Michael up with famed producer Quincy Jones and talented songwriter Rod Templeton to create the ultimate blending of soul/disco/jazz/pop and everything in between.

Off the Wall showcases some excellent session musicians and legendary arrangements, hey even musical legends like Paul McCartney “Girlfriend” and Stevie Wonder “I Can’t Help It” get in on the fun contributing some of their own compositions. But most importantly it’s what the King himself delivers on this album. With a daring falsetto and unequaled presence, Michael establishes himself here as one of the most gifted performers to ever grace music. His stylish vocal hiccups and excited gasps were unlike anything that had been seen in a performer and are still unrivaled today.

Off the Wall may not have the same kind of wide melodic appeal as perhaps Thriller, but it’s still an amazing album and an excellent dance record. It’s no surprise that this was such a smash hit and with Jackson’s passing I’m sure that sales will only continue to reach even greater heights.

Favorite Tracks: “Don’t Stop ’till You Get Enough”, “Girlfriend”, “Rock with You”


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