Michael Jackson – Off The Wall

image1-3 And now for something completely different!  So far I have mainly reviewed guitar based albums from bands.  This month it was time to mix it up a bit and go with this disco/pop great.

Purchase and Packaging

I had planned to get this album for this months review and by great fortune went into HMV and it was in the sale for £7.99, an absolute bargain!!!

The gate fold sleeve is fun that it opens to a full sized image of Michael Jackson and the highlighted socks makes no sense but somehow add to the overall image.  And what is the bit on the right, some kind of window, could they not find a full sized wall?  The album comes on 180 gram vinyl and is housed in a simple paper slip case.

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First Listen

Heavily inspired by the disco scene of the 70’s Michael Jackson solo album is a classic and often over looked by his subsequent album and personal life.  I will not get into Michael Jackson the man but as a singer, song writer, dancer and performer there is not many that come close to his genius.

What an opening track “Don’t Stop’ Til You Get Enough” is a monster of a track and for the time was very long, clocking in at just over 6 minutes.  The musical arrangement is amazing, how did they put all these sounds together before computers?

The hits just keep coming with “Rock With You” another example of pop and disco infusion to create a great single.

Side one has four great disco tracks with high tempo and heavily repeated vocals and music riffs.  Side two has more of a love song feel with slower tempo and more emotional tracks.  The only exception to this is “Off the Wall”, which feels like it should have made it on to side 1 as it’s more of the same feel as the first four tracks than the tracks on side 2.  Maybe with the length of “Don’t Stop’ Til You Get Enough” it wouldn’t fit on the vinyl side.

The album as a whole certainly feels like the story of a night out.  Side one is the high energy of the clubs in the early part of a night, then side 2 feels like it’s in a wine bar after the dancing has slowed or finished and your relaxing and chilling out into the small overs.

“She’s Out Of My Life” is the highlight of side 2.  The light production on the track helps bring Michael Jacksons voice front and centre to give the track a really high emotional punch.

Most music I listen to doesn’t seem to fit into a particular time period, this album is clearly of the 70’s and of the disco era.  You just get that vibe from it when listening to it.  If I was a DJ in a 70’s club this album would be one of my staples every week.  It’s very hard to listen to the whole album without tapping your foot and wanting to get up and have a dance.

I have nothing to compare the vinyl listening experience with on this record.  I have listened to it a few times on Spotify through headphones.  So I can defiantly say it’s a huge step up from that.  As it’s an album from the 70’s the base isn’t over powering the production, this makes the rhythm and vocal sections really stand out.

For me Off the Wall is the forgotten Michael Jackson album.  A lot of the tracks haven’t been overplayed to death, which his later work suffers from.  This is only a positive for the album as it makes it feel a lot fresher and different to anything that is been played and released today.

Final Thoughts

Disco as a genre of music gets a lot of unfair bad press, just forget about all that and put this album on, tap your foot and let the rhythm and the beat take you away from life for an hour.

Discogs Link

Wikipedia Link

 

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