This was probably my first experience of hype – prior to this music was just something that other people listened to, for reasons I wasn’t sure of, then this album landed and things made a bit more sense.
Say what you want about Michael Jackson but Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad are all timeless. Anything and everything that came later was sub-par and obviously less interesting than his private life. Bad is my least favourite of those three albums, but I still love it. The key changes in Speed Demon – and I’m usually the first person to turn my head and walk away at the mere hint of a key change – are out of this world, and as a fellow musician they’re humbling to the core.
I don’t know what happened to Michael after this record – it might be that he ended his very fruitful partnership with Quincy Jones, or that he just went a bit too weird and detached from reality – but this album is definitely his last peak before a very rocky stumble down the other side of the mountain. As a piece of work it might not reach the same highs as Thriller but it’s far more consistent (hit after hit after hit).
The vinyl version of this album removes Leave Me Alone, which is only available on the CD release. That’s a shame as it’s one of my favourite singles (just one of ten – yes, ten – singles taken from this album). If it was up to me, and sadly it’s not and never will be, I would have left Dirty Diana off the album in favour of Leave Me Alone, but hey, who cares?
Hidden Gem: Speed Demon