Tag Archives: Where I’m Coming From

Rocks In The Attic #410: Michael Jackson – ‘Off The Wall’ (1979)

RITA#410For many people, this is Michael’s debut record; in reality, it’s very far from that, being solo album number five. But just like Stevie Wonder’s Where I’m Coming From (and the later Music Of My Mind), it marked a departure away from the Motown hit machine – a kind of talent school / youth prison for both performers.

The big three Michael Jackson albums – Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad – are really the three pop albums of my childhood. My Dad was a big fan of his – introducing Thriller to me, and hungry for more I greedily consumer the two albums bookending it. Of the three it’s clearly the least adventurous – with one foot firmly placed in the disco camp, Michael isn’t a superstar yet but you can hear the DNA of his songwriting and melodies that would come to the fore on Thriller.

I would classify Off The Wall as ‘not quite enough’, Thriller as ‘perfect’ and Bad as ‘too much’. The three work great together to show his progression from a talented black singer to a white oddball superstar – and I loved every step of the journey. I could never get into his post-Bad material though; his version of reality went askew extremely rapidly and aside a few highlights like Scream with his sister Janet, I couldn’t really care less if he recorded anything after 1987.

I still miss his pop genius. There’s nobody who can write a bridge / middle eight with so much passion it makes it sound like he’s singing about the end of the world.

Hit: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

Hidden Gem: Off The Wall

Rocks In The Attic #88: Stevie Wonder – ‘Music Of My Mind’ (1972)

Rocks In The Attic #88: Stevie Wonder - ‘Music Of My Mind’ (1972)The first of Stevie’s classic period, this is actually the second album where he was given full artistic freedom. There’s still a feel of him regarded as a Motown novelty on the album before this, Where I’m Coming From, but on Music Of My Mind you can start to hear him branching out.

This album doesn’t have any of the big hits that his follow-up albums have, so it always tends to get overlooked. It arguably has the best cover of any of his classis albums – a close up photograph of Stevie wearing mirrored Aviators, with a couple of random images in the reflection of each glass. Unfortunately, some of the covers of his later, more well-renowned albums have dated quite badly – (and obviously he isn’t responsible for that aspect of his career).

Hit: Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)

Hidden Gem: I Love Every Thing About You