My Favorite Michael Jackson Album? Bad

In 1987, Michael Jackson would released his third solo album entitled Bad with the intention of making an album that was more aggressive than Thriller. The album did well, but not enough to beat the mega-monster that was the former. Despite everyone filing Thriller in the category of the best-selling album of all time, it was far from my favorite album of Michael's catalog.

Why? Because it's fun and because Michael has fun in this album.

He dances with his duality with a greater ease in most of the tracks. When he wants to play the tough guy in songs such as "Bad", it's done with a campy feel that almost could have could have been put in a comedy version of West Side Story. "Speed Demon" is especially funny when you listen to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" along side it. Imagine how a duet between the two of them would have worked out.

Michael, I can't drive fifty-five. (Sammy)
Pull over and get your ticket. (Michael)
I told you.... (Sammy)
I....CAN'T.... DRIVE.....FIFTY-FIVE! (Sammy yelling at Michael)

The best of the more aggressive side of Michael Jackson on this album to me is "Smooth Criminal". Cuts like "Bad" and "Speed Demon" like to present how tough Michael is, "Smooth Criminal" was where Michael not only developed a story-line to present his gangster self, but he was able to talk about someone other than himself in this instance. The same works for my second favorite of that part of the Bad album is "The Way You Make Me Feel", where he works the gangster swag to get the attention of a sexy woman.

The other half of the album, where Michael stops pretending to be a thug and more of a human being, is more varied on Bad. "Man In The Mirror" was the start of Michael Jackson becoming aware of the world around him and how the solution didn't lie in someone else, but in the self. I imagine Shakespeare would agree.

It's a tie for me in terms of "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and "Liberian Girl". I love the immediacy of the former, but I love the lush epicness Michael goes for in the latter. "Just Good Friends" is another good track where you get to see Michael go head to head musically with Stevie Wonder.

"Leave Me Alone" is perhaps one of the few times Michael has fun attacking the media without sounding uber depressed while doing so. In his later albums, his tone on the subject became much more serious and therefore not as much fun.

It's been hard for me, and perhaps others, to accept that Michael Jackson is gone. He was a troubled man to be sure and he had issues that perhaps most of us will never understand. I would think he would want to be remembered for the music he brought to the world and not the personal drama that often shadowed over him.

To me, Bad is the album where Michael does it the best from start to finish. It's a shame it never gets highlighted as the third choice favorite in the world narrow-minded discussion of Off The Wall vs. Thriller. No matter what people think, this is my favorite Michael Jackson album.

And with that, I'll leave you with the Moonwalker movie version of "Man In The Mirror".

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