Uncut - p.1194 stars out of 5
- "[T]his is magical pop."
Personnel: Michael Jackson (vocals, soprano, percussion, background vocals); Michael Jackson; Linda Harmon (vocals, soprano); Christa Larson, Ashley Ferrell, Andra‚ Crouch, Mystery Girl (vocals); Vincent Price (rap vocals, spoken vocals); L.T.B. (rap vocals); Slash, Steve Stevens , Trevor Rabin (guitar); David "Hawk" Wolinski (piano, electric piano); Brad Buxer (keyboards, synthesizer); George Duke, Glen Ballard, Rhett Lawrence (synthesizer); Bobby Watson, Gary King, Louis Johnson, Nathan Watts (bass guitar); Claudio Slon (drums, congas, percussion); Rick Marotta (drums, percussion); Ed Green , Ed Green, Jeff Porcaro (drums); Bryan Loren (percussion); Becky Lopez, Zedric Williams, Julia Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Andra‚ Crouch Choir, Oren Waters, Bunny Hull (background vocals); Paul McCartney (vocals, background vocals); Siedah Garrett (vocals); Larry Carlton, Michael Sembello, Roland Bautista , Tito Jackson, David E. Williams , Marlo Henderson (guitar); Greg Phillinganes (electric piano, keyboards, synthesizer); David Paich, Michael Boddicker (keyboards, synthesizer); Steve Porcaro, Teddy Riley (synthesizer); Laudir DeOliveira (drums, congas, percussion); John "4 Daddman" Robinson (drums); Paulinho Da Costa, Randy Jackson , Richard Heath (percussion); James Ingram , Jim Gilstrap, Paulette McWilliams, Mortonette Jenkins, Augie Johnson (background vocals); Jerry Hey, Jimmy Smith , Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams .
Audio Mixers: Don Murray ; Jeff Tarsia; Jay Marks; Peter Granet; Rodney Jerkins; Bruce Swedien.
Liner Note Author: Nelson George.
Recording information: Record One, Los Angeles, CA (1969-1999); Sony Studios, New York, NY (1969-1999); sony Studios, NY (1969-1999).
Ensemble: Seawind Horns.
Introduction bys: Michael Jackson; Chris Tucker.
Photographers: Todd Gray; Kenny Rogers ; Neal Preston; Dick Zimmerman; Sam Emerson.
Unknown Contributor Roles: John Bahler Singers; Frank DiLeo; The Winans.
Arrangers: Michael Jackson; Quincy Jones; James Ingram ; Steve Porcaro; David Paich; Bobby Martin ; Jackie Jackson ; Marty Paich; Steve Lukather.
The title might sound like hyperbole, but this two-disc collection is, in fact, a pretty fair summation of Michael Jackson's career up to 2005. Of course, it's impossible for two discs to hold every hit single Michael Jackson has ever had, but THE ESSENTIAL MICHAEL JACKSON starts with the Jackson Five's debut single, "I Want You Back," and ends 38 tracks later with the 2001 comeback attempt "You Rock My World." In between is a chronological overview of some of the most significant pop music in the last three decades of the 20th century, climaxing with about two-thirds of THRILLER and half of OFF THE WALL, the album that in retrospect sounds even fresher and more exciting than its blockbuster follow-up. Disc Two starts in 1987 with eight tracks from the underrated BAD, and its second half does the listener the handy service of compressing the second act of Michael Jackson's life story (a time when the tabloid headlines were overshadowing his increasingly formulaic music) into nine entirely respectable, if not earth-shattering, singles.