Uncut - p.1194 stars out of 5
- "[T]his is magical pop."
Personnel: Michael Jackson (vocals, percussion, background vocals); Vincent Price (vocals, rap vocals); Linda Harmon (vocals, soprano); Paul McCartney (vocals, background vocals); Christa Larson, Ashley Farell, Siedah Garrett (vocals); L.T.B., Heavy D (rap vocals); Andre Harris (various instruments); Michael Sembello, Roland Bautista , Tito Jackson (guitar, guitars); David Williams , Slash, Steve Lukather, Steve Stevens , Trevor Rabin, David E. Williams , Marlo Henderson (guitar); Norman Jeffrey Bradshaw, Jeff Bradshaw, Matt Cappy (horns); Greg Phillinganes (electric piano, keyboards, synthesizer); David "Hawk" Wolinski (electric piano); David Paich (keyboards, synthesizer, bass instrument); Brad Buxer, Teddy Riley (keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming); Michael Boddicker, Steve Porcaro (keyboards, synthesizer); Ed Green , Ed Green (keyboards, drums); George Duke (synthesizer, programming); Bobby Watson, Gary King, Louis Johnson, Nathan Watts (bass instrument); Claudio Slon , Laudir DeOliveira (drums, congas); Rick Morotta (drums, percussion); Jeff Porcaro, John "4 Daddman" Robinson (drums); Paulinho Da Costa, Randy Jackson , Richard Heath, Bryan Loren (percussion); Matt Carpenter, Mike "Cee" Carpenter (programming); Marsha Ambrosius, Becky Lopez, Zedric Williams, James Ingram , Jim Gilstrap, Julia Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Andra‚ Crouch Choir, Oren Waters, Paulette McWilliams, Mortonette Jenkins, Augie Johnson, Bunny Hull (background vocals); Frank DiLeo, Seawind Horns, The Winans.
Audio Mixers: Don Murray ; Jay Marks; Joe Tarsia; Peter Granet; Rodney Jerkins; Bruce Swedien.
Liner Note Author: Nelson George.
Introduction by: Chris Tucker.
Photographers: Todd Gray; Neal Preston; Dick Zimmerman; Sam Emerson.
Arrangers: Tom Tom 84; Jorge Del Barrio Jr.; Christopher Currell; David Paich; Greg Phillinganes; Bobby Martin ; The Corporation ; Jackie Johnson; James Ingram ; Jerry Hey; Johnny Mandel; Marty Paich; Michael Jackson; Quincy Jones; Ren‚ Moore; Rod Temperton; Steve Lukather; Steve Porcaro; Teddy Riley; The Jacksons; Ben Wright ; John Bahler; Bobby Martin; Bruce Swedien.
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.