The main thing that bothered me while watching the Michael Jackson news stories on TV following his death..they always overlooked two of his finest albums, “Dangerous” and this set, “HIStory”. “HIStory” is a set that is the sound of Michael Jackson re-inventing and evolving as an artist. Disc 1 features some of his biggest hits in its full unedited form (Unlike his other greatest hits set Number Ones), but with the unedited tracks comes the fact that so many of his hits weren't included! For 1995 it was the only Michael Jackson best of compilation available on the market..and Im thankful more concise hits collections like “The Essential Michael Jackson” and “The Ultimate Collection” are available. So if you want the hits, and all of them, please pick up those collections! Or even better, buy his 4 original albums! (Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous). But as for this collection, all the songs are incredible and its a surprise to see songs like “She's Out Of My Life”, “The Girl Is Mine”, “Remember The Time” and “Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'” included in a collection where they usually omit those songs! Overall, the songs are no doubt 5 star quality, but for the omissions of so many great songs I give Disc One: 4.5 stars.
Disc 2 is the very sound of a tortured superstar under the pressure and scrutiny of the media. If you have heard all of his albums, this one right here easily earns the title of his most honest album. Its a complete turnaround from his previous 4 albums. He's angry. He knows hes been hounded. And now hes writing and singing about all of his tribulations over his career, but mostly about the 1993–1994 era where he was accused of those disgusting (and in my opinion extremely false) allegations.
The disc begins with “Scream” a duet with his superstar sister Janet Jackson. The song is a loud, futuristic dance song about all the pressure the two siblings face. Its a great track, and was a big hit back in 1995. (It should have been bigger!)
“They Don't Care About Us” is one of my all time favourite Michael tracks! Its all about how he's been victimized and how he's basically had enough of all the hatred. Its an incredible song with such danceable qualities, with a heavy subject matter without resorting to over preaching.
“Stranger In Moscow” is a window glimpse into Michaels mind during the 1993 allegations era. It is such an incredibly honest song as he sings about his “Fall from grace” and how it feels to be “Alone and cold inside”. I believe that this is one of his greatest musical accomplishments.
“Earth Song” is a typical MJ “Save the world” anthem, but its done to epic proprtions. Its a mammoth anthem, not preaching to people how to save the world, but basically how “no one gives a damn”. It doesn't get better than this! Another overlooked gem in Michaels catalogue of work.
“Money” is a song that doesnt sound like anything MJ had done before. Its basically all spoken word, and what he says about what people would do for money is spot on and extremely relevant to his experiences, and whats going on in the world today.
“Come Together” is Michaels remake of The Beatles classic and I really enjoy this one too. Its a great remaking and its cool to have it on CD after seeing it on his Moonwalker film right at the end!
“You Are Not Alone” is the 1996 mega smash and its a great ballad. Theres not much to say about this one, but you honestly cant help but sing along and get caught in the infectious chorus!
“Childhood” is Michaels his most autobiographical song ever. Just listen to the lyrics..its not your typical Verse-Chorus-Verse-Bridge-Chorus song, its structure is intricate and his powerful lyrics are the main attraction to this song. The music alone can also be enough to bring someone to tears.
“Tabloid Junkie” is another roaring dance number similar to “Scream”. It tells of how everyone shouldnt believe what they read or see. A great song that is usually overlooked!
The rest of the tracks are also great (This Time Around, D.S., 2Bad, History, Little Susie and Smile) and are well worth a listen..they are great tracks, but those ones I just wrote about are my personal standouts.
My overall rating for Disc Two is 5 stars.
“HIStory” is the evolution of Michael Jackson from the beginning of his musical solo career to his honest later work. You will never hear Michael this honest, frank and autobiographical in any other album. There are songs on the 2nd disc that I consider some of his finest work ever. Just give it a try! Just because the television doesnt acknowledge this fine album (and Dangerous), it doesnt mean it isnt good. Its a fantastic album and should be heard by anyone who considers themselves a Michael Jackson fan.
R.I.P Michael Jackson! You many not be here on Earth, but I am so grateful you left your musical legacy with us, so people now and people in the future can discover how remarkable it really is!