Michael Jackson is a man of extremes – sensationally bad press (child molestation charges, anyone?), undeniable weirdness (think Neverland Ranch), and his self-proclaimed title, the “King of Pop.” It’s obvious his talent has been eclipsed by his turmoiled personal life. Let’s try for just a minute to forget all the lawsuits, financial pandemonium and countless rumors that have enveloped Jacko’s career for the last two decades. Despite his personal downfall, hits like “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and title track “Thriller” are still considered classic. Epic/Legacy’s 25th Anniversary Thriller release consists of the classic album Thriller, with extras including remixes by will.i.am, Akon, and Fergie. Unless you’re really into crappy remixes, skip those tracks and pop in the DVD, which includes music videos for “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and of course, “Thriller.” Let’s not forget that a man with such a penchant for glitter, moon walking, and that rhinestone-studded glove can’t be all bad.
Mission Control is like the sack of candy you carried each Halloween as a kid. Sure, it held treasures, chocolate bars, and sweet, colorful candies, but it also contained junk that tasted bad and stuck to your teeth. Of course, you ate every bit of it. You’ll tolerate Mission Control’s lows, because when the songs are good, they’re very good. The title track shows enormous self-restraint, and it features a melancholy and beautifully grotesque melody. The bridge reveals a bright, capable horn section, and the song ends simply as it began, on a lonely, beachy guitar riff. But some songs are very boring. “Already Young” is cacophonous, featuring uninteresting melodies and lackluster instrumentation. On “Need You Need You,” Parker Gispert growls over his loud, inelegant guitar, sounding almost Dave Grohl-ish, but lacking Grohl’s heart and lungs. The sound fits Gispert like a hipster’s thrift-store herringbone suit—not well at all.