Thriller is the sixth studio album by Michael Jackson. It was recorded between April and November 1982 and was released on November 30, 1982. Seven of the nine songs on the album became singles, and all hit number one on charts. The album received amazing critical reception, winning numerous awards, eight in the year 1984 alone and becoming the best-selling album of all time, and still holds that record till today.
The album before "Thriller" was "Off the Wall", which was a commercial success and received much critical praise, selling 20 million copies. "Thriller" contained features similar to its predecessor with a mix of pop, R&B, rock, disco, funk and adult contemporary music genres. The album was recorded around Michael's young adult age, which is when he has consistently stated that he was in a very deep mood of depression and a time of loneliness, stating that "even at home, I'm lonely. I sit in my room sometimes and cry. It's so hard to make friends ... I sometimes walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home."
Wanna Be Starting Something
The first track of the album combines different cultural sounds with upbeat percussion, a mix of brass instruments and lyrics talking about tabloids throughout the six minute piece. The song is tied together with a distinctive African chant which is popularly known today as "mamase mamasa mamakusa", which leads into the second album track.
Baby Be Mine
The second track of the album is a more soulful production with sensual lyrics asking for a girl to be his with a jazzy end once again using brass instruments to his advantage.
The Girl is Mine
The third track of the album and the first collaboration is a duet with iconic Beatles member Paul McCartney as they politely argue over a girl that they like.
The notorious title track is different from the other songs, with mysterious sound effects and spooky synthesizers finishing with a vocal "rap" by famed actor Vincent Price.
This song is highly famous and probably one of the most recognized songs in the world with a deep bass line played by Eddie Van Halen from the popular band Van Halen, guitars, drums, and of course, his signature instrument, the synthesizer.
Like "Beat It", this song is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Michael Jackson. This song uses once again, the synthesizer, a variety of drums and a drum machine.
Although this song brings back the soothing and less intense sound heard back in "The Girl is Mine", the hit single still uses the basic elements of the drum machine, guitar, and synthesizer to match with Michael's falsetto and high pitched vocal ranges.
With the synthesizer and drums being staples in Michael Jackson's music, it's not surprising to see them in this upbeat funk song with a little nice twist; there's a piano added with a bridge by Latoya and Janet and help from chipmunks singing into the fade.
The Lady in My Life
This song is arguably the most soulful and heartfelt ballad on the record with a piano and for a change, the first song with a moderate use of the synthesizer. And it ties meaningful lyrics that close out the album.
- Wanna Be Starting Something
- Baby Be Mine
- The Girl is Mine
- Beat It
- Billie Jean
- Human Nature
- P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
- The Lady in My Life