Michael Jackson, Dangerous

Jim Farber

By Jim Farber

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Michael Jackson

Jackson made one truly dangerous move on this album: He broke with collaborator Quincy Jones to hook up with “new jack swing” producer-of-that moment Teddy Riley. No wonder many sounds on the CD seem stuck in their time — especially those on the percussive end, including the ’90s slapping rhythm of “Why You Wanna Trip On Me,” or the hollow, popping beat of “In The Closet.” What saves the albums are the melodic hooks in its more fluid tracks. “Remember The Time” has the swank of the hits off “Wall,” along with a bass line that demands movement.

Unfortunately, by this time in Jackson's career we have to deal with too many songs about saving humanity (“Jam,” “Planet Earth” or “Heal The World”), not to mention a racial harmony number (“Black And White”) so over-stated, even the subtext of Jackson's own crossover career can't lend it nuance. Worse still is the tear-jerker “Gone Too Soon” which, if played at a funeral, would more likely inspire eye-rolls than tears.

Even with some of the album being unlistenable, Dangerous shows Jackson's continued brio as a singer, not to mention his power as a rhythmic force — one that deserves better than Riley's gimmicky beats.