So you may or may not know that Robyn and I are huge Michael Jackson fans. The King of Pop truly has a special space in our hearts, so in honor of his upcoming birthday we are having an MJ-themed week and I decided it might be cool to rank his albums from least to most favorite.
*Please note that I am only ranking albums after Off The Wall when he officially went solo and before his death. Though Michael and Xscape were both commercially successful albums, I have issues with them which I talked about on BGNO 1.0. (I may post that as a throwback later this week).
**Also note that Robyn frowns upon my rankings but she can just share her own rankings if she wants. So there.
7. Invincible (2001)
Invincible was one of the three Michael Jackson albums that came out while I was alive, and the only one I was old enough to remember coming out. As Robyn loves to point out, I’m pretty young (so you old peeps can cringe/gasp, I was born in 1994), so while I definitely had heard of and listened to his most popular songs (via Number Ones), I feel like this was my true introduction to the King of Pop.
This might be a good time to say that on my comprehensive list of Greatest Albums of All Time, every MJ album is most likely in my top 10-15. So the fact that this is my least favorite of the seven doesn’t really mean much for my actual feelings on Invincible. This is no doubt a great album, but honestly it’s my least favorite mostly because it was the one I listened to the most as a kid. When it came out, my parents (understandably) blasted in the car all the time. As a result, I got tired of it for a while (blaspheme I know). Anyway, I have more favorite songs on the other albums than this one too. My favorites, though, are “You Rock My World” and “Butterflies.”
6. Blood on the Dance Floor (1997)
When I first heard Blood on the Dance Floor, I was sold. I love this album so much, and when I found out how it didn’t do well in the U.S., but was number one everywhere else in the world, it was a clear example of how we really turned our backs on Mike for a while in the States. It’s really a shame, especially because the first 5 songs on this album are amazing. However, it’s low on my list because the last half of the album are just house remixes of old songs. I’ve never really liked remixes because they are never better than the original in my opinion, plus I’m not into house music, so while I love the beginning of this album I don’t really care for the entire thing. My favorite songs are probably “Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Ghosts.”
5. Off the Wall (1979)
Off the Wall is another amazing album, and great as his first official solo album. Though he had a couple of solo albums as a part of the Jackson 5/The Jacksons, this is his real debut as a solo artist. Off the Wall has a great 70s vibe and really shows off MJ’s vibe. Honestly, the only reason this album is so low on the list is because I love the other albums more. One of my favorite songs on Off the Wall is “Working Day and Night”
4. HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1 (1995)
This is beginning of angry Michael. Around this time, MJ was in the tabloids a lot and people were turning their backs on him. Most of this album is him talking about people spreading rumors about him and being cruel to him. I love MJ’s music because there is a really noticeable thread throughout them that reflects his own life so well. While not all of the songs are literally about him and his life, the tone and word choices do reflect his own problems outside of his music. At the same time, he is consistent in his social justice messaging, especially with songs like “Earth Song” and “They Don’t Care About Us.” (He also has a song on here featuring Shaq, which, lol)
3. Bad (1987)
Home to my theme song—because of my initials—Bad quickly became my favorite album after Michael passed away. Though I had listened to plenty of MJ before that, Thriller had really been my album of choice. During the last half of my high school years (2010-2011), I went through a phase where I only listened to Michael Jackson, and this was the album I listened to the most. It’s so hard for me to choose favorite song off of this album because I pretty much love every song equally. One of my favorite memories about this album is when I discovered that the “Bad” music video was actually a film a la “Thriller.” Growing up, I’d assumed it was only the last half of the video (where he is singing and dancing) and never knew that there was a part 1. The entire thing is one of my favorite videos, especially as it continues on showing how MJ can literally win a fight through dance.
2. Dangerous (1991)
Okay, I love this album so much. Sometimes my favorite album alternates between Dangerous and Bad because they are both amazing. They are kind of similar, but I like how Dangerous creates a clear bridge between Bad and HIStory. There are a lot of hard-hitting beats and the topics range from songs more like ones found on Bad to ones more found on HIStory.There are so many great songs on this album, and it demonstrates how Mike has moved so clearly away from the Off the Wall-type album fully into pop. Anyway, again I don’t think I have a favorite song on this album, but I love the “Jam” music video after I realized that there was one last year (which Robyn laughed at me about for forever).
1. Thriller (1982)
Of course this is my favorite album. Usually, in my personal rankings, I don’t even include Thriller because I feel like it goes without saying that this is the greatest album of all time. When I was little, my sister and our friend used to make up dances to songs on this album and then dress up and put on concerts for our parents. “Thriller” scared the crap out of me like it did most kids, and the choreography is one my favorite of all time. Thriller was the first album that really made me love Michael, and is the one with the most memories of growing up, and therefore it will always be at the top of my list.