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on November 21, 2006
George Michael celebrates 25 years in the industry with the release of greatest hits compilation "Twenty Five", a two or three-CD package that takes in everything from Wham! hits to the "Faith " era and his most recent material (depending on how long you want to spend with him).

No matter what you might think of him in terms of his media depiction, George Michael remains one of the most successful and prolific artists of our generation, and an iconic music industry figure since the 1980s.

He has been a solo star for over 20 years, during which time he has achieved international success and sold over 85 million albums worldwide. There have also been six US No.1 singles, 11 British No.1s and the title of "most played artist on British radio" in the past 20 years.

Of the two formats of "Twenty Five", the 3CD version is arguably the most rewarding, given that the third CD features some rarer tracks, the occasional cover and a solid version of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?" that was recorded as part of Pavarotti and friends. It's mostly for the die-hard fans but succeeds in showcasing a side to George Michael that isn't always featured on the radio.

The remaining two CDs are packed with some fairly obvious choices - the best of which pick themselves. For the shamelessly nostalgic, there's the cheesy Wham! hits "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", which has to be filed under 'so bad, it's fun' and the equally shameless "Freedom" (which those of a certain generation will probably remember singing or bopping along to).

"Last Christmas" and "Careless Whispe"r also feature (as they do at countless wedding ceremonies).

Early solo material such as the breezy pop classic "Faith" still sound fresh today and retain a timeless quality. "Faith", in particular, is arguably one of George Michael's finest creations and is similar in feel-good value to U2's "Desire" or OutKast's more recent "Hey Ya" - ie, no matter how many times you hear it, you'll still feel like dancing.

The deeper and more sombre style of George Michael is best exemplified in heartfelt songs such as "Father Figure" and J"esus To A Child", while there's a brilliant reworking of "Heal The Pain" which is performed with Paul McCartney (and never has a song title seemed so appropriate!).

And efforts like "Too Funky" and "Freeek" capably show how the artist has consistently been able to mix the ballads with funkier offerings that ensure he retains a place on the dancefloor.

But not everything George Michael has done - or still does - reaches such high standards. In fact, some tracks are downright grating. Whether it's over-earnest and even drippy ballads such as "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (with Elton John) or new track "This Is Not Real Love", a wretched, ponderous duet with ex-Sugababe Mutya Buena, they seem to be striving a little too hard to pull at your emotions.

On the other side of the coin, "Flawless" is a fairly non-descript pop offering that is bland in the same way that so many chart hits are - it feels like a desperate attempt to appeal to younger listeners that marked a lowpoint in his career.

That said, there's still plenty to appeal to his diehard fanbase, or even more recent fans, on "Twenty Five", making this career retrospective a fascinating journey that serves to show why George Michael has remained at the top of his profession for so long.
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on January 6, 2007
Between George Michael's last greatest hits collection and this collection, he only released 2 albums, "Songs From The Last Century" and "Patience." To celebrate 25 years of his career including his Wham! days, this collection includes some Wham! tracks.

If you have all George Michael's past releases like me, new tracks you will hear are:
An Easier Affair (released as a single earlier)
This Is Not Real Love (also released as a single)
Understand
Heal The Pain (re-recorded with Paul McCartney)
Brother Can You Spare a Dime (Live performance)

Unfortunately, these new tracks are rather bland and forgettable. It's as if he ran out of creative juice, lyrics are way too simple.
Duet with Paul McCartney absolutely butchered this beautiful song which showcased how delicate and beautiful George's voice is.
Brother Can you Spare a Dime was actually breathtaking. Arrangement was almost identical as the track on "Songs From...," but it shows that he is an amazing live performer.

Now to the confusing part...
Not a single song from Wham! first album, "Fantastic" is featured in this collection. Why???
Some of Wham! signature tracks are missing in my humble opinion. Songs that should've been included from Wham! are: "Wham! Rap," "Young Guns" and "I'm Your Man."
Even more confusing, some major hit singles (at least in the US) are missing in here. "I Want Your Sex," "Monkey," and "Kissing a Fool" from mega hit album, "Faith." Plus other important tracks like "I Knew You Were Waiting," "Waiting For That Day," "Cowboys and Angels," and "Star People 97" are missing...

An additional disc named "For The Loyal" was even more frustrating.
7 out of 15 tracks are from "Patience." 3 tracks from "Songs From..."
I think this collection could've been much much better. I mean any song other than "American Angel" would be a good choice.

I described "Ladies and Gentlemen" as a good George Michael sampler. "Twentyfive" hardly qualifies as one. In fact, I feel that "Ladies and Gentlemen" is much more cohesive than this collection.
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The past couple of years have been a bit difficult on George Michael. With problems with substance abuse, and invasions of his personal life, it has been one difficult ride from the fallen star. Though his career has fizzled in America the past several years, his music has recently taken a turn with the success of the ABC show Eli Stone. With his songs like Faith being shown and showcased on the show, his voice has been introduced slowly but surely to a whole new generation. Even though he still hasn't made it big in America, he still has shown it by being a status symbol all throughout Europe. But last year, he celebrated his 25th anniversary of being a recording icon, and has shown it on a new greatest hits album for American audiences. But, is this something worth having Faith with?

Twenty Five, the 2006 greatest hits album from George Michael which was widely released overseas, has finally made its 2008 American debut for listeners. The collection though focuses on his mainly his overseas success, and not as much on his status with American hard core fans. The collection falls similar to George's 1998 hits album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael, as a double-album of his classics, one being of his top dance songs, the other by being about his somber but classic ballads. The collection throws in a few surprises, one of them bringing in more of his mainstream hits during his era as a part of Wham! during the 80's with classics like Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!, Last Christmas and the somber Careless Whisper. The collection also includes his classics from both sides of the Atlantic, including his mainstream radio standards like Freedom '90, the deep and delicate Jesus To A Child, as well as the #1 smashes Father Figure, Faith and Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me with Elton John. The collection also highlights a few new tracks here including a cover of the Stevie Wonder classic As with Mary J. Blige, which has made its official U.S. debut after being a hit overseas 10 years ago, as well as the delicate and intimate This Is Not Real Love, and a collaboration of his song Heal The Pain with Paul McCartney. While the album highlights in his new songs as well as some fan favorites the album does overlook a few of George's great #1 hits from his 80's era like the provocative I Want Your Sex, Monkey and his classic I Knew You Were Waiting For Me with the legendary Aretha Franklin.

While Twenty Five isn't as definitive as Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael, it still is a decent buy for hard core fans of George throughout the years who still enjoy his melodies, and works nicely as a sample for anyone who doesn't at all own any George Michael album to date. While there have been so many greatest hits albums that haven't worked that well the past few years, Twenty Five by George Michael is a good addition to your album collection, and that is something is is of a decent value from a father figure.

Album Cover: B

Songs: B-

Price: B-

Remastering: B+

Overall: B 1/2-
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on January 12, 2007
Note: This review is based on the UK release of "Twenty Five."

I'm a HUGE fan of George Michael and although his albums of late have been a bit lackluster, this "Best of" album is worth a listen. "Twenty Five" represents his entire carrer - from his days as the better half of WHAM!, to the colorful events of a few years ago, to his most recent musical contributions. The songs he's chosen are pretty much what you'd expect with a couple of notable omissions.

The following are all of the (major) albums George has made to date, with the tracks used on "Twenty Five" listed below. (Tracks with a - are on both the Standard and Deluxe releases while those with a * are on the Deluxe release only):

"Fantastic" (WHAM!):

(nothing)

"Make it Big!" (WHAM!):

-Everything She Wants

-Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

-Freedom

-Careless Whisper

*If You Were There

"Music From the Edge of Heaven" (WHAM!):

-A Different Corner

-Last Christmas

"Faith:"

-Faith

-Father Figure

-One More Try

"Listen Without Prejudice:"

-Freedom '90

-Praying for Time

"Five Live" (live Freddie Mercury tribute):

(nothing)

"Older:"

-Fastlove

-Spinning the Wheel

-Jesus to a Child

-Older

-You Have Been Loved

"Ladies and Gentlemen:"

-Too Funky

-Outside

-As (not on the US release of Ladies and Gentlemen)

-Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with Elton John)

*Fantasy (not on the US release of Ladies and Gentlemen)

"Songs From the Last Century:"

*Roxeanne

*My Baby Just Cares for Me

"Patience:"

-Freeek

-Shoot the Dog (not on the US release of Patience)

-Amazing

-Flawless (Go to the City)

-Round Here

-John and Elvis Are Dead

*Precious Box

*Cars and Trains

*Patience

*My Mother Had a Brother

*American Angel

*Please Send Me Someone to Love

*Through

New Tracks:

-An Easier Affair

-Heal the Pain (duet with Paul McCartney)

-This is Not Real Love (with Mutya)

*Understand

*You Know That I Want to

*Safe

*Brother Can You Spare a Dime? (live)

There are several tracks that should be here but aren't: From "Faith," I'd include 'I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2),' 'Monkey,' and 'Kissing a Fool.' 'The Strangest Thing' and 'Star People' from "Older" should also have been included. And 'I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)' is my favorite duet George has performed (with Aretha Franklin).

BUT WHAT YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT is the new stuff, right? Well, as I said in the opening, I feel George's recent music isn't as good as his older compositions. This generally holds true for the new tracks on "Twenty Five." The one exception is "An Easier Affair." It'll get you dancing and smiling but feels like a genuinely new direction for his music. It's fantastic. The rest of the new tracks are needlessly re-hashed songs or so-so new compositions.

Another thing you'll likely be curious about is the Standard VS. Deluxe versions of this album. In my opinion, the Deluxe version is not substantially better than the Standard. The third exclusive disc is mostly made up of tracks from 'Patience' although it does have some (so-so) new songs. You'll probably have to listen for yourself, but I was not especially impressed.

Conclusion: A few of the track selections (and omissions) on this album are unfortunate, but an amazing career provides some of the great pop music. This "Best of" album even delivers a new classic tune. Pick it up and if you haven't, explore George's "Faith" and "Older" albums.
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on December 25, 2006
There isn't much to write about this comprehensive George Michael retrospective 3 disc set except that fans and even non fans alike will be happy and surprised at the wealth of talent on display throughout this collection. The 3 new songs are all beautiful and as usual show George to be a master singer/songwriter and PHENOMENAL producer. My only gripes are these 1. Where's "I want your sex"??? How can he have a 3 disc greatest hits without the song that started his solo career off with such a bang and knocked the censorship board, Mtv and every mom in the world outta their seats? 2. The remake of "Heal the pain" with Sir Paul McCartney just ruined the song. Sorry. This just doesn't cut it. The original is a masterpiece and one of my all time fave GM songs but Paul's voice just sounds old and shaky next to George's fine tuned instrument. No disrespect meant but there's no comparison.(Have you heard George sing "The long and winding road"? Again he shows Paul how to deliver a truly moving vocal on a magnificent song. Better than the original. Doubt me? Go watch it on Youtube and see and hear it for yourself.)3. Where's the George/Whitney Houston duet "If I told you that"? and 4. Where's the WHAM song BAD BOYS??? C'Mon!!! That was the 1st song I ever heard from them. Otherwise, this is 3 discs of pure heaven for George Michael fans and fans to be. Covering not only all his singles (except "sex") but some fantastic album cuts (Precious box, Round here, Please send me someone and My mother had a brother) that the casual listener would never hear. Everything's been remastered and sounds great, so do yourself a favor and get the 3 disc version. It's well worth the few extra bucks.
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on June 7, 2008
The title marks George's 25 years in the music business. But it is worth noting that, for the last 20 of those years he has, quite ingeniously, remained at the top of the tree while maintaining the workrate of an arthritic tortoise - just five new studio albums, and one of those was a covers collection.

OK, his disenchantment with the music industry is well known, but even diehard fans must be a bit miffed that the record release which coincides with his world tour is not a new collection of songs, but another retrospective.

It is only eight years since the "Ladies And Gentlemen : best of" with which Twenty Five's track listing overlaps considerably.

No amount of cunning packaging - such as dividing the collection into themed sections with the twee titles "For Living", "For Loving" and, on the triple CD version, "For The Loyal" - can disguise the fact that fans will be buying some songs for the second, maybe third time.

OK, that's the "buyer beware" message.

"Twenty Five" offers a handful of inessential new cuts (the likes of "Heal The Pain" with Paul McCartney, "This Is Not Real Love" with Mutya . . . yawn) but it is also a reminder of the gobsmacking range of Michael's work.

That means everything from the gorgeous, saccharine-tinged glory of "Careless Whisper" to the most cack-handed protest song ever in "Shoot The Dog".

It's a journey from the shuttlecock-down-the-shorts frippery of Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" to the big band crooning of "My Baby just Cares For Me", from brilliant throwaway pop like "Faith" to songs of disarming autobiographical honesty like "My Mother Had A Brother".

George is a pop everyman capable of the sublime (the cover of Stevie Wonder's "As" with Mary J Blige) and the ridiculous (the afore-mentioned "Shoot The Dog").

Pity he's not capable of upping the work rate.

Real Girl
TwentyFive
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on July 24, 2013
I ordered this CD because I have always been a big fan of George Michael. His voice is heavenly and very beautiful. I put on my music and I danced and exercised for 1 1/2 hours. I felt great! I am 49 years old and my whole body just a good workout. I love is oldies and new songs too. One of my favorite is "An Easier Affair". Its one of the reasons I bought it. The songs from the past still can get me up and moving. It was a good choice and worth the money. I got it used but it is in good condition. Delivery was fast. I am glad I got it. You won't be disappointed.
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on January 12, 2007
Note: This review is based on the UK release of "Twenty Five."

I'm a HUGE fan of George Michael and although his albums of late have been a bit lackluster, this "Best of" album is worth a listen. "Twenty Five" represents his entire carrer - from his days as the better half of WHAM!, to the colorful events of a few years ago, to his most recent musical contributions. The songs he's chosen are pretty much what you'd expect with a couple of notable omissions.

The following are all of the (major) albums George has made to date, with the tracks used on "Twenty Five" listed below. (Tracks with a - are on both the Standard and Deluxe releases while those with a * are on the Deluxe release only):

"Fantastic" (WHAM!):

(nothing)

"Make it Big!" (WHAM!):

-Everything She Wants

-Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

-Freedom

-Careless Whisper

*If You Were There

"Music From the Edge of Heaven" (WHAM!):

-A Different Corner

-Last Christmas

"Faith:"

-Faith

-Father Figure

-One More Try

"Listen Without Prejudice:"

-Freedom '90

-Praying for Time

"Five Live" (live Freddie Mercury tribute):

(nothing)

"Older:"

-Fastlove

-Spinning the Wheel

-Jesus to a Child

-Older

-You Have Been Loved

"Ladies and Gentlemen:"

-Too Funky

-Outside

-As (not on the US release of Ladies and Gentlemen)

-Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with Elton John)

*Fantasy (not on the US release of Ladies and Gentlemen)

"Songs From the Last Century:"

*Roxeanne

*My Baby Just Cares for Me

"Patience:"

-Freeek

-Shoot the Dog (not on the US release of Patience)

-Amazing

-Flawless (Go to the City)

-Round Here

-John and Elvis Are Dead

*Precious Box

*Cars and Trains

*Patience

*My Mother Had a Brother

*American Angel

*Please Send Me Someone to Love

*Through

New Tracks:

-An Easier Affair

-Heal the Pain (duet with Paul McCartney)

-This is Not Real Love (with Mutya)

*Understand

*You Know That I Want to

*Safe

*Brother Can You Spare a Dime? (live)

There are several tracks that should be here but aren't: From "Faith," I'd include 'I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2),' 'Monkey,' and 'Kissing a Fool.' 'The Strangest Thing' and 'Star People' from "Older" should also have been included. And 'I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)' is my favorite duet George has performed (with Aretha Franklin).

BUT WHAT YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT is the new stuff, right? Well, as I said in the opening, I feel George's recent music isn't as good as his older compositions. This generally holds true for the new tracks on "Twenty Five." The one exception is "An Easier Affair." It'll get you dancing and smiling but feels like a genuinely new direction for his music. It's fantastic. The rest of the new tracks are needlessly re-hashed songs or so-so new compositions.

Another thing you'll likely be curious about is the Standard VS. Deluxe versions of this album. In my opinion, the Deluxe version is not substantially better than the Standard. The third exclusive disc is mostly made up of tracks from 'Patience' although it does have some (so-so) new songs. You'll probably have to listen for yourself, but I was not especially impressed.

Conclusion: A few of the track selections (and omissions) on this album are unfortunate, but an amazing career provides some of the great pop music. This "Best of" album even delivers a new classic tune. Pick it up and if you haven't, explore George's "Faith" and "Older" albums.
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on April 6, 2008
This is kind of a lame release, simply because it's so similar to his earlier Greatest Hits album and because it has some fairly glaring omissions and some similarly strange inclusions, and his limited back catalog doesn't exactly warrant the need for TWO separate Greatest Hits releases, but you can't really argue the fact that these are amazing songs.

My one real problem with the collection is the Re-Mastering on songs like "Heal the Pain" (one of my personal favorites) where they felt the need to re-record the vocal track, and he didn't even try to sing it with the same tone or inflections, plus his voice sounds considerably older now, which means it now sounds like an entirely different song altogether - and not nearly as good. Maybe there was a problem with the original vocal track when it came time to Re-Master? I'm not sure, but I'd rather have the old analog version with less than perfect audio than this beastly recreation.

Other than that, it's a pretty great record from start to finish.
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on December 2, 2006
When an artist releases a 'best of' it's normally signalling the beginning of the end of a (succesfull) career. Not for this sometimes controversial, but always non-conformalist artist. Having said that, I'm a bit confused why George Michael released an album that for two thirds consists of previously released material, when the new songs warrant an album of their own! But I guess that's what signing a contract with a record company does for you...

Generally, I need some time to warm to George Michaels new songs when I hear them for the first time (I remember hearing 'Faith' for the first time thinking "what the..."). Adding to that, the new material is pretty self evident and, let's say... private? George Michael is finally in tune with his sexuality and not afraid to make it a subject of mostly every new song. Though that takes some getting used to from a heterosexual point of view, the stories are genuine and lovingly sung - something to be applauded from wherever point of view you look at it.

Again, George Michael surprises with me with songs that I can't seem to stop playing over and over (particularly the new ones). The music transcends itself combined with the fantastic voice of George Michael. About that voice... It always amazes me how well it combines with uptune disco songs like 'Too Funky' or 'Freek' as well as more sedate tunes like the unique jazzy cover of 'Roxanne' or new material like 'My mother had a brother'.

I find it really wonderful experiencing George Michael releasing this kind of timeless music. And if necessary, don't mind waiting a couple of years for his next album.
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