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Michael Jackson's Dangerous (33 1/3)
Michael Jackson's Dangerous (33 1/3)
by Susan Fast
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.23
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of the 33 1/3 series, September 27, 2014
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Michael Jackson's career is often reduced to his 80s albums in the mainstream media, but I always felt people who refuse to pay attention to his later work are missing out on some of his best work. Dangerous is one of my favourite albums, so I am very happy about this book. Yes, Thriller is great, yes Off The Wall is amazing, but so is Dangerous!

While I always instinctively loved and "felt" this album I was never really analytical about it why, so I was really curious about Susan Fast's take on it. Fast considers Dangerous a concept album. This may come as a surprise, because it's not obvious at first glance. In actuality, when the album was released many critics criticized if for its eclectic styles and (seemingly) eclectic themes, saying it was not coherent. Well, Susan Fast shows that this criticism is very superficial. Yes, there is R&B and there is rock and there is gospel and there is hip-hop on the same album (I always found it fascinating that MJ could do all that and more convincingly), but that does not make it incoherent. In the musical and thematical context of the album and what MJ wanted to express with it it all makes sense.

According to Fast Dangerous is MJ's "coming of age" album which may be another surprise considering he was 33-years-old at the time of its release, but I agree with her on it. By this time he left behind his artistic "father", Quincy Jones and he was the sole captain of his ship. As a result both musically and thematically he went to new territories and he explored landscapes he's never been to before. I think this is the album from which he opens up more about himself. His 80s albums are great but I think if you are curious about MJ the person you will learn about him more from his later work. (Well, perhaps with the exception of one hidden gem, the Jackson's 1978 Destiny album, which has some early examples of MJ's soul-baring. Listen to the lyrics there and you will know what I mean but I digress.)

At the beginning of the book Fast cites a critic who did not like the fact that thematically and musically similar songs are "clustered together" on the album. Fast counters that by saying that this structure is deliberate and it takes us to a journey through the album's concept in which we explore the themes that engaged Jackson at the time.

By the way, it's relatively easy to spot and many people noted that Dangerous is like two albums in one. The first part (track 1-6.) is the New Jack Swing part. (In my view just like Off The Wall took disco on another level so did Dangerous take NJS on another level. Although you can hear the NJS influence on Dangerous - obviously through Teddy Riley's involvement -, but it's a very Jackson-esque version of NJS which to me makes it superior to the generic NJS sound of the era, just like Off The Wall was superior to the typical disco records of the era.) The second part of the album (track 7-13.) is a more classic Jackson sound. The last track Dangerous (track 14.) goes back to New Jack Swing again, putting the album in a frame. Even less analytical listeners could easily realize this structure.

Fast however goes deeper than that and explores these so called "clusters" of songs on the album of which she identifies five:

Noise: Jam, Why You Wanna Trip On Me
Desire: In The Closet, She Drives Me Wild, Remember The Time, Can't Let Her Get Away
Utopia: Heal The World, Black or White
Soul: Who Is It, Give In To Me, Will You Be There, Keep The Faith, (Gone Too Soon)
Coda: Dangerous

Nosie, Desire, Utopia, Soul and Coda are the titles of the chapters in Fast's book.

In "Noise" she discusses the role of non-musical sounds in Jackson's music and in these songs in particular (after all the whole album starts with such a sound - the sound of breaking glass). She also puts it into the cultural context of black music and especially hip-hop and what noises mean in that music and how this influenced Jackson and also what the use of "noise" means in these socially conscious songs, Jam and Why You Wanna Trip On Me.

The cluster "Desire" contains the romantic-erotic segment of the album. In The Closet is Jackson's most erotic song ever and the first time he goes this far in song. His earlier love songs were pretty innocent and "vanilla". Not on Dangerous. These love songs are real, steamy, sweaty. But nothing is ever uncomplicated with him, not even romance, so there are a lot of things to discuss about these songs too, starting with why did he give that title (In The Closet) to a song about a clearly heterosexual relationship? Fast discusses musical structures as well, for example she draws attention to the fact that In The Closet's structure is a Middle Eastern structure, not Western, which I found interesting.

In "Utopia" we get to the start of the second half of the album where we abandon New Jack Swing. The segment starts with Heal The World which got a lot of flak from critics for being saccharine and overly sentimental, but maybe you will appreciate it more when you read Fast's analysis on it (both musical and thematical) and in the context of Jackson's "utopia". Black or White is also a part of Jackson's utopia and the song is discussed with its famous video in mind.

The segment "Soul" in my opinion is the highlight of the album - and Fast shares this view. I always thought that Who Is It was one of the best songs of MJ's entire career. Yes, to me it's up there with Billie Jean, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', you name it. A very typically Jackson-esque song as well. It's a shame that it remained relatively lesser known. The only thing I did not agree with Fast was that she said David Fincher's video did not do justice to the song. I actually love the video and I think it goes well with the song. Then MJ goes rock with Give In To Me and gospel with Will You Be There and Keep The Faith. This sequence of songs truly is the "Soul" of the album and MJ is baring his soul in front of us. Will You Be There is almost prohpetic too.

Then the album goes full circle with the "Coda", Dangerous which musically goes back to NJS again and thematically is one of MJ's femme fatale songs (like Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, Blood on the Dance Floor etc.).

Looking at those clusters it also seems to me that socially conscious and personal clusters alternated: Noise - socially conscious, Desire - personal, Utopia - socially conscious, Soul - personal.

Although in the song Dangerous it is the protagonist female who is Dangerous, but with this album it's MJ himself who became a lot more dangerous than before: more socially conscious, sexier, more outspoken - so the album title is fitting. Did I just say "sexier"? Yes, MJ was sexy to millions of women (and I guess gay men) and Fast spends some time on lamenting the fact that the media always refused to acknowledge that side of him when it's a fact that it's there. It's like the elephant in the room so why would they not acknowledge it? Was his unconventional masculinity too threatening to mainstream norms?

Fast also spends some time analyzing the intriguing cover of the album which is a painting by Mark Ryden (created with MJ's input) with lots of cultural and social references.

I enjoyed the book very much and I think it's a worthy analysis of a great album and a great piece of the 33 1/3 series.


The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson
The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson
by Michael Bush
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.46
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for MJ fans and fantastic read even if you are not so much of a fan, December 29, 2013
When I first heard about this book I wasn't very interested. That's because I'm not really a clothes/fashion person so even though I like Michael Jackson's music and dance, reading about his clothes did not seem that interesting. Then a friend of mine bought it and sang praises about how beautiful this book is. So I decided to order a copy. When it arrived I was immediately impressed and pleasantly surprised. I somehow did not expect it to be this big and it is really beautifully done. Great pictures, quality work.

And now I read it too. It's an absolutely amazing book, one of the best I have ever read about MJ! It made me laugh and (the last chapters) cry. It isn't just about clothes, it's about Michael and his art. After all these clothes are a part of his creative vision, a part of his artistry and legacy in ways I have not really realized and appreciated before reading this book. As we learn from it Michael's clothes weren't thought out by some PR team or a team of designers who decided about what should be his image. No, that's not Michael Jackson! His clothes were mainly based on his own ideas and his creative visions - and then Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush helped to realize them, often adding their own ideas, but it was always MJ who was the driving force behind them.

Michael wanted his clothes to be trademark, yet always wanted to come up with something new, something larger than life, something magical. And he did. Many of his clothes are breathtakingly beautiful, others are funny - as bringing humor and a tongue-in-cheak attitude into it was important for MJ too. He was a true artist in every sense of the word, always creating in every way, and that wasn't just limited to writing music or creating choreographies, but also to creating his trademark and fascinating wardrobe.

From this book we learn about the creative process behind many of the clothes we have seen on Michael over the years. However it isn't just a story of the clothes, but the book also has lots of stories about Michael, it gives an insight into what kind of person he was: driven and creative beyond belief, demanding, sometimes annoying, but also fun and funny and had a golden heart, wonderment and a childlike personality in the most positive sense of the word.

It also tells the story of two very talented craftsmen who became true artists under Michael Jackson's guidance because he always challenged and pushed them to think outside of the box and to be creative. As much as the book is a tribute to Michael Jackson it is also a tribute to Dennis Tomkins (who died in 2011) by Michael Bush.

I think this book is a "must have" for Michael Jackson fans, but it's also a great read if you are not really a fan, but you are interested in clothes and costumes which are unsusual and outside of the general fashion trends or if you are interested in showbusiness and larger than life entertainment and how the creative mind of such a genius of an entertainer ticked. Absolutely stunning book!


Dangerous
Dangerous
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of MJ's best albums, July 30, 2013
This review is from: Dangerous (Audio CD)
Dangerous is one of my favorite Michael Jackson albums along with Off the Wall. Even though they are two very different albums, more than 10 years apart, but they are both excellent. Off the Wall marks the start of Jackson's adult career, but Dangerous is the album where he really becomes an adult.

The album has two main parts. Track 1-6 is the so called "New Jack Swing part". New Jack Swing was a branch of R&B that ruled the early 90s but then was blown away by the much more pessimistic and violent gangsta rap later. But make no mistake, Dangerous is NOT a New Jack Swing album - it's an album with NJS influences and elements, but I would not call it a NJS album. Even though I have seen it being cited as the best selling NJS album of all times. Well, except it's not a NJS album. But the first part of the album is heavily influenced by NJS - and who better to co-write and co-produce that than one of the fathers of NJS, Teddy Riley?

The collaboration resulted in international hits such as Remember The Time, In The Closet and Jam. My favorite of this branch is perhaps In The Closet - a steamy, sexy, brave track -, but Remember The Time is close too. Jam sounds like a fun dance track on the surface, but pay attention to the lyrics! I also adore She Drives Me Wild. It took me time to really get this song - for a long time it was one of my least favorites on the album, but recently it became one of my favorites. I guess I just love the way MJ is talking about his girl on this track. My least favorite track on the album is also in the NJS part - Can't Let Her Get Away. I often skip this one.

The second part of the album, track 7-13, is more a classic MJ sound. Here we have gems like Who Is It, which I seriously consider one of Michael's best songs EVER! In my book it's up there with Billie Jean, even if it's less of a dance song. I love its richness, the whole structure and composition, the passion, the darkness of it, the beatbox - I just LOVE everything about that song.

Since Beat It Jackson made sure to include a rock song on every album (Beat It on Thriller, Dirty Diana on Bad). Dangerous' rock song is Give In to Me, featuring Slash on guitar. I love Beat It and its video, I also love Dirty Diana, but to me Give in To Me is arguably MJ's best rock song. I just love the emotions expressed in Michael's vocal delivery.

There are also two gospel songs on the album: Will You Be There and Keep The Faith. The former was the bigger hit (well Keep The Faith was not released as a single). I love both. So much soul, emotion and passion in MJ's delivery! The poem at the end of Will You Be There is kind of prophetic, considering MJ's later life.

Then there is Black or White, which was the albums lead single and biggest hit. I do not think it's one of the albums strongest songs, but it was a popular song, so it definitely has its place on the album. Gone Too Soon is an emotional song about Ryan White's passing. Heal The World is often scorned as cheesy and I can understand that, it's not one of the best songs on the album, but the reason why I can accept such songs from MJ is because he clearly meant them. The song's message, as optimistic (or corny, cheesy according to the cynics in us) as it is, was a part of MJ, so while it's not one of his greatest songs I'm not bothered by having it on the album.

The last track on the album is the title track, Dangerous, which kind of summerizes the two main parts before it. Teddy Riley returns on this track as a co-writer, co-producer, but Bill Bottrell (who co-produced several songs of the second part) appears as a co-writer as well. So this song kind of unifies both big parts. I think this song should have definitely been a single. Too bad it wasn't.

Overall the album is full of hits, very versatile musically and lyrically as well. It never gets boring and more than 20 years on it's still one of my favorite albums.


Jackson, Michael - Moscow Case 1993: When The King Of Pop Met The Soviets
Jackson, Michael - Moscow Case 1993: When The King Of Pop Met The Soviets
DVD ~ Michael Jackson
Price: $8.99
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As much about Russia'93 as about Michael Jackson, July 16, 2013
This is a Russian documentary (dubbed in English) about Michael Jacksons concert in Moscow in 1993 and the surrounding events. I actually first watched it online and I found it so fascinating that I bought it. I don't think it's everyone's cup of tea, but I like the fact it's not your usual pop/rock documentary. It's at least as much about Russia'93 as about Michael Jackson. It's more about West meets East than about anything else. I too grew up in an Eastern Block country, so maybe that's why I'm so fascinated with this aspect.

The documentary itself is pretty simple - basically Russian people (organizers, journalists, Russian pop stars, fans) talking about Jackson's 1993 visit, concert and the surrounding events. There is also some footage of Michael from that visit, but not very much. Also the documentary doesn't have Jackson's music in it - obviously because of legal reasons. It's not an official MJ release.

1993 was a time of big political, economical changes in poor and depressed Russia. This was around the time when the former Communist country started to open up for Western culture. Michael Jackson was a kind of mythical figure from that point of view, an almost surreal being. There was a certain kind of wonderment with that Russian people looked at him.

The concert itself was doomed from the very beginning for many reasons:

1) Russia was a very poor country at the time and there simply weren't many people who could afford buying tickets. It's said in the film that the cheapest ticket cost a full monthly salary of a person. Reflective of the poverty is also the fact that when soliders helped with the building of the stage, they did that just for food and cigarettes.

2) The concert was organized by basically amateurs. At the time there weren't yet professional concert promoters in Russia. They were just learing Western style concert promotion. They did not even know how to welcome a big superstar, how to behave with him etc.

3) There were certain forces (rivaling Russian "promoters", maybe certain political circles) which tried to sabotage the show. This included spreading rumours that the concert would be cancelled - actually this "news" even was published in Russia's most read newspaper at the time, but it was completely false -, or that it's not Jackson himself, but an impersonator who would perform. There were even attempts to artificially provoke rain for the time of the concert (ie. cloud seeding).

4) Whether it's because of that or not, but it eventually DID heavily rain during the concert. The organizers did not want to disappoint Jackson that they could not fill the stadium, so at the end they gave away tickets for free to the army. So most of the audience was made of soliders.

The organizers were worried that Jackson would cancel the show under those circumstances but he did not. Despite of the circumstances and the rain, the slippery stage and everything he did perform the show. But I guess if Jackson was a surreal figure to Russians at the time, Russia must have been just as surreal to him.

The highlight of the documentary to me was Michael's visit at an orphanage for handicapped children. That footage is a treasure. On the down side I have to mention one of the talking heads in the documentary called Art Trotsky. He is described as a "music guru" whatever that means. His commentary is just judgemental and narrow-minded and most of the time absolutely unnecessary and it doesn't add anything to the narrative of the story. For example, who cares that Trotsky thinks that Jackson died as a virgin? Or who cares about Trotsky's amateur psycho-analysis of Jackson? The guy was so full of himself, he was really annoying. Trotsky's comments are basically why I could not give 5 stars to this docu, despite of the fact I liked most of the film.


Michael Jackson: The Seven Secrets of His Success
Michael Jackson: The Seven Secrets of His Success
Price: $9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A guide to superstardom, June 2, 2013
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This book can be viewed as a "guide to superstardom" using the example of Michael Jackson. The author identifies seven "secrets" of Michael Jackson's success and each secret got a chapter in which he goes into deeper analysis of those issues.

So the book's chapters are:

- Preface
- Introduction
- Secret One: Magic Iconic Imagery
- Secret Two: Analyze, Extract, Reinvent
- Secret Three: Goal Setting - Wishing -Believing
- Secret Four: Abandon to the Creative Powers - Discover, don't create
- Secret Five: The Work Ethic of a Perfectionist
- Secret Six: Rise above the hate
- Secret Seven: Mistique and Metamorphosis
- Final thought
- References

Of course, no guide can make you a superstar without talent and your own creativity (be inspired but not a copy-cat!), but studying The Greats and aspiring to be one of them or greater was one thing that Jackson himself professed. He was very conscious about building himself up and I think everyone who wishes to follow him needs to be just as conscious.

It was a good read I can recommend it to both Jackson fans and to those who have talent and are just about to study the Greats before them.


Get It Together
Get It Together
Price: $5.89
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most underrated J5 albums, May 6, 2013
This review is from: Get It Together (Audio CD)
The album was released at a time when the group was in a decline as they grew and started to lose their child "cuteness". Also times changed in the music industry and bubble gum soul didn't sell that well any more, while the funk/disco era kicked in. So this album is the group's first attempt to go into that new direction. And actually it's a very good attempt.

The Jackson brothers were still under the Motown label, so the songs were still written by Motown songwriters and the brothers still did not have creative control, but there are some gems there.

There's some "experimental" stuff, such as Hum Along and Dance and Mama I Gotta Brand New Thing Don't Say No, but I can understand if some people feel these tracks are too long (more than 8 and 7 minutes long respectively).

My favoite songs on the album are: Get It Together, Dancing Machine, You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You) and It's Too Late to Change the Time. Dancing Machine is of course a classic and it was first released on this album, although it was the remix version that was released a year later on the Dancing Machine album that went #2 on the Billboard Pop Charts.

Michael was 15 years old at the time of this album and I love his vocals on this album. He doesn't have his small kid voice any more but it's not yet his fully adult voice. But it already has that MJ-like smoothness and warmth in it that he had as an adult. (I personally prefer this voice to his voice on earlier Jackson 5 albums.)


I'm Ready
I'm Ready
Price: $12.53
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5.0 out of 5 stars The boy with the Golden Voice, April 22, 2013
This review is from: I'm Ready (Audio CD)
This might sound like a hyperbole, but I think Tevin Campbell was/is one of the most brilliant singing talents of popular music history. He was discovered by Quincy Jones at the end of the 80s and Jones also co-produced Tevin's first solo album T.E.V.I.N in 1991. I'm Ready is Tevin's second studio album, which was released in 1993. Tevin was about 16-17 years-old when this album was recorded and his vocals were absolutely amazing! And his live performances that you can find on YouTube show that it wasn't just because of studio tricks. He had phenomenanl vocal control, a great range - he simply was/is a fantastic singer.

But this album isn't only worth owning because of Tevin's vocal talents. The songs are great too. Well, you can't go wrong if your album is written and produced by people like Babyface and Prince(among others), can you?

My favorite tracks on this album are Can We Talk and Paris 1798430.

Can We Talk was one of the album's biggest hits: it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts. It was written by Babyface and Daryl Simmons. And it's still Tevin's signature song that people STILL sing along with him wherever he performs (yes, he still sings).

Paris 1798430 was not a single, but it's my other favorite song of the album. It's such a funky uptempo song. Prince wrote and produced it, and you can tell it, since the sound is so typical of him. He also sings background vocal on this track. There are three other songs written and produced by Prince on this album: The Halls of Desire, Uncle Sam and Shhh. They all sound like typical Prince songs, but spiced up with Tevin's great vocals. One can also put it this way: all the uptempo songs of the album are Prince songs (Halls of Desire, Uncle Sam, Paris 1798430).

Besides Can We Talk the album also contains Tevin's other big hit, I'm Ready (written by Babyface).

Tevin still sings and based on his performances that I saw on YouTube I think he still has it (even though, naturally, his voice changed somewhat since being 16). I hope he can make a comeback. He has more talent than most people on the charts these days.


The Jacksons Live
The Jacksons Live
32 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more attention!, April 17, 2013
This review is from: The Jacksons Live (Audio CD)
A couple of weeks ago I saw a video in which the famous movie director Quentin Tarantino was asked about the music that he had on his iPod. Much to my (pleasant) surprise he said this album and then he went on to talk about it enthusiastically. My surprise came from the fact that not many people know this album. Which is a crying shame because it deserves more attention and praise.

And it's the only Jacksons concert album officially released (I'm talking about The Jacksons, not the Jackson 5). It was recorded in the fall of 1981 on the Jacksons' Triumph Tour. It features songs from the Jacksons' Triumph and Destiny albums, and also from Michael's first solo album as an adult, Off The Wall. Plus the inevitable Jackson 5 Medley, for old times' sake.

Michael sings lead vocals on all songs and he is in absolutely top form vocally. I especially love his performances on ballads, such as I'll Be There, Ben and She's Out of My Life. I love the band on this tour as well.

Michael Jackson fans for years begged for a release of a concert CD by Michael, which was finally heard when in 2012 a live CD of the 1988 leg of Michael's Bad World Tour was released (as a part of the Bad 25 boxset though - not as a CD that one can buy seperately). I love that too, but this isn't any worse (I'm tempted to say the band is actually better on this one). It complements the Bad Tour CD very well, because here a different set of songs is performed - with focus on Off The Wall era material (including the two Jacksons album mentioned), while the Bad Tour set list focuses, of course, mainly on the Bad and Thriller albums.

So I wish more people would discover this gem. Another secret wish of mine regarding this material is that someone would find film reels for a Triumph Tour concert and it would get a release on DVD/Blue-Ray!


The Jacksons Live
The Jacksons Live
Price: $5.89
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more attention!, April 17, 2013
This review is from: The Jacksons Live (Audio CD)
A couple of weeks ago I saw a video in which the famous movie director Quentin Tarantino was asked about the music that he had on his iPod. Much to my (pleasant) surprise he said this album and then he went on to talk about it enthusiastically. My surprise came from the fact that not many people know this album. Which is a crying shame because it deserves more attention and praise.

And it's the only Jacksons concert album officially released (I'm talking about The Jacksons, not the Jackson 5). It was recorded in the fall of 1981 on the Jacksons' Triumph Tour. It features songs from the Jacksons' Triumph and Destiny albums, and also from Michael's first solo album as an adult, Off The Wall. Plus the inevitable Jackson 5 Medley, for old times' sake.

Michael sings lead vocals on all songs and he is in absolutely top form vocally. I especially love his performances on ballads, such as I'll Be There, Ben and She's Out of My Life. I love the band on this tour as well.

Michael Jackson fans for years begged for a release of a concert CD by Michael, which was finally heard when in 2012 a live CD of the 1988 leg of Michael's Bad World Tour was released (as a part of the Bad 25 boxset though - not as a CD that one can buy seperately). I love that too, but this isn't any worse (I'm tempted to say the band is actually better on this one). It complements the Bad Tour CD very well, because here a different set of songs is performed - with focus on Off The Wall era material (including the two Jacksons album mentioned), while the Bad Tour set list focuses, of course, mainly on the Bad and Thriller albums.

So I wish more people would discover this gem. Another secret wish of mine regarding this material is that someone would find film reels for a Triumph Tour concert and it would get a release on DVD/Blue-Ray!


channel ORANGE
channel ORANGE
Price: $10.48
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, April 12, 2013
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
Is it a good album? Yes. Is it great? No. And definitely not as great as the hype is. I have read people describe it as "an instant classic" or an album that would revolutionize R&B. I have seen Frank Ocean being compared to Prince. But all of that is a hyperbole. A good album to chill out to, with some interesting musical moments and lyrics, with some hope for more from this artist in the future, but nothing more.

My favorite song from the album is Pink Matter. It's strong musically, as well as lyrically. I also like Sweet Life. Super Rich Kids, Pyramids (though the album version is not the best version of the song I have heard), Lost and Bad Religion are okay songs too. The rest of the album however gets kind of repetitive and - as a result - the album gets boring by the end.

Maybe the songs would sound better if Ocean was a better singer or if other artists performed them. Unfortunately Ocean is not really a good vocalist, he sings in a quite monotonous tone throughout the whole album, rarely being able to convey different emotions through his vocals - which makes the whole album sound monotonous.

I also found the intro and interludes and outro quite unnecessary. Yeah, you can skip them, but it's annoying you have to.

I have seen people claim Ocean is a lyrical genius. Calling him a genius (as of yet) is another exaggeration, but are his lyrics strong and deep? Well, they are deeper than your average pop/R&B song that you see on the charts these days. His themes are definitely very interesting and even unique at times. I have seen flashes of brilliance on this album - such as Pink Matter -, but at other times I felt cheated. I felt we are supposed to take ramblings as "deep lyrics". I just haven't seen the "deepness" in them.

Despite of the fact the album did not live up to the hype to me and despite of the above mentioned flaws, I gave it four stars. It's a solid debut album after all, not bad at all. Ocean is definitely a breath of fresh in today's R&B. But I can't help thinking there is a bit of overhype about this album.


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