I'll try and make this a little more concise this time (for more expanded info go to my Bad review http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?albumid=7483).
After releasing the disco classic Off The Wall in 1979, Jackson released his second album as an adult solo artist- Thriller which went to be the biggest selling album ever. He followed this with Bad in 1987 which was also very popular though not on the same scale as Thriller. After touring for the next two years, Jackson finally released the highly anticipated Dangerous in Novembaer 1991. Jackson had parted ways with Quincy Jones, his producer for the first 3 albums, and this time took on most of the producing responsibilities himself along with Teddy Riley. Teddy Riley (of the group Guy and later Blackstreet) is responsible for fusing R'n'B and Hip-Hop to form New Jack Swing music (a forerunner for most of the modern R'n'B music in the charts today). Riley also co-wrote most of the first 6 tracks with Jackson for Dangerous. Dangerous would be Jacksons most ambitious album to date after playing it rather safe with Bad.
1. Jam- Nice way to kick off the album and very much an indicator of whats to come in the other New Jack Swing style songs on the album. After a rather long build up Jackson lauches into some socially concerned lyrics about the ills of society 'I asked my neighbour for a favour she said later' etc. Jackson comes to the conclusion that we should shoul just Jam together as the thunderous chorus kicks in. This is an obvious change in style for Jackson with a less melodic verse and more hushed vocals and it works- 5/5
2. Why You Want To Trip On Me- Quite a similar song to Jam, Jackson this time discusses all the worlds problems and then asks 'so why you wanna trip on me?' in a suberb chorus that really breaks up the very discordant guitar beats of the verses. Whilst this isn't quite as strong as Jam, it is none the less a very good song- 4.2/5
3. In The Closet- Another new jack swing style song (in fact the first 6 tracks and final track are all this style) and for me at least the format gets a little tiring. This was one of the albums many singles though and is quite a popular song with the fans. The verses have an interesting beat made up of Jacksons own vocal humming and then some sensual lyrics over the top. The chorus, however, is decent enough and I give credit for Jackson doing something different. Not one of my favourites but you may like it more- 3.8/5
4. She Drives Me Wild- This is one of the two songs on the album that probably should have been cut (along with track 6). Its not a bad song at all though, in fact I've grown to quite like it. Its just not as strong as almost everything else on the album but theres nothing too dislikable about it either- 3.5/5
5. Remember The Time- One of the albums biggest hits and most famous songs from Dangerous, Remember The Time is probably the most sucessful new jack swing song on the album. Its basically quite a sweet song about a love affair in the past and doesn't have any real faults to it- 5/5
6. I Can't Let Her Get Away- This is the weakest song on the album and is just a very average, mediocre song. There are some decent hooks but it just is one step too far with the new jack swing style. Probably the only real mistake on the album though not terrible by any means- 2.5/5
7. Heal The World- Here the album starts to pull away from the previous style quite dramatically. These songs were basically just Jackson left to his own devices and they are the strongest on the album. I do find this particular song a little maudlin, though it was quite a big single at the time and is the albums humaniterian style song (a given now with Jacksons albums). Quite Good- 3.9
8. Black Or White- Here it is, the big hit single from Dangerous and possibly Jacksons strongest pop song since Billie Jean. This really is very enjoyable and combines a message against racism and also a sly dig at people asking questions about his own skin change. The intro, taken from the video, is abit annoying but still doesnt detract from just a real modern classic- 5/5
9. Who Is It- This is a real fan favourite and a criminally underrated song, one of many on this album actually. Its a very dark, introspective song about wondering who his girl cheated on with 'Is it my brother?' etc. Really superb, particularly the chorus- 5/5
10. Give In To Me- This is the 'rock' song of the album, following Bads 'Dirty Diana' and Thrillers 'Beat It'. The guest guitarist this time is Slash who preforms on this song and also 'Black or White'. Following on from the dark lyrics of 'Who Is It', this is quite a haunting song and is among the strongest on the album. It would really appeal to alot of people on this site too I think- 5/5
11. Will You Be There- Another classic and possibly Jacksons most creative song. The choir intro is a little too long perhaps but when the song really gets going its an obvious classic. It has quite an African feel to it with a gospel choir chorus and a very recognisable piano chord structure. Really one of the albums best, another flawless song- 5/5
12. Keep The Faith- This is an obvious attempt to recreate the anthem 'Man In The Mirror' from Bad with the same writers and a similar message. Whilst it isnt as strong as that song, its still a very good uplifting song about not letting things get you down. The imagery really makes me think of Africa or somewhere exotic again and similarly there is a gospel style to it again. Not perfect but really great stuff- 4.5/5
13. Gone Too Soon- This one wasn't penned by Jackson but is about an aids victim Ryan White who Jackson knew who shortly died. It was another of the albums 9 singles and adds a different aspect to an already very diverse album. It is probably the closest thing to a ballad on the album and while lyrically its a little too Disney-esque its a touching song that I've gotten to like more and more over time- 4/5
14. Dangerous- The album finishes where it left off, with another new jack swing style song which eally ties the album togother well. Whilst its not really one of my favourites its still a great song with another thunderous chorus. It was planned to be the tenth single for the album, however it was pulled in 1993 after the first allegations. A really decent closer to a superb album- 4/5
Again I'm going to give this album 4.5 since it is an obvious classic but has its flaws. The first half of the album probably contains a little too much New Jack Swing but the second half contains a pratically flawless set of songs ranging from all out pop (Black Or White) to Rock (Give In To Me) to Gospel (Will You Be There).
This is by far the fans favourite album, even ahead of Thriller, to give you some estimation of how highly it is regarded. Whilst I would rate Thriller just above it, Dangerous is arguably Jacksons best album showing off a diverse range of styles and some of his most creative songwriting since the late 70s/early 80s. Earth Song was actually written and recorded during the Dangerous sessios too for example and many of the cut songs are really great. The album yeilded 9 singles and has sold approximately 30 million albums making it Jacksons second biggest album behind Thriller. It almost certainly would have sold alot more too since the 1993 allegations stopped the US tour and tenth single which could have brought in another 4-5 million in sales.
Jacksons career really reached a its high point with Dangerous and his work has been obviously more inconsistent since.
This album is often forgotten these days but it really is Jacksons tour de force album with a range of different styles. It is also sadly the last of Jacksons first four classic albums (Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous). I would say this is an essentially buy and deserves far more recognition.