George Michael
Older


5.0
classic

Review

by Simon CONTRIBUTOR (232 Reviews)
December 31st, 2018 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album for healing and artistic progression.

“Jesus To A Child” is a powerful opener, and it’s not just because of its deviated shift into dispirited and sombre presentations; the track holds deep emotional scarring and weight that, at the time, went over the music goers’ heads. George Michael is one of the greats – he’s up there with the likes of David Bowie and Michael Jackson for delivering a unique brand of revolutionary and innovative songwriting without hesitation. An omnipotent skill set that’s used to instantaneously pull the listener into any given mood George sees fit. The soul and solemn passion that seeps from every performance of his is simply unmatched, and it’s on Older where we see this true potential fruitfully blossoming. In a nutshell, this album is a vast departure from previous successes: out with bright, synthesised production stylings in favour of a much more organic sound palate that continues to redefine Michael as an artist. There’s a much darker tone set here, an aesthetic that’s chiselled out of various string and horn arrangements, subtly and thematically nodding to the warm humanity Older is offering here, and its jazz-y undertones become a perfect marriage with its production and dour vocal work.

Of course, this sonic endeavour isn’t a coincidence, there’s a reason Older was made the way it was, and it explains more than simply scratching artistic narcissisms. A lot happened to George in between the release of Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 and Older, the most superficial, yet affecting nonetheless, was the hellish lawsuit he went through with his record label; a lawsuit he fervently fought tooth and nail to win because of, what he thought was, the label’s inability to support his artistic vision. Though he eventually got released from the label, he did actually lose the lawsuit. This will have had a detrimental effect on his outlook at the time, but the main reason for this album’s creation stems from a far more meaningful subject. Indeed, without beating around the bush, it’s a subtle commentary on his own sexuality; coming to terms with his sexual orientation in a nuanced fashion. The biggest factor for this theme most likely comes from the person this album is dedicated to: his unspoken lover and soulmate, Anselmo Felepp, who tragically died from an Aids related disease in 1993. “Jesus To A Child” is a poignant and heart-wrenchingly cryptic documentation of Felepp’s death and Michael’s coping with the events. And yet, even with the distressing tone coming from his pained voice, there’s a brave and positive message to be taken from it all which is that even though he’s had it taken away from him, at least he got to experience and cherish those precious moments with him – and that they’ll always be there for him when he’s feeling low.

“Fastlove” is indicative of the concepts pertained to “Jesus To A Child”, taking the “I thought I’d never feel the same about anyone or anything again” line with reactionary consequences for “Fastlove”, asserting his feelings on the matter in search of disposable love without any strings attached. It also happens to be the most upbeat number here; a kind of cynical triumph that sees him moving on, albeit in a somewhat destructive fashion. Lyrically and stylistically the songs here are career defining achievements. It’s not hard to see why George regarded this album as his opus in music: it’s an extremely mature experience that masterfully builds on the misfortunes bestowed on those five years leading up to Older, and there’s not a moment of let-up in the process. It’s slick, brooding and serves up some of the finest vocal performances of his career – ala the spine-tingling harmonies on “Spinning the Wheel” or the cradled lullabies of “The Strangest Thing”, it’s all top-tier stuff. It’s a style of album that walks along a tightrope of ethereal and lethargic qualities, creating a very distinct sound. It has a spiritual feeling to it, with weighty depression crushing these smooth numbers. Older is the equivalent to someone with severe depression putting on a brave face – it’s a rare case in pop and something you seldom hear from the genre. But that’s what makes this album so essential; stylistically it’s a far cry from what he’d made previous, but it’s also an important statement – a remedy and healing process – for what had built up. George Michael was never one to sit on his laurels, and this album is technically just another day in moving forwards, but the content on here should definitely be recognised as being his bravest and finest hour.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://store.hmv.com/music/cd/older



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2018


15087 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's been awhile since I've done a review, so I thought I'd tackle my favourite Georgie album.

Digging: HEALTH - VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

Dewinged
December 31st 2018


14482 Comments


Nice dude. I had an 80s playlist on yesterday at a home party and a couple of GM tracks came up. The mas was the real deal.

Digging: Chasms - The Mirage

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2018


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Great choice! I love Fastlove and a few others on the album. Patience might be my favorite, it's more upbeat. Still sad the man died.

Digging: My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - In the House of Strange Affairs

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
December 31st 2018


15087 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers fellas. Yeah fastlove is an absolute banger

AgentDeathbat
December 31st 2018


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review! Considering checking this... the only George Michael I know is "Careless Whisper" unfortunately.

Digging: Badflower - OK, I?M SICK

BigPleb
January 1st 2019


57073 Comments


Fastlove is my fave George Michael song, bangs.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2019


15087 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There's nothing unfortunate about Careless Whisper, it's unbelievably good. But yeah, get on this man. Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 is amazing too. Faith is sugary pop music but it's still awesome.

Davidsamith
January 2nd 2019


1 Comments


I am an artist and i really can not understand the kind of music what people like and they groove to. been there in this since my own childhood and things have changed with time i have been doing all the kinds of convert youtube video to mp3 online free songs but cant understand the choice of people. lets discuss?


TwigTW
January 2nd 2019


3635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's an interesting back-story, I'll give this a listen with those things in mind.

bigguytoo9
January 2nd 2019


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Jesus To A Child is one of George's best songs ever.

AgentDeathbat
January 2nd 2019


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Gonzo: Right but it's like that's the most entry level George Michael song in existence so there's that.

Checked this recently and it rules.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 3rd 2019


15087 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@bigguy



it brings the feels. plus fastlove is an excellent follow-up.



@agent



yeah it is, although it is a wham! song, technically. haha but that, last christmas and faith are fun as hell. his later work is far more appealing to me though, it's where he spreads his wings as a writer.

AgentDeathbat
January 3rd 2019


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, definitely can see that.



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