Thriller [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
The 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's Thriller celebrates the groundbreaking album with eight bonus tracks, five previously unreleased. The new tracks include remixes from Kanye West, Akon, and will.i.am, as well as "For All Time," a previously unreleased track from the Thriller sessions that has been newly mixed and mastered by Michael Jackson. As a bonus, the disc is accompanied by a DVD that features the digitally restored videos for "Thriller," "Beat It," and "Billie Jean," plus the Emmy-nominated performance of "Billie Jean" from the Motown 25 television special, which introduced the world to the "moonwalk" and launched Jackson into superstardom.
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CD (Remastered / Bonus Tracks / Bonus DVD / Includes book)
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
The 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's Thriller celebrates the groundbreaking album with eight bonus tracks, five previously unreleased. The new tracks include remixes from Kanye West, Akon, and will.i.am, as well as "For All Time," a previously unreleased track from the Thriller sessions that has been newly mixed and mastered by Michael Jackson. As a bonus, the disc is accompanied by a DVD that features the digitally restored videos for "Thriller," "Beat It," and "Billie Jean," plus the Emmy-nominated performance of "Billie Jean" from the Motown 25 television special, which introduced the world to the "moonwalk" and launched Jackson into superstardom.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The quarter-century mark carries weight for Thriller -- not necessarily for the anniversary of the album's release itself, although it offers as good an opportunity as ever to revisit one of the true pop phenomenons of the 20th century, but rather for another anniversary: Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever, the television special where Michael Jackson performed "Billie Jean" and unleashed the moonwalk, sending Thriller into the stratosphere. For those who hadn't paid attention to Off the Wall -- and despite its success there were some, often older listeners who didn't bother with discos -- this performance was the unveiling of a marvelous, mature Jackson, a musician whose growth seemed sudden, swift, staggering. Maturity isn't a word that was much associated with Jackson over the next 25 years. Not long after Thriller was logging its second year on the charts, well on its way to becoming the biggest album ever a title it eventually lost to the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits, which is merely a technicality; that was a catalog item, not a supernova that burned up the charts, Jackson methodically turned himself into a man-child, first through his public appearance -- he was first seen with ET, then Emmanuel Lewis -- and that antiseptic mass appeal crept into his music, so by the tenth anniversary of Thriller, there was not much adult about his music. Because of this gradual morphing into something other, many listeners may have not listened to Michael Jackson or Thriller in years, maybe even two decades, so the album was given a much-hyped re-release in February 2008, with Epic/Legacy releasing Thriller 25 complete with bonus tracks and an extra DVD, in several different editions with different covers, too. There was so much hype surrounding this reissue that it's easy to overlook the fact that this is the second pumped-up reissue of Thriller within a decade. Six years earlier, Michael Jackson's Epic catalog was refurbished to coincide with the release of Invincible, so the album was given a bunch of bonus tracks and a new cover -- an outtake from the photo shoot that produced the gatefold pic of Jacko cuddling with a baby tiger, playing right into his frozen childhood -- and it didn't garner much attention, possibly because only two of the 12 bonus tracks were interesting the rest were almost all interview snippets. Those two songs, "Someone in the Dark" and a demo of "Billie Jean," are left behind on that issue, and Thriller 25 likewise contains none of the assorted oddities and rarities MJ released during this era. Unlike the 2001 reissue, this is not targeted to listeners who care about digging deep into the vaults, curious about how the album was made and what was left behind. No, Thriller 25 is for fans who want to take a trip back and for younger listeners who may have never heard the entire album before -- and to rope the latter in, this reissue has five new remixes all featuring modern stars. That sounds more impressive on the surface than it actually is, as, for whatever reason, such Michael-mimicking superstars as Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown did not participate, but Kanye West, Akon, Fergie, and will.i.am did. By and large these are outright embarrassments -- only Akon has the guts to rework the original track, turning "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" into moody piano murk, so he gets credit for vision; it's not great, but it is better than Fergie parroting the lyrics of "Beat It" back to a recorded Jackson, and it's better than will.i.am turning "The Girl Is Mine" into a hapless dance number -- but it's also true that these artists can't help but seem small when compared to Michael. Kanye is the closest of these four to having anything close to the musical and cultural impact in 2008 as Jackson did in 1982-1983, but even that is a bit of a reach, as Kanye isn't nearly as close to being as omnipresent as Michael was at his peak. Of course, those were different times, as one listen to the proper album makes clear. Thriller built upon the disco breakthroughs of Off the Wall but was designed to cross over to all audiences: baby boomers a duet with Paul McCartney on "The Girl Is Mine", hard rockers Eddie Van Halen's guitar on "Beat It", electro-funk the paranoiac "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," the stark "Billie Jean", modern R&B the bright "Baby Be Mine", quiet storm "The Lady in My Life", soft rockers "Human Nature", and kids the cartoonish title track. That large streak of softness is often overlooked in memories about Thriller; it's rightly overshadowed by "Billie Jean," "Beat It," and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," and the visual extravaganzas of the video all documented here on the DVD, with only the overcooked "Thriller" seeming old. But the genius of Thriller is that Jackson, producer Quincy Jones, and writer/arranger Rod Temperton made it with L.A. studio pros including many members of Toto, Greg Phillinganes, and David Foster, so it has an alluring slickness placing it as firmly within pop as it is within R&B. Jackson, Jones, and Temperton meticulously assembled these tracks, finding a balance where the tight grooves laid down by the studio musicians and the synth sequencing by Michael and Rod felt precise yet pulsated with a human heart. This polish helped bring Thriller to a mass audience who otherwise might have paid no attention. Once Thriller got their attention, it captivated because Jackson did everything and he made it seem so easy. Once his dazzle wore off, the songs stuck around because there were no weak tunes -- even the weakest, the slow-burning closer "The Lady In My Life," is a fine generic R&B ballad -- and the best are eternal. Even so, classic pop can be overplayed and several of the Thriller signature hits no longer sound fresh -- that creaky title track and the clenched posturing of "Beat It" are the worst offenders -- but "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "Billie Jean" remain startling in their futuristic funk and "Baby Be Mine," one of two songs not to be a hit single, sounds positively incandescent, perhaps because it isn't as familiar, but more likely because it is a brilliantly crafted piece from Temperton. And, again, it's that craft that impresses after all these years -- it's possible to hear past the myth, past the baggage that Jackson accumulated in the years since its release, and hear what he created on this singular sensation. It's not necessary to purchase the 25th anniversary reissue to appreciate this -- for those who appreciate the craft behind the album, the only worthwhile extra is the perfectly fine unreleased ballad "For All Time" -- but the set does have one trump card up its sleeve: the DVD has that performance of "Billie Jean" from Motown 25. It is the one thing on the set that comes close to capturing the excitement that Thriller generated upon its initial release -- and since excitement was as necessary to Thriller's success as craft, such a jolt is needed for this, although it may not be quite enough of an enticement for millions of fans to purchase this album a second time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/12/2008
  • Label: Epic
  • UPC: 886972209623
  • Catalog Number: 722096
  • Sales rank: 12,610

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (6:02)
  2. 2 Baby Be Mine (4:20)
  3. 3 The Girl Is Mine - Paul McCartney (3:42)
  4. 4 Thriller (5:57)
  5. 5 Beat It (4:18)
  6. 6 Billie Jean (4:53)
  7. 7 Human Nature (4:05)
  8. 8 P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) (3:58)
  9. 9 The Lady in My Life (4:58)
  10. 10 Vincent Price Excerpt (0:24)
  11. 11 The Girl Is Mine 2008 - will.i.am (3:11)
  12. 12 P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008 - will.i.am (4:21)
  13. 13 Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 - Akon (4:14)
  14. 14 Beat It 2008 - Fergie (4:12)
  15. 15 Billie Jean 2008 (4:37)
  16. 16 For All Time (4:03)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Billie Jean
  2. 2 Beat It
  3. 3 Thriller
  4. 4 Billie Jean
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Michael Jackson Primary Artist, Drums, Vocals, Background Vocals, Hand Clapping, Soloist, Stomp Board
Howard Hewett Background Vocals
James Ingram Background Vocals, Hand Clapping, Portasound
Paul McCartney Vocals, Background Vocals, Soloist
Bill Wolfer Synthesizer, Keyboards
David Foster Synthesizer
Vincent Price Rap
Bunny Hull Background Vocals
Tom Bahler Synclavier
Brian Banks Synthesizer
Michael Boddicker Synthesizer, Emulator, Vocoder
Leon "Ndugu" Chancler Drums
Paulinho Da Costa Percussion
Gary Grant Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Nelson Hayes Stomp Board
Jerry Hey Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Paul Jackson Jr. Guitar
Louis Johnson Bass, Electric Bass, Hand Clapping
Becky Lopez Background Vocals
Steve Lukather Guitar, Electric Bass
Anthony Marinelli Synthesizer
David Paich Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards
Jeff Porcaro Drums
Dean Parks Guitar
Greg Phillinganes Synthesizer, Keyboards, Hand Clapping, fender rhodes
Steve Porcaro Synthesizer, Keyboards
Steven Ray Hand Clapping, Stomp Board
Greg "Frosty" Smith Synthesizer
Rod Temperton Synthesizer
Eddie Van Halen Guitar, Soloist
Gerald Vinci Concert Master
Maxine Willard Waters Background Vocals
Oren Waters Background Vocals
Julia Waters Background Vocals
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. Trombone
will.i.am Synthesizer, Drums, Keyboards
Anthony Kilhoffer Keyboards
David E. Williams Guitar
Printz Board Trumpet
Tim Izo Saxophone
Chuck Prada Percussion
Anthony Caruso Keyboards
Jeff Bhasker Keyboards
Larry Andrew Williams Flute, Saxophone
Keith Harris Synthesizer, Keyboards
Technical Credits
James Ingram Arranger, Composer
Michael Jackson Composer, Producer, Executive Producer, Vocal Arrangements, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements, Remixing, rhythm arrangement, Synthesizer Arrangements
Quincy Jones Arranger, Composer, Producer, Vocal Arrangements, rhythm arrangement
Jeremy Lubbock String Conductor
David Foster Synthesizer Arrangements
John Bettis Composer
Bradford Cobb Engineer
Matt Forger Engineer
Humberto Gatica Engineer
Bernie Grundman Mastering
Jerry Hey Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements, String Conductor
Craig Johnson Engineer
Matthew Kelly Tape Research
Donn Landee Guitar Engineer
David Paich rhythm arrangement
Steve Porcaro Composer
Greg "Frosty" Smith Contributor
John Strother Engineer
Bruce Swedien Engineer
Rod Temperton Arranger, Composer, Vocal Arrangements, rhythm arrangement, Synthesizer Arrangements
Michael Sherwood Composer
Al Quaglieri Tape Research
Tom Coyne Mastering
Chris Athens Mastering
Aya Takemura Engineer
Michael Kull Tape Research
will.i.am Remixing
Anthony Kilhoffer Remixing
Dylan Dresdow Remixing
Aliaune "Akon" Thiam Composer, Programming, Instrumentation
Alex Dromgoole Remixing
Giorgio Tuinfort Composer, Programming, Instrumentation
Aaron Hook Engineer
William Adams Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I can understand why its

    "Thriller" is Michaels 6th solo cd/album (if i am correct). Thriller came out in '82 & made history that is still going. all 9 songs are classics as well as 7 that were hits. its not everyday that 1 can do that with their music all at once & still be goin strong after 27 yrs as michael did with Thriller. Here u got all styles of music r/b,funk, soul & pop. another great disc 2 add to your collection of just to have. This album won a record breakin grammies in '84.

    i can undrestand why the videos were hits (as well as the others) --especially thriller.

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