It just leaves me flat-footed and capable of only saying “wow” at times.
As for the second CD containing bonus tracks, demos, rarities and remixes? Refreshing. Instead of being what I was afraid of – newly produced and created songs layered over original demos that go above and beyond what Jackson himself would have been able to hear – this disc is only comprised of true Bad-era songs. And what songs they are! From the funky strut of “Streetwalker” to “Al Capone” which eventually meta-morphed itself into “Smooth Criminal” to the smooth pop vibe of “Free,” there are some truly enjoyable songs that truly add to the understanding of the time and effort it took to create Bad in the first place.
Finally, the final two discs – the DVD and audio CD covering Jackson’s 1988 Wembley shows recorded at the height of his world tour supporting Bad – are wondrous. This was Jackson’s first solo world tour and to see it documented showing him at the peak of his powers, as it were, is just fascinating (to this reviewer, who never got the chance to see him live in concert in any other way than through recordings such as this).
These two recordings just exude pure energy and while watching it I’m thunderstruck by how effortless this lithe little man seems to make spending over two hours singing and dancing his absolute heart out for thousands of adoring fans. (I get tired just lip-syncing and trying to do the occasional move with just my arms, while watching.)
Long story short, this 25th anniversary package of Bad is fantastic both for the serious Jackson fan or for the casual fan of pop music in general. Sure, Bad is not the behemoth that is Thriller. But, the fact that it’s even in the same conversation as Thriller and the dedication and craftsmanship shown by Jackson in creating it and by the people remastering and supplementing it, serves to do nothing less than give us a true musical celebration of a man and his moment in the spotlight.