Long before he was the center of many various controversies, Michael Jackson led his group of brothers through what essentially served as a foundation for his early solo career. Released less than a year before Michael's 1979 adult break-through, Off the Wall, The Jacksons reached a new level of success with Destiny. Arriving almost in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary, Epic/Legacy has reissued the album on CD featuring sterling remastered audio.
An RIAA-certified platinum album, Destiny holds up today as a fresh and danceable collection of tunes that showcases the natural brilliance of Michael Jackson. Jermaine Jackson had left the group by this point to pursue his solo career. Tito, Jackie, Marlon, and Randy don't contribute as frequently to the vocals as Micheal, but their presence as harmony singers remains strong. Michael contributes the lion's share of lead vocals here, which makes this release a must-have for his fans. It really is refreshing to look back on an era when Jackson's name was synonymous with music rather than tabloid headlines.
Highlights include the only non-original track, "Blame It On the Boogie," which was a significant R&B hit. Interestingly, the songwriting credits for the track include two different Jacksons, neither of which are any relation to the group. The tightest groove (and biggest hit) is "Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground)." This is an electrifying dance track, easily earning its place on numerous best-of compilations. The title track, a country-tinged soul ballad, is another favorite. The acoustic guitar work provides a nice change of pace from the rest of the album. "Push Me Away" is a tender slow jam, beautifully sung by Michael. The ensemble vocals on "Bless His Soul" are a prime reminder of how potent The Jacksons were.
There are two bonus tracks included on this reissue, neither of which is particularly revelatory. Even so, these dance mixes of the two best known tracks, "Blame It On the Boogie" and "Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground)," are nice to have for collectors and completists. I wouldn't say that either of them improves upon the original, but they provide nice alternate versions. The remastered sound throughout ensures that this album sounds right at home in 2009, with buoyant bass lines popping from the speakers. New liner notes allow for a closer look at Destiny, an under-appreciated classic of '70s R&B.