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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Jackson’s second ‘greatest hits’ are redundant, pointless

With the lack of a new videogame system, no real “must-have” vibrating stuffed animal to speak of and sequel upon sequel lining the DVD and game racks, the 2003 holiday season is already shaping up to be one of the least commercially innovative seasons in years.

For music fans, this cold reality has already set in at the greeting shelves of Best Buy and Sam Goody. With everyone from No Doubt to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Stone Temple Pilots and even Rob Zombie spitting up “greatest hits” albums this year, fans are left scratching their heads with their iPods, asking, “Why?”

Why should a fan already in possession of every studio album, live album, bootleg, BBC recording, Dick’s Picks and every “lost” recording of an artist even consider buying these album collections of overplayed commercial hits? Besides the convenience of not having to make one’s own dilapidated disc of sub-par quality Kazaa downloads, the only saving grace (if you can even call it that) for these soulless bastardized discs is that elusive “new” track.

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Considering that the consumer is essentially shelling out $13 for one, maybe two, new tracks, can any consumer even wonder whether the record companies understand why we’re through paying for shiny pieces of plastic and album booklets?

One surprising contender in this current “Greatest Hits” royal rumble is Michael Jackson’s latest disc, Number Ones. Considering the fact that Jackson already blew his “Greatest Hits” wad back in 1995 with the two-disc HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book 1 collection, fans are left perplexed at the reason for the birth of this record. Hmmm… maybe it has some to do with foreseen lawyers’ fees.

Thanks to the recent news regarding Jackson’s latest child molestation charges, Number Ones seems to be taking the road of Marilyn Manson’s Anti-Christ Superstar by basking in the light of free, yet negative, publicity. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that the Santa Barbara DA’s office hasn’t considered adding this album to the list of atrocities committed by this washed-up artist.

As expected, Jackson rides out the first 11 tracks of Number Ones with the moonwalker’s Thiller and Bad days of the ’80s. With only slight drum and synthesizer tweaks on the tracks for “Thriller” and “Man in the Mirror,” everything present in these singles when they were force-fed to you back when Michael rightfully deserved the moniker “King of Pop” is intact.

Unfortunately, the selection of the later “hits” of this collection seems questionable at best. Absent are “Jam,” “Scream,” “Remember the Times,” and (thankfully) “Heal the World.” Instead, all that is left is “Black or White” and “You Rock My World,” with the lesser-known “Earth Song” and “You Are Not Alone.”

The bonus track “Ben (Live)” sounds too studio-produced to be legitimate, and the “new” track, “One More Chance,” isn’t even worth mentioning, except that it seems to be a slightly ironic title, if one imagines the Peter Pan wannabe on his knees begging in the court room.

The only thing that keeps this album alive is the nostalgia surrounding the early tracks of Michael’s career and the possibility that this may be the last we’ll get to hear of the gloved one for a while. In any case, this album fails to win any sympathy from the fence-sitting fans of Michael’s early days.

If anything, this release merely demonstrates Jackson’s desperation to extend the life of the setting sun over his failing musical empire for another 15 minutes. But as the prophetic cliché states, all things must come to an end. Unfortunately, this one is delivered as a cellophane-wrapped bomb.

Fans who already own HIStory should ignore this coaster of a disc. If you ever, heaven forbid, find yourself rifling through the CD stacks for Michael’s real Greatest Hits, stay away from Number Ones and get HIStory. Although the release of this album is designed to complement the subsequent DVD release of MJ’s career of short films, there is still no excuse or justified rationale for this redundant album.

Hopefully the record labels will learn their lessons from this holiday season and prevent mistakes like this from ever happening again.

Grade: D

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