I wanted to honor the King of Pop this week for my first TTTTT segment in a while, in honor of his birthday that just passed on the 29th.
Obviously, I’m talking about the legendary Michael Jackson, and his ‘debut’ album, Off the Wall. I put debut in quotes because he’s had solo work out before during his Jackson 5/Jacksons stage, one being titled Music and Me. I would categorize this as Mike’s debut because it is the album where fans got to see his true potential as a teen and when he linked up with the legendary producer, Quincy Jones.
The first two songs right off the bat are classics that we still hear today. Disco, funk, pop, dance influenced “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You” are two of the most globally recognized songs probably of all time.
Off the Wall is certified 8x platinum in the United States alone, and 20x platinum worldwide, making it a 2x certified diamond album. This was truly the LP that jump-started Michael’s career and solidified his longevity as an artist and performer.
Two not as well-known records on this album are two of my favorites. The title track, “Off the Wall” is a somewhat stripped down disco track that does just fine in a packed club or even a kick back at a friend’s apartment.”I Can’t Help It” is another favorite of mine, mainly because Stevie Wonder is responsible for most of it (writing and producing). It could have been another great Stevie record, but I’m just fine with Michael’s vocals over it.
It’s not easy to say if this is Michael’s best work ever, but definitely a strong debut and a classic. I believe most artists’ commercial debut album can be what makes or breaks the longevity of a career (Illmatic [Nas], Reasonable Doubt [Jay-Z], Good kid m.a.a.d City [Kendrick Lamar]).
But then again, Michael didn’t have much of a childhood due to his immense career, so it’s safe to say he had a bit of an advantage. He also proved that he didn’t need the help of his older brothers to take off as an extremely successful solo act. Take Off the Wall a spin below via Spotify for some nostalgia: