The most efficient-selling album of all time is 25, and this birthday edition puts new jewels atop the crowning achievement of the King of Pop. Billie Jean; Beat It; Human Nature; P.Y.T.; The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney) and the rest sign up for eight bonus tracks (an unissued song from the Thriller sessions; a Billie Jean demo; remixes by Kanye West, Akon, will.i.am and more) plus a DVD of videos and Michael’s famous moon-walkin’ moment on the Motown 25 TV special. Go for the deluxe version and get a 48-page book and suitably dressed-up packaging!
Must several of the tracks on the 25th anniversary edition of Thriller find their way onto your MP3 player, you will have to admit: the music holds up. “Beat It” is not about to go stale, no less than not without a rumble, and neither are “Billie Jean” and “P.Y.T.” Even though you put the record-hurtling hits aside, you’re still left with the realization that without MJ, there might not have been a JT [Justin Timberlake], never mind a Ne-Yo (listen closely to “Human Nature” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”). The bonus DVD bundled with the expanded CD includes a digitally redone version of the famous title-track video, among other clips, and it still astonishes with its choreography and attitude. As for the new tracks–Fergie inserts herself into “Beat It,” Will.i.am takes on “The Girl Is Mine” and “P.Y.T.,” Kanye West remixes “Billie Jean” (with characteristically subtle brilliance), Akon duets with M-Jack on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and the unreleased ballad “For All Time” (from the original Thriller sessions) is shined up and tacked on–they’re going to suck you in find it irresistible was once pop music’s hugest year, 1983, everywhere again. Start brushing up on your moonwalk now. –Tammy La Gorce