My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Off The Wall is the fifth solo album by Michael Jackson. The album was produced by Quincy Jones and Michael himself. Jackson had a huge part in writing many of the songs along with numbers written by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. The album was recorded through the first half of 1979 and released in August of the same year. The album has sold more that 8 million copies in the US and 20 million world wide.
What I think: Being born in 1979, some of my earliest musical memories are related to Michael Jackson and Thriller. So, in my head Thriller was his breakthrough instead of this album (I knew it had some big singles, but didn’t realize how lauded it was). It also, blows my mind that this is his fifth studio album, also lodged in my head is the idea that this is his debut.
With that in my head, I listened to this about a year ago and wasn’t very impressed with it. I’ve always loved “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You”, but everything else fell flat on my ears. After listening to it again in context of what else was being released in 1979, my thoughts have really changed. The whole thing is so exciting and free and it makes the listener feel the same. I’m not a disco fan, as has been noted many times, but that is usually because it sounds so formulaic to me. This really breaks that formula and makes it extremely fun! My favorites are actually the ones that are just about dancing, the climax of “Get on the Floor” is one of the best ever and “Burn This Disco Out” is a great album closer. And the ballads “Girlfriend” and “She’s Out of My Life” are wonderful and find a place in my heart just as his later slow songs have done to me.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I certainly do agree that it should be here, a great preview of what Jackson has in-store for us in the next decade.
Rating (Out of 5) 4
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (109/461)
Amount that are new to me: 76%