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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Off The Wall

Michael Jackson

1979

Buy At Rough Trade
Off The Wall
Album Summary

Off the Wall is the fifth solo studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on August 10, 1979, by Epic Records. It was Jackson's first album released through Epic Records, the label he recorded under until his death in 2009, and the first produced by Quincy Jones, whom he met while working on the 1978 film The Wiz. Several critics observed that Off the Wall was crafted from disco, pop, funk, R&B, soft rock and Broadway ballads. Its lyrical themes include escapism, liberation, loneliness, hedonism and romance. The album features songwriting contributions from Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Rod Temperton, Tom Bahler, and David Foster, alongside three tracks penned by Jackson himself. Between 1972 and 1975, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown as part of The Jackson 5 franchise: Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973) and Forever, Michael (1975). Before recording his next album, which came to be Off the Wall, Jackson desired to create a record not sounding like a Jacksons record, but rather showcasing creative freedom and individualism. Off the Wall peaked at number three on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart and number one on the Top Black Albums chart, staying at number one on the latter for 16 weeks, and was an enormous critical success. Five singles were released from the album. Jackson wrote three songs, including the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", his first solo number-one single in the United States since "Ben" seven years prior. The second single, "Rock with You", also topped the chart. With following singles "Off the Wall" and "She's Out of My Life" also reaching the US top 10, Jackson became the first solo artist to have four singles from the same album reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Off the Wall was a significant departure from Jackson's previous work for Motown and was hailed as a major breakthrough for him. In retrospect, writers have hailed it a landmark release of the disco era and one of the greatest albums of all time. Critics often debate whether it or Thriller is Jackson's best album. Off the Wall has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. On February 2, 2021, it was certified 9× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the US. At the 1980 Grammy Awards, it was nominated for two Grammy Awards, with Jackson winning Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". In 2008, Off the Wall was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.78

Votes

13885

Genres

  • Pop
  • Soul

Reviews

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

When I was a kid Michael Jackson was ubiquitous. Just an absolute cultural juggernaut. I had a cassette tape of "thriller" and remember checking out books from the library about michael jackson and the jackson 5. I definitely can't separate his music from nostalgic childhood feelings. This album is where he truly established himself as an independent solo artist and where he found the perfect producer in Quincy Jones. I feel like this album and Thriller set a new template for pop music that is still being used to this day. Man this album starts so strong! The production is so clean and balanced. So busy and layered but not cluttered or overwhelming. Flows so smoothly. Got some of the best session musicians of the era on this album which I am acquainted with to an odd degree because of their association with yacht rock, (which this album has some crossover with). I can definitely appreciate some immaculate pop production, particularly from this era. Side 1 is a fucking ripper but I feel like the album loses a bit of steam on side 2 around the wings cover "girlfriend" and the ballad "She's out if my life" but I do like the Stevie Wonder penned "I can't help it" very much and "it's the falling in love" is yacht rock gem. More of a fan of "thriller" but this is still a very impressive album with some incredible songs.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
1

I accept that Thriller had to be part of the 1001. I get it. But this bad boy? C'mon. Give your head a shake.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Funky funk funk funk. This is a disco masterpiece, obviously. It’s got R&B, Disco, Pop, a whole bunch of stuff. The bass playing and production is what really stood out to me. I don’t think I can really state the impact that this album made on popular music going forward. Favorite song: Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough Least favorite song: Girlfriend

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Bona fide classic, and the first album we've reviewed that I have on vinyl! [insert joke here about me saying "I have that on vinyl"] Technically not a debut album, but in a way it kind of is. He started in the Jackson 5 and released a few solo albums in the early '70s, which mostly sounded like the Jackson 1. On "Forever, Michael" in 1975, his voice suddenly dropped to the range we recognize as Michael Jackson, but that album still sounds like a Jackson 1 project. With help from Quincy Jones, MJ pivoted to funky, disco pop, setting the stage for his growth into the most dominant force in pop music. The album's terrific--it opens with probably my favorite song he's ever made (first heard via Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2 - "Ch'mon, Lee!"), and it's great all the way through. Also: there's a deluxe release with a couple demos, and the original demo for "Workin' Day and Night" is awesome. I like it better than the album version and think it's one of MJ's best tracks period. Check it out! Favorite tracks: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Workin' Day and Night, Rock With You. Album art: Iconic. Totally looks like a debut. Painfully '70s, in a good way. Michael doesn't look comfortable at all, like he's worried people with think he's a poser. At that time I guess he was a poser, going from Motown soul to groovy disco overnight, but it's like a guy at party who gets up "off the wall" to storm the dance floor and show everyone up. This is my favorite cover of all MJ albums. 5/5

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Tue Jan 04 2022
4

Various ballads and dance numbers addressed to anonymous women, but the real love affair is between Jackson and Quincy Jones. The comingling of their vocabulary of sighs, squeals, squeaks, grunts, groans, classical strings, fairydust synths and, of course, mesmeric drums is as essential to the music of the last 40 years as James Brown. Most ironic title: Don't Stop Til You Get Enough. There is no 'enough'.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
3

Not his best album. A few good songs, though. Some really bad ones. 3.5/5

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Thu Feb 15 2024
1

great album - scum of a person

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

I e joyed this album and would play it again!

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

How many times have I listened to this album in my life? Too many to count. I love this album, and I am convinced that this is the greatest disco/funk album ever made. How can something sound so 70's but at the same time be so timeless? Everyone who listens to this, no matter who, when or where will be grooving to this album, it's energy is infectious. The synths, the bass, the vocal delivery of MJ and lyrical composition is top notch. The songs are all the perfect length that don't overstay their welcome, which is something that disco and funk usually have a problem with. Every song on this album is iconic, along with the album art. This album feels like its at the crossroads between MJ's child career and future adult career that we all know and love, blending the best of each. This is my personal favorite Michael Jackson album, it may not have the more iconic hits that people think of when they think of MJ, but it makes me happy, its such a pure joy to listen to. Favorite track: Rock With You Least Favorite Track: She's Out of My Life

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Tue Feb 09 2021
4

The first half of this album is very good but the last 4-5 songs weren't doing much for me. He's just so damn talented. Clearly not his best album but still a great listen.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
5

Fuck dude, how do you rank an album like this? It's so hard to isolate this album from everything that came out afterwards about Michael Jackson. There's no question that Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson were an absolute force when recording together. The first song is incredible; the album starts out at a sprint. The second song is a classic as well. From there it has a very consistent feel without being repetitive. A classic party album. It feels weird giving a known pedophile 5 stars, but here we are 5/5

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Mon May 17 2021
5

Phenomenal mix of funk, soul, disco and pop from the greatest performer of all time.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Michael Jackson’s best album, the funk, the groove, is truly incredible. Set the tone for music going forward.

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Tue Feb 07 2023
4

Mmmm this was good. Rock with You is also my favorite Michael song so extra points here. And before you all bring it up, no, Michael Jackson was NOT a pedo, he just happened to like spending time with young children and having sleepovers with them. I’d ask all of you to take a good long look in the mirror and truly answer this question: don’t we all?

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Sat Dec 09 2023
3

Great disco album, so many good groovy songs. To be played in a social setting to get people dancing

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Sat Dec 19 2020
5

Classic grooves, all time great album

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Michael Jackson Goodness. Bop after Bop

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Tue May 18 2021
5

Just a great album front to back. Always have loved the song “Off The Wall”

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Absolutely stellar, what a boppin album. Besides Girlfriend, you got ya head bumping along with every track, and it's all memorable as hell. What more to say? This is THE way to breakout into stardom (as a solo act, I guess).

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Young king of pop, fun album, gets you in a good mood

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Awesome. It does sound like all of 80s smooth jazz ripped this sound off, though.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

The King Don't stop til you get enough, Rock with you, It's the falling in love, Burn this disco out

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Fri Apr 23 2021
5

This is one of my favorite albums of ALL TIME. I'd rank it higher than Thriller. But I had to give them both 5s.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

Excellent early Michael before he really hit his stride. 9/10.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Solid Michael Blackson produced by Quincy Jones. Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough will always be a song to grove to. Don’t sleep on the song Get On The Floor, the bass line is amazing. I even find myself enjoying the cheesier songs lime Girlfriend.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
5

Highlights - Don't Stop..., Rock With You, Off The Wall, Burn This Disco Out I've always appreciated the sonic clarity of Michael Jackson's work, his ability to craft truly toe-tapping melodies, his incredible vocal range...His foray into his solo act truly got off the ground when he partnered with Quincy Jones for Off The Wall. Don't Stop.. and Rock With You require no explanation, these are assured classics. It's worth noting that this album was made for record playback in mind, as such, the eponymous Off The Wall kicks off the B-side with unsettling laughter and transitions into a solid banger with a feel-good chorus. Burning This Disco Out closes out the second side with a funk-filled send off that'll have you dancing and flipping back to Track 1 over and over.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Disco-y! Interesting to see some early thriller influences too

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Sat Apr 10 2021
5

Pues gran ritmo, canciones que hasta la fecha suenan de vez en cuando en dodne menos las esperas. A parte del famoso single don't stop till you get enough, me gustaron off the wall y sobre todo la ondita r&b de it's the falling in love.

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

Well I'm not sure I've ever listened to a MJ album start to finish, so many bangers on this. I'm assuming MJ is now cancelled, but I do believe in separating the art from the artist and this album was very very good.

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

I'm into soul these days and I should've dug deeper into Michael's discography.

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

Probably my favorite Michael Jackson album. You can feel that he loved making these songs.

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Sun Jan 16 2022
5

Genre: Disco 5/5 I mean, good grief. Imagine 1979: a DJ slaps the new MJ record on, and spins it in its entirety for a packed dance floor. The people must’ve lost their fucking minds. MJ and Quincy Jones team up to make the blueprint for a Disco/Pop record, and a blueprint that Michael would take from himself later to make Thriller, a better album than this if you could imagine. From top to bottom, this thing is loaded with BIG hits, smooth production, tremendous playing, and amazing singing from Michael. He floats on top of everything he performs on, and this is the first major leap in his solo career that showed the listening public that he was here to stay. He may not have been The King of Pop yet, but this is damn close to anything else he made in the future. A top tier album. An essential listen.

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Mon Jan 22 2024
4

The groove on this one is so immense that I wanna put on platform shoes, flared skinny-fit jeans and a silk shirt, and boogie all night. Coming from a white, Scandinavian middle school teacher in his early forties, that is quite an achievement.

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Tue Jan 30 2024
4

Although the songs are a bit weaker than on "Thriller" later, he wasn't such a weirdo at the time so he gets the credit. A classic of disco production, with some charmingly awkward bits (Macca's song is a bit cheesy; the cockney-inspired pronunciation of "help" is bizarre). This is one of Howard's faves I believe

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Mon Mar 18 2024
4

Hard to believe he was only 20 when he recorded and released this album. Legendary artist, legendary album!

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Mon Oct 03 2022
3

Pretty good. Some songs i enjoyed but it all kinda sounded the same.

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Mon Mar 25 2024
3

There’s a circle I can’t square with some of the immensely popular artists on the list like the Beatles or Michael Jackson. Do their albums truly qualify as records “you must hear before you die” when they are so ingrained in popular culture that it would be shocking to find someone what has never heard a beat of their music? In a sense, they’ve become so essential that they are inessential - it should go without saying that you know at least some of their music, because being able to avoid it is almost impossible. I guess what I’m saying is that I usually don’t gain much new insight from hearing a record like this. I know who Michael Jackson was, lived through his heyday and this record didn’t move the needle on my opinion of him in any way. It’s Michael Jackson. It sounds like a Michael Jackson record. Sure, there are songs here that aren’t mainstays in popular culture, particularly in the back half, but that’s probably for a reason…they’re not that memorable and don’t do enough to differentiate themselves from other, similar sounding music of the time.

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Thu Jul 13 2023
2

Really funky start followed by a load of dross. So much talent, so little taste.

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Sun Jul 23 2023
2

Disco Michael Jackson. It's wedding music.

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Fri Sep 08 2023
2

It was fine. Pretty repetitive, but ok to listen to. 2.5/5

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Sat Oct 07 2023
2

It was alright? Sort of blended together by the end. First two tracks are classics for a reason. The groove throughout was good. Just sort of forgettable to me.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
2

Two fantastic songs. Lots of unremarkable discopop

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Tue Jan 30 2024
2

Today I only listened to this and the PC Engine soundtrack to "Double Dragon II: The Revenge"; listen to the latter. Off The Wall plunges after the first two tracks, which themselves are pretty fab. I'll mumble "rote late-disco" and get back to the Double Dragon II OST.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

Awesome album. Thoroughly enjoyable songs and from when before things all went wrong.

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Sat Feb 27 2021
5

It's Michael Jackson. All bangers with enough nostalgia to combat the occasional cheesy lyrics

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

So much energy, his voice is unreal and brings with it incredible passion, and literally every song on the album maintains a high level of energy and positive emotion. Not just the voice but the production is near flawless.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
5

Primeira musica eh a musica do Globo Reporter!

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

This is it. This is the one. Post-disco, the beginning (and best) of the legendary team of Michael and Quincy. Every song is great. Every hook is memorable and natural. MJ slides between endearing, exciting, and fun like no other. While he is certainly indebted to the likes of James Brown and Diana Ross, there's no debate about his being a through-and-through platinum performer. Even viewing this record with his later works in frame, Off the Wall has that mojo that never quite returned -- not that it needed to. Something that is ubiquitous tends to lose its flair, and in this case, the untouchability of OTW just adds to its legendary status. Don't stop til you get enough, Michael I'll never get enough so I'm not stopping.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

It certainly makes sense how this album accelerated Michael Jackson to the stars as a solo artist. Its complex sound and catchy rhythms and baselines pair excellently with the incredible range of vocals from Jackson. I frequently listen to a lot of these songs from this album.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
5

99% of the songs on this album are total bops and make me wanna dance anytime I hear them. Amazing bass playing on both bass guitar and bass synth. I love everything about this record and only wish I was around when it initially came out to experience it. Amazing.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

Bin mir ziemlich sicher, dass das hier mein Lieblings MJ album ist.

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Thu May 06 2021
5

Its a classic, what else would it be?

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Tue May 18 2021
5

I was wondering when good old MJ was gonna show up here. Don't Stop Til' You Get Enough-Oh, so thats what this song is called! I've heard it before, that familiar melody string, did not know it came from MJ tho. Rock With You-I liked the main tagline, (title of the song) Workin' Day and Night-Hyperactive kinda song. Snazzy jazzy is how I'd describe this. Get On the Floor-Funky Disco vibin. Got the foot tapping beat to it. Really feeling the disco funk genre this album's got. Off the Wall-Title track. I can definitely hear the mix of disco, funk, pop and touches of R&B in there. Cool disco? Head bopping type beat. She's Out of My Life-wait, apparently this is the actual title track. Huh. what a drastic departure from the disco pop funk tunes the past few songs have been. Feeling the Blues part of R&B real strong here. I liked it. It was different, melancholy but sweetish sad. Girlfriend-Lot more upbeat than the last one. More rhythm than blues now. It's the Falling in Love-Feeling the love (heh) for this one. It has like touches of all the genres in there with a light, poppy beat. Burn this Disco Out-I like that backing...bass? Funky fresh. Good shit. would listen to it again.

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Fun! Surprised I had never listened thru before.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
5

in 1979, this was THE album. in 1980 it was STILL 'THE' Album. Everyone thought he would never top it. Well, he did. But, this is still a classic. Solid FIVE stars.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
5

Front to back, an absolute banger of an album. I will be spinning this for many days to come!

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Tue Aug 10 2021
5

Va quedar injustament desplaçat pel seu següent disc, pero ell mai va sonar tan fresc, optimista i radiant com aquí. Segurament el millor disc r&b dels '70, ni un sol tema a oblidar; clares influències disco, soul, pop... Tot un clàssic

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Wed Aug 11 2021
5

Klassiker, verdient schon 5, weil es einfach auch toll durchzuhören ist!

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Mon Nov 22 2021
5

Such a treat. I truly love this album.

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

Me gusta mucho y me recuerda a mi juventud

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Thu Nov 25 2021
5

The first album randomized that I listened to more than once! The king of pop, crushing it as usual.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

A near perfect pop dunk disco album. Forever changed R&B. A timeless classic that sounds both old and modern at the same time. Has aged really really well. A super fun listen.

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Almost a perfect album. Great music, great vocals

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

incrível, a cara dos anos 80

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Mon Jan 24 2022
5

Entusiasmante! Dá vontade de lavar louça e mudar o mundo ao mesmo tempo. Já conhecia algumas músicas, mas ouvir novamente é como ouvir pela primeira vez.

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Wed Feb 02 2022
5

An amazing record that really shows why Michael Jackson is one of the most popular artists of all time. The level of detail put in the production of each song is quite incredible, everything sounds so clear, its beautiful.

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Mon Mar 07 2022
5

Hard to listen to don’t stop ‘til you get enough without thinking about his past

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Sun Mar 20 2022
5

Amazing album on the heels of disco. People thought he would never match the success of this album.

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Tue Mar 22 2022
5

Don't stop till you get enough already started playing in my head when I saw the album cover. Really love this album, really good energy.

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Sat Mar 26 2022
5

First two tracks (Don’t stop ‘til you get enough and Rock with you) are amazing and whole album great to listen to, classic!

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