I’ve said before that the Thriller album was the point where Jackson unleashed his disturbed inner psyche into his music, and here he harnesses it to create one of the most spine-tingling horror classics of all time, complete with a chilling quasi-rap verse and flawlessly performed evil laugh by the greatest horror actor of the classic Hollywood era, the great Vincent Price. Even without its iconic music video, this would be one of the all-time classics of pop music, and even if it was released decades earlier, it’s still by far and away the best song to reach the Top Forty in 2014.
Archives for January 2015
Minaj’s work on this track, while not nearly as bad as what she’d do in the near future, is generally slightly subpar, with some genuinely inexplicable word choices. Eminem’s brilliant guest verses are pretty much left to carry the whole track, which they do, but while this song is ultimately fairly effective, it could have been a lot better if Minaj herself were in better form.
It’s pretty widely acknowledged that Avril Lavigne hasn’t done anything worthwhile in over a decade, but this is pretty bad even for her. It’s a lifeless, empty, almost depressing attempt at a party song, and even within that field, it’s less interesting and memorable than Miley Cyrus’ attempt at the same thing that year, “We Can’t Stop”, which might explain why that song totally overshadowed this one. Also, why do schlock-pop singers feel the need to reference Radiohead in their songs? As I’ve stated before, it’s rarely a good idea to remind people of better music they could be listening to instead.
Another track from the Blown Away album that vastly surpasses the quality of Underwood’s previous work, this song is another attempt at a Miranda Lambert-esque revenge fantasy. However, where “Before He Cheats” was merely a song about ineptly-executed vandalism, this terrifying murder ballad about two wronged women ganging up to wreak vengeance on the man who deceived them both actually achieved a level of power not seen in this kind of song since Lambert’s “Kerosene”.
There are those who couldn’t accept Bon Jovi’s eventual abandonment of their Hard Rock sound, but to everyone’s surprise, when they tried their hand at Pop-Country, they proved to be better at it than the vast majority of artists who’d spent their entire careers in the genre. Here, teamed with modern Country legend Jennifer Nettles, Bon Jovi offers one of finest Country hits of the 2000s, with Nettles’ magnificent voice complimenting the sharp yet relaxed songwriting perfectly.
Chic were one of the most instrumentally gifted Disco bands, to the point where, half a century after the Disco trend died a violent death, frontman Nile Rodgers is still relevant and still appearing on major hit songs like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. This song, which became their signature number, is a perfect example of their style, far closer to the authentic Funk sound that Disco was originally derived from than almost any of their peers in the genre.
For all his idealism and oft-repeated message of ‘Change’, this is the only real time Jackson touched directly on political issues that didn’t personally concern him, and he did a staggeringly impressive job. This is the first _angry_ ‘Save the World’ song from Jackson, a song so passionate and haunting that it would almost seem heavy-handed if the stakes it was dealing in weren’t so high.
Slipknot have a lot of detractors, but I’ve always been impressed by their sheer brutality and the fact that unlike most of the more popular Nu-Metal acts, they really knew how to play those instruments. This album combines the more sophisticated style they adopted later in their career with the sheer abrasive anger of their first two albums. It was made after the tragic death of one of their original members, and they really do seem to be working out their grief and pain through the music. It’s a pretty intense musical experience.