ARTIST: Michael Jackson
TITLE: Anthology / Gold
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: #139
SINGLES: Got to Be There (#4 US, #3 UK), Rockin’ Robin (#2 US, #3 UK), I Wanna Be Where You Are (#16 US), Ben (#1 US, #7 UK), With a Child’s Heart (#50 US), Music and Me, We’re Almost There (#54 US), Just a Little Bit of You (#43)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you had the deep album cuts
LINEUP: Michael Jackson, studio musicians
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The compilation of Michael’s Motown output, formulaic for the most part, that showcase the precocious Jackson’s vocals.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Yeah, he can sing, and when the material is good, he’s inspired (and so is the production). However, there’s a lot of tracks here. An 11-song collection was probably too sparse, so go with the larger one and pick and choose what you want. The individual albums were all Motown specials, with hit+filler.
The songs were from the Motown songwriters (who weren’t as great as the ones from the 60’s) and other notables from the era. These were all put together by the producers, as the teenage Jackson wasn’t trusted with his true artistic vision. That would change, of course.
If you like Jackson’s voice as a kid and like the standard pop arrangements of later Motown, then this is for you. When he gets on CBS in 1979, that’s when the real magic happens.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: A single disc was released in 1986, with a double disc in 1995 and a revised one (as Gold) in 2008.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B-: There are highlights, and there’s filler. It’s a minefield of great performances and rote pop.