Today George Michael releases multiple deluxe editions of his 1987 debut solo album, Faith. My favorite GM album may still be Listen Without Prejudice, but Faith is like his Thriller. Virtually all hits. Here is George, below, at his most "iconic," with the hair, sunglasses, and The Stubble...
I got into a nerdy fracas with someone on the Popjustice Forums last week. They implied that George didn't really have any depth. And I popped off:
Woah! So he follows up his huge-selling Faith with a properly introspective 70's singer/songwriter album that has a number of very personal manifestos on it (Freedom, Waiting, Something To Save), follows that with Older, an album immersed in grief and then follows that with an album including songs like My Mother Had A Brother and Round Here - and you say he did not dig into his psyche? Throughout his career he consistently upped the ante. I would agree that pot has dulled his senses, but to see him cast a "just" a pop star to Annie Lennox's deep artistry is kind of flat out totally wrong.Jonathan Ross reports that he's heard new GM material and that it's very good. I think most George Michael fans can agree that he should cut the cannabis and lucidly record a new record. He certainly has enough emotional material to work with, yes?
Xolondon's Top Ten Plus One George Michael Songs*
Fastlove my favorite, without a doubt.
Everything is perfect. The casual sex theme is unrepentant and refreshing, really. I love the bit at 3:25 where the song breaks down and shifts into an amazing middle eight: "In the absence of security.." when you realize that the whole tramping around behavior is a reaction to the loss of his lover: "I miss my baby tonight" One of the best uses of a sample (Patrice Rushen) ever.
followed by, in no order:
Perfect encapsulation of its era. He did a great version of this for MTV's Anniversary too. Anyone have that?
Something To Save
It's the songs that don't try too hard that are often the finest. This song stands up to the great pop artists of the 70's that George idolized: Elton and Stevie Wonder.
Jesus To A Child
This came out around the time of my first trip to England. A bold choice for a single: a pristine 7-minute ballad. The part at 5:17- "for every single memory has become a part of me" - always gets me. Heartbreaking.
Do You Really Want To Know
This was released at the height of AIDS paranoia and media coverage. He could have done a great video for it.
Kissing A Fool
Jazzy, smooth George. If you are a pop fan, you have probably attempted to belt along with this song. And failed.
Just a few years old, this song returns to the elegant disco of his earlier records.
A strutting dance track. I have a memory of this song that I cannot share on this blog. Everybody wants a lover like that...
There is often a of love in George's lyrics. This is a sweet memory of Wham/Andrew - a take on Elton's Captain Fantastic, autobiography as pop tune. "Let me show you where I lived... music felt like rain to the streets."
This Is Not Real Love
I think I am the only person who loves this song. Mutya is brilliant and GM was sharp as a tack to choose her.
This is here for the final lines: "Here I ammmmm" - I'm pretty sure he opened the Cover to Cover Tour with this, but he sang it - ironically - from behind the curtain.
My favorite covers - he does a lot of them - are: If You Were My Woman, I Believe When I Fall In Love, I Can't Make You Love Me, Killer/Papa Was A Rollin' Stone, Edith And The Kingpin, As, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and These Were The Days Of Our Lives.
*solo only. Secretly , my favorite GM track is dippy: Last Christmas.