This creeping anxiousness most certainly is the result of the album's thrilling predecessor. Those who care about such matters want to know how this album compares to [Michael] Jackson's last solo record, Thriller, the biggest-selling album ever with 38-million copies. The deck is stacked against the new one, of course. Thriller was, in many respects, a blueprint for pop music in the last five years - it has helped narrow the stylistic gap between black and white.
As a result, Bad's hard-rocking Dirty Diana can only be considered inconsequential when compared to Beat It - which, shockingly at the time, found a black artist singing over rock power chords. Neither does the new album have a gem that resonates with the clarity of Billie Jean. But then, Thriller had its filler: Bad contains nothing so silly as The Girl Is Mine nor as stupid as the song Thriller.
Jackson, 29, wrote eight of Bad's 10 tracks (double the amount of Thriller). The first four songs, each Jackson-penned, are all first-rate. The title tune is a kicking dance cut, reminiscent of 1979's Off the Wall but with updated production. The Way You Make Me Feel harks back to Jackson's Motown days, with its bouncy beat and happy hook. Speed Demon churns along relentlessly, and the lilting Liberian Girl is a smooth, jazzy ballad.