Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Singles #8: Michael Jackson - Jam (1992)

Jam is the first track of the Dangerous album, and it literally opens the album with a bang, or rather, a shatter of glass. Having worked with uber producer Quincy Jones for his previous three solo albums, MJ decided to stop the partnership and enlist the help of New Jack Swing inventor Teddy Riley as well as Bill Botrell (who would go on to produce Sheryl Crow's debut album. Coincidentally, Sheryl Crow sang backup for MJ during his Bad tour).

The tough street sound of Jam marks a musical departure for MJ. Where Off The Wall was a disco record and Thriller essentially being an R&B record, Bad suggested a hint of the pop sound that was to come, fully realised here in Dangerous.

Jam sees MJ rapping in a straight, tuneless and rhythmless manner, and he is accompanied by Heavy D on the rap portion. The trumpet sounds are a nice touch and add a sense of urgency to the song.

Jam failed to crack the Top Ten of the Hot 100 and only managed #26. The video is one of the coolest MJ videos ever as it features two of my idols, 2 MJs in fact: Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. Here were two African American artistes at the top of their game (though one is visibly lighter than the other) and it was fascinating seeing them together goofing around.

In the vid, MJ tries to teach Jordan how to dance while Jordan tries to teach MJ how to shoot hoops. Jordan is very sporting here and gamely tries to emulate MJ's dance moves. Here, you can also see MJ giving a demonstration of his famous moves, including the moonwalk and his iconic poses.

Jam is a great opener for the Dangerous album and it signalled the arrival of a new MJ sound. You should know by now that I love the whole Dangerous project, and there are many more reasons to come.

This single below is the US version, containing 4 remixes of Jam and one remix of Rock With You.

This version below contains a remix of Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' instead.

This Maxi-Single #2 version contains six remixes of Jam.

This cardboard sleeve version has only 2 tracks, the other being Moby's Sub Mix of Beat It. Yes, this is the Moby before he hit it big with the Play album in 1999. I must admit that his remix of Beat It is quite good, especially since I've never been a big fan of remixes.


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