Thriller 25

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Thriller 25
Studio album (reissue) by Michael Jackson
Released February 8, 2008
Recorded April 14 – November 8, 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios
October – November 2007
Genre R&B, pop, rock, urban, funk, dance-pop, hip hop, dance[1]
Length 67:11 (Disc)
28:32 (DVD)
Label Epic, Legacy, MJJ Productions
Producer Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, will.i.am, Akon, Kanye West, Bruce Swedien, Giorgio Tuinfort, Anthony Kilhoffer
Michael Jackson chronology
Visionary: The Video Singles
(2006)
Thriller 25
(2008)
King of Pop
(2008)
Alternative cover
Singles from Thriller 25
  1. "The Girl Is Mine 2008"
    Released: January 14, 2008
  2. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008"
    Released: January 23, 2008

Thriller 25 is the 25th anniversary edition reissue of American recording artist Michael Jackson's sixth studio album Thriller. The original album sold between 51 and 65 million copies worldwide, making it the world's best selling album of all time. The prospect of a "second chapter" to Thriller was first publicly discussed on Access Hollywood in late 2006. Jackson said he would discuss the idea with collaborator will.i.am. It was released in Australia on February 8, 2008,[2] internationally on February 11, 2008, and in the United States on February 12, 2008 by Epic Records, Legacy Recordings and MJJ Productions.[3]

Thriller 25 was released by Sony BMG's re-issue division, Legacy Recordings. In the United Kingdom, the BBFC gave it a '15' certificate because it included the video for "Thriller". It is the first Jackson album with an age certificate. Along with the original material, the reissue contained remixes, new material, a DVD and collaborations with several contemporary artists.

Two singles, "The Girl Is Mine 2008" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008", were released from the album to moderate success and a number of the other remixes charted, despite no physical release. Thriller 25 was a commercial success, selling three million copies worldwide in its 12 weeks, and was generally well received among critics, despite their view that the new material was not as inspiring as the original.

Background[edit]

Michael Jackson

Jackson released his sixth studio album, Thriller, on November 30, 1982. With sales estimated to be over 65 million copies worldwide, Thriller became the world's best selling album of all time; the album was the first in history to yield seven top-ten singles. The success of Thriller put Jackson into the dominating position of pop music, becoming an international pop-cultural icon.[4]

Jackson was asked about a "second chapter" to Thriller on Access Hollywood in late 2006. He said he would discuss it with collaborator will.i.am but hadn't yet considered it, "No I haven't really thought about it in that way but I would give it more thought. We haven't really discussed it yet, on that level, but I'm sure at some point we will. But it's a great thought."[5] will.i.am served as executive producer; the album's release was announced in an Epic Records press release on November 30, 2007.[6][7]

Release[edit]

Thriller 25 was released on CD and vinyl. Along with the original material there were seven bonus tracks. A new ballad called "For All Time" (with backing provided by Toto), Vincent Price's voice-over and five remixes featuring contemporary artists like Fergie and Akon.[8][9][10] It also includes a DVD featuring three award-winning music videos, the Emmy-nominated Motown 25 "Billie Jean" performance, and a booklet with a message from Jackson. "For All Time" supposedly dates from 1982, but leaks often credit it as being from Dangerous sessions.[11] Despite this, a new bridge was used in the Thriller 25 release.

On the iTunes Store, Zune Marketplace, and Amazon MP3, a "Super Deluxe Edition" can be purchased which also features the bonus material from Thriller: Special Edition, "Billie Jean (Underground Mix)", an instrumental "Thriller" mix, an extended "Billie Jean" and a digital booklet. Copies bought in Target, Best Buy, Circuit City and Independent Music Stores in the US feature the bonus tracks "Billie Jean (Four on the Floor Club Mix)", "Thriller (Def Thrill Remix)", "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Extended 12" Mix)" and "Billie Jean (Four on the Floor Radio Mix)" respectively. Sony also released a "fan pack" containing Thriller 25 and the Number Ones DVD.

Promotion[edit]

To help promote the album, Jackson's website was recreated and accounts on networking websites like MySpace and Facebook were set up.[12][13][14] On February 3, 2008 a Sobe advertisement was aired during Super Bowl XLII to over 95 million Americans, with Naomi Campbell and Sanam Nazar CGI lizards dancing to "Thriller". The ad aired again at the Grammys on February 10, 2008.[15] In the United Kingdom, Odeon Cinemas ran free Thriller viewings on February 8 and February 9, 2008 and television adverts announcing the release were aired throughout Europe.

"The Girl Is Mine 2008" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" were the first singles taken from the album. "The Girl Is Mine 2008" reached number two in Japan, three in Mexico, six in the Netherlands and the top twenty positions in the major European markets.[16][17][18] "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" reached number three in Sweden, four in New Zealand, eight in Australia, ten in France and thirty-two in Canada, but had disappointing sales in America.[19][20][21] These were Jackson's first singles since "One More Chance" in 2003. The album track "Beat It 2008" also began charting in European countries, reaching number 26 in Switzerland, 31 in Denmark, 43 in Sweden, 60 in Japan, 74 in Germany, 75 in Austria, and 77 in Canada.[17][22][23] as did "Billie Jean 2008", reaching 91 in Germany.

Commercial performance[edit]

Thriller 25 was a commercial success. It peaked at number one in 11 countries and Europe. It peaked at number two in the United States, number three in the United Kingdom and reached the top ten in over 30 national charts. Thriller 25 spent three weeks at number one in France and two weeks at number one in Belgium.[24] The album has been certified gold in 11 countries, including the UK. In Poland, the album was certified gold, reaching number six on the chart on its release day, and is Jackson's highest charting album in Norway.[25] In France Thriller 25 received a 2x Gold certification, and in Poland it was certified platinum.

In the United States, Thriller 25 was the second best-selling album of its release week, selling 166,000 copies, just 14,000 short of reaching the number one position. It was ineligible for the Billboard 200 chart as a re-release but entered the Pop Catalog Charts at number one (where it stayed for ten non-consecutive weeks),[26] with the best sales on that chart since December 1996.[27][28][29] That November, Thriller 25 spent an 11th non-consecutive week atop the US catalog chart. This brought US sales of the album to 688,000 copies, making it the best-selling catalog album of 2008, eventually selling 1.2 million US copies and three million shipments worldwide until Michael Jackson's death.[30][31] This was Jackson's best launch since Invincible in 2001.[32]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 5/5 stars[33]
Allmusic 5/5 stars[34]
Blender 4/5 stars[35]
IGN 6.5/10 stars[36]
Pitchfork Media 7.2/10 stars[37]
PopMatters 9/10 stars[38]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[39]
The Times 3/5 stars[40]

Critics reacted positively to the album, much like their review on the original. All reviews noted that the album is still enjoyable, twenty-five years on. Allmusic explains, "... 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'' and 'Billie Jean' remain startling in their futuristic funk and 'Baby Be Mine' ... sounds positively incandescent ..." [41] Rolling Stone gave it a full five stars while giving the original only four saying: "Thriller [25] has MJ at his breathiest and most salacious ('PYT'), and his most beautifully fragile ('Human Nature', so open and brave it makes 'She's Out of My Life' seem phony)".[42]

MTV says, "... it's pretty rare to see a reissue loaded with as much contemporary appeal as this one", and reacted positively to the new tracks, calling them "silver bars".[43] The new material received further praise, with the ballad "For All Time" being described as "perfectly fine" by Allmusic.[41] Rolling Stone described the new version of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" as "actually kind of great — he [Akon] slows it down into a piano ballad, lingering over the easily obscured lyrics."[42] Pop Matters stated that the new version of "The Girl Is Mine" is better than the original, not losing anything with the removal of Paul McCartney.[44] However, most critics agreed that the new versions were not as inspiring as the originals; some even said that the guest artists were the wrong choice. Allmusic notes, "for whatever reason, such Michael-mimicking superstars as Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown did not participate, but Akon, Fergie, and will.i.am did."[41]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"   Michael Jackson Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (co) 6:02
2. "Baby Be Mine"   Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 4:20
3. "The Girl Is Mine" (with Paul McCartney) Michael Jackson Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (co) 3:42
4. "Thriller"   Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 5:57
5. "Beat It"   Michael Jackson Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (co) 4:18
6. "Billie Jean"   Michael Jackson Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (co) 4:54
7. "Human Nature"   Steve Porcaro, John Bettis Quincy Jones 4:06
8. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"   James Ingram, Quincy Jones Quincy Jones 3:59
9. "The Lady in My Life"   Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 4:59
10. "Vincent Price Excerpt from Thriller Voice-Over Session"   Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 0:24
11. "The Girl Is Mine 2008" (with will.i.am) Michael Jackson, William Adams, Keith Harris Michael Jackson, will.i.am 3:10
12. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008" (with will.i.am) Michael Jackson, William Adams, Keith Harris Michael Jackson, will.i.am 4:21
13. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" (with Akon) Michael Jackson, Aliaune Thiam, Giorgio Tuinfort Michael Jackson, Akon, Giorgio Tuinfort 4:14
14. "Beat It 2008" (with Fergie) Michael Jackson Michael Jackson, will.i.am 4:11
15. "Billie Jean 2008" (with Kanye West) Michael Jackson Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Anthony Kilhoffer 4:36
16. "For All Time"   Michael Sherwood, Steve Porcaro Michael Jackson 4:04
Japanese bonus track
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
17. "Got the Hots"   Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones 4:27
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
17. "Quincy Jones Interview #1"       2:19
18. "Someone in the Dark"   Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 4:47
19. "Quincy Jones Interview #2"       2:04
20. "Billie Jean" (Home Demo from 1981) Michael Jackson Michael Jackson 2:20
21. "Quincy Jones Interview #3"       3:10
22. "Rod Temperton Interview #1"       4:03
23. "Quincy Jones Interview #4"       1:32
24. "Voice-Over Session from Thriller"   Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 2:52
25. "Rod Temperton Interview #2"       1:56
26. "Quincy Jones Interview #5"       2:01
27. "Carousel"   Michael Sembello, Don Freeman Quincy Jones 1:49
28. "Quincy Jones Interview #6"       1:17
29. "Billie Jean" (Underground Mix) Michael Jackson Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (co) 6:40
30. "Thriller" (Instrumental) Rod Temperton Quincy Jones 5:57
DVD: Thriller Music Videos and Live Performance
No. Title Writer(s) Director(s) Length
1. "Billie Jean"   Michael Jackson Steve Barron 4:54
2. "Beat It"   Michael Jackson Bob Giraldi 4:56
3. "Thriller"   Rod Temperton John Landis 13:33
4. "Billie Jean" (Live from Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever) Michael Jackson   4:56
DVD: Number Ones (Wal-Mart Fan Pack)
No. Title Writer(s) Director(s) Length
1. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"   Michael Jackson Nick Saxton 4:11
2. "Rock with You"   Rod Temperton Bruce Gowers 3:22
3. "Billie Jean"   Michael Jackson Steve Barron 4:55
4. "Beat It"   Michael Jackson Bob Giraldi 4:56
5. "Thriller"   Rod Temperton John Landis 13:43
6. "Bad"   Michael Jackson Martin Scorsese 4:20
7. "The Way You Make Me Feel"   Michael Jackson Joe Pytka 6:43
8. "Man in the Mirror"   Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard Donald Wilson 5:02
9. "Smooth Criminal"   Michael Jackson Colin Chilvers 4:16
10. "Dirty Diana"   Michael Jackson Joe Pytka 5:08
11. "Black or White"   Michael Jackson John Landis 6:22
12. "You Are Not Alone"   R. Kelly Wayne Isham 5:37
13. "Earth Song"   Michael Jackson Nicholas Brandt 7:29
14. "Blood on the Dance Floor"   Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley Michael Jackson and Vincent Paterson 4:15
15. "You Rock My World"   Michael Jackson, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels, Nora Payne Paul Hunter 10:26
Notes
  • On the iTunes Super Deluxe Edition, it includes an extra track "Billie Jean (Long Version)" as track number 17 moving "Thriller (Instrumental)" as track number 31.
  • The Target, Best Buy, and Independent US Music Store Bonus Track editions were labeled incorrectly as "Billie Jean (1982 Club Remix)", "Thriller (1982 Def Remix)", and "Billie Jean (1982 Radio Edit Mix)" respectively. These mixes were actually made in 1992, as part of a remix project by Jackson and various DJs in the early '90s.
  • The Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Independent US Music Store releases do not mention the bonus tracks in the booklet, but they do appear as separate tracks on the CD. The bonus tracks are only mentioned on a sticker that appears with these respective releases.

Thriller 25: Japanese Single Collection[edit]

In 2008 a limited edition of Thriller 25 was released in Japan.[45]

Personnel[edit]

  • Executive producer: Michael Jackson

"The Girl Is Mine 2008"

  • Keyboards and synths: Harris
  • Producer/engineer/mixer/drums/keys: will.i.am

"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008"

  • Keyboards and synths: Keith Harris
  • Saxophone: Tim Izo
  • Trumpets: Printz Board
  • Background vocals: Garcia/Battle
  • Producer/engineer/drums/keys: will.i.am

"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008"

  • Instrumentation and programming: Akon/Tuinfort
  • Tracking Engineer: Padraic Kerin
  • Mixer: Dylan "3-D" Dresdow
  • Producers: Jackson/Akon/Tuinfort

"Beat It 2008"

  • Producer/drums/synths/keys: will.i.am
  • Engineers: Padraic Kerin/Dylan "3-D" Dresdow/will.i.am

"Billie Jean 2008"

  • Engineers/mixers: Kilhoffer/Dresdow/Dromgoole/Hertwech/Wheeler/Houge
  • Keyboards: Bhasker/Kilhoffer/Caruso
  • Producers: Jackson/West/Kilhoffer

"For All Time"

  • Recorded by Bruce Swedien
  • Keyboards: Porcaro/Paich
  • Guitar: Lukather
  • Drums: Porcaro
  • Mixer: Guzauski/Bender
  • Producer: Jackson [46]

Charts and certifications[edit]

End of year charts[edit]

Year Country Chart Ranking
2008 Australia[71] ARIA 37

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing country, record label, and format
Country Date Label Format
Australia February 8, 2008 Epic Records,
Legacy Recordings,
MJJ Productions
CD, LP record,
Digital download
Germany
Italy
Philippines[72]
Europe February 11, 2008
United Kingdom
United States February 12, 2008
Taiwan February 15, 2008
Japan February 20, 2008
Canada March 11, 2008
France March 28, 2008
Haiti
South Africa
Tanzania

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