Deep Album Cuts Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!

With this series, it kind of helps to have a larger catalog, and with artists whose careers have encompassed 2 or 3 different acts, I've been kind of reticent to combine them into one playlist (I've only done it a couple times, with Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio, and with Parliament and Funkadelic). So really the only reason I hadn't done a George Michael or Wham! playlist sooner is that they didn't have more albums individually, and I wasn't so sure about combining them into one. But now, with Michael's passing last week, it feels right to look at his entire career, and listening to it all together, the Wham! records are really more of a piece with his solo work than I ever realized, with all due respect to Andrew Ridgely, who co-wrote and played guitar on some great songs and doesn't really deserve to be such a pop culture punching bag.

George Michael and Wham! Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. A Ray Of Sunshine
2. Nothing Looks The Same In The Light
3. Credit Card Baby
4. Heartbeat
5. Like A Baby
6. A Different Corner
7. Hand To Mouth
8. A Last Request (I Want Your Sex)
9. Look At Your Hands
10. Soul Free
11. They Won't Go When I Go
12. Something To Save
13. It Doesn't Really Matter
14. Move On
15. Cars And Trains
16. John And Elvis Are Dead

Tracks 1 and 2 from Wham!'s Fantastic (1983)
Tracks 3, 4 and 5 from Wham!'s Make It Big (1984)
Track 6 from Wham!'s Music From The Edge Of Heaven (1986)
Tracks 7, 8 and 9 from George Michael's Faith (1987)
Tracks 10, 11 and 12 from George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990)
Tracks 13 and 14 from George Michael's Older (1996)
Tracks 15 and 16 from George Michael's Patience (2004)

At the dawn of my awareness of popular music in the late '80s, George Michael was one of the handful of bold faced names I knew, alongside icons like Michael Jackson and Madonna. But then he spent the next decade seemingly in retreat, not showing his face in his biggest video hit of the '90s and reappearing looking like a Romulan for 1996's Older. He seemed at the time to take himself perhaps too seriously, disowning his teen idol image as forcefully as possible. But as we see more and more former teen stars from Justin Timberlake to Beyonce refashion themselves as more serious album artists, it feels like George Michael staked out a road map for them, and did it better than most. Before making this playlist, I hadn't really heard any of his albums besides Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, but over the years my esteem of Michael's talent had really gone up, pretty much every time I heard "Freedom '90" or "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

Obviously George Michael is often praised as a 'blue eyed soul' singer, although that's a term I'm not crazy about, but it does illustrate how steeped he is in R&B traditions, where that tremendous voice and those sinuous grooves came from. The first Wham! two albums feature covers of The Miracles and Isley Brothers hits, and "Credit Card Baby" is like "Where Did Our Love Go" run through the aesthetic of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." But there's something about his particular approach to those influences that really resonates and feels evergreen. 1983's "Nothing Looks The Same In The Light" and 2004's "Cars And Trains" are tracks that would sound fresh and timely if someone released them in 2016. I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy his later work, but I was impressed with it, and the songs "They Won't Go When I Go" and "John And Elvis Are Dead" feel especially poignant in light of his death.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Post a Comment