Thursday, 5 February 2009

1981 Michael Jackson: One Day In Your Life

'One Day In Your Life' is a 1975 album track shamelessly re-released by Motown to cash in on the success Jackson was having with his 'Off The Wall' album (which wasn't on Motown. None of the singles off it got to number one either). As a point of comparison, it's about as far from the pneumatic sheen of that album as you could get. There's no Quincy Jones studio trickery here; there's no walking basslines, no programmed drum loops and no Eddie Van Halen guitar solos - 'One Day' is a straightforward piano led ballad that you would never guess was leading into a Michael Jackson vocal until he actually starts singing.

And even then, the naked vulnerability of his single tracked voice and the absence of the usual trademark orgasmic yelps and squeals comes as something of a surprise. Jackson had already proved he could do R&B in his years with the Jackson 5, and later he would go on to take polish the pop template until it gleamed, though in both these incarnations there was always an element of
playing to the gallery that didn't necessitate the injection of too much humanity. But that's not a problem here; Jackson was still finding his range in 1975, and the cracking of his untrained voice on the high notes adds an extra dimension to yearning vulnerability of the lyrics, revealing a human side to the singer that showed he could hurt too in a way that the child star and 'King of Pop' (TM) never did. 'One Day In Your Life' may have shown that he clearly had no future as a crooner, but there is human emotion and human honesty in this recording that is strangely absent from the career's that bookend it.

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