Michael Jackson: 'Bad (25th Anniversary Edition)' 

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Any successful '80s artist with the good sense to stay alive in the 21st century is bound to get the deluxe reissue treatment. That's what makes the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Bad so fascinating — MJ's unexpected death forces listeners denied the yet-to-come to contemplate the glory of what was. The remastered album itself sounds fantastic, and while the remixes are forgettable to bad, there are some very worthwhile demo versions — the hooky, solid "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" would have made a great single, the skeletal version of "Smooth Criminal" (called "Al Capone") is intriguing, and the driving dance number "Song Groove (Abortion Papers)" is worth it just for the controversial subject matter. It's a fantastic box set that will be showing up in the usual corners of the internet, but this is a rare example of why it's good to have the physical media —the liner notes are exhaustive and the DVD of his concert at Wembley Stadium looks and sounds good despite having been cobbled together out of iffy VHS sources. This one's a must-have for anyone who loves Jackson even a little; the quality and care put into assembling this reissue is no less than it deserves.

★★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

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