HIStory is Michael's best album, in my opinion. When I first started discovering his music; HIStory hit so many cords with me. It's so emotional, pained and packed full of so much of this angry energy that he clearly needed to let go of and you just feel him on this album in ways that none of his other albums did. Of course, the rest of his albums are masterpieces in their own right but this one was all him. Not one of these songs could have been given to another artist to sing, not one of these songs could have been done justice by anybody else. Each track told his story in some kind of way and I truly believe it is more autobiographical than his own book.
The 1-2-3 punch of "Scream", "They Don't Care About Us" and "Stranger In Moscow" is something that no one has ever topped before or after this album. It's the most amazing trio of songs to begin an album. "Scream" is one of my favorite Michael tracks, the loud and exciting production mixed with both MJ and Janet's angry, fierce vocals with these lyrics that just spoke to whoever was listening, plus that video! One of my favorite tracks ever. TDCAU, another one of Michael's signature tracks. The urgency of "SITUATION, AGGRAVATION, EVERYBODY ALLEGATION!", the blistering chorus, the impactful guitar solo. Then from the anger of the first two tracks to "Stranger In Moscow". First off, the contrast going from those tracks to this one is killer. "Stranger" has this production that screams loneliness. The introduction with only instrumental just leads you into this mood of isolation, but beauty. The echoes of the chorus, "How does it feel (how does it feel?), How does it feel?... when you're alone, and you're cold inside?" Haunting. Perfection. The ad-libs at the end I'M FEELING LONELY BAAAABE LIKE STRANGER IN MOSCOW! LORD I MUST SAY! (or whatever he's saying, lol! Jacksonese!)
"This Time Around" is underrated. This song should NOT be removed in my opinion and should have also been released in the US as a single because it was very R&B/hip-hop sounding but with Michael's flawless vocal. This is the first time you really hear Michael curse with a vengeance. "This time around, I'm taking NO SHIT!" The lyrics in this song are what really punch me right in the stomach. People like to say that a lot of this album is not relatable because it's too personal to him with that one theme of allegations and everything, but to me, all the tracks so far are relatable. I relate to this song because I've dealt with backstabbers; you could have been in a bad relationship with someone who was just using/abusing you, and you can relate to Michael's anger and pain that you feel throughout the song. I love the understated production, it gives a claustrophobic feel with the repeats of "He really thought, he really had a hold of me...(woah oh oh oh! woah oh oh oh oh!)" LOVE this track and couldn't go without it.
"Earth Song" is obviously one of Michael's most artistic and perfect tracks he's ever made. I don't really feel the need to indulge too much in it, because it seems for the most part everyone agrees this track is like MJ's magnum opus. SO, so far, we are 5 tracks into the album and I would say at least 3 of the tracks are some of Michael's most artistic and best songs to date (TDCAU, Stranger and Earth Song). Quite a feat for an album that a lot of people see as Michael's beginning downfall in music quality.
Now, to the controversial part of HIStory. "DS", "Money", and "Come Together". "D.S." is definitely one of Michael's worse tracks, lol. The chorus is cute but the verses are really not very good. This is the one track that I would delete from the album. Funnily enough, I feel more of his anger on the other tracks than on D.S. which is literally straight-forwardly about the accusations. "Money" is VERY underrated though. I love the spoken verses, the lyrics and the chants going into the very smooth, light choruses with the heavy lyrics. I don't see how anyone could want this song off the album either, it's actually very catchy. "Is that your alibi? I don't think so. You don't care. You do it for the money." YAS MJ!! "Come Together" is another GREAT track and the only reasons people wouldn't want it on the album is because it's a cover of a very popular track and because it was heard since the late 80s from Michael,even with a video, so I can see why it's inclusion was a confusion. I never heard it until I heard the album so I love it's placement. His vocals are HOT on it, damn. I could see why this would want to be removed though, in order for the album to be shorter or to include a newer track.
Now, I DO NOT understand any of the hate or the unwanting of these tracks on the album:
Just like the beginning of the album, it ends with some of his most artistic and flawless works. "Childhood" has this classical, soaring production matching with his pristine voice, I've never heard him sing with such passion and hitting those high notes like he's flying through the Heavens. That track is another one that literally goes through my veins, how a MJ fan could not like this song is baffling to me!! "HIStory" with it's kicking verses, light chorus, sampling of historical speeches, etc. OMG I just love the melodies in this one!! "Lord we need your assistance!" The huge chorus at the end with everyone singing and harmonizing together, "THE SOLDIER DIES! HER MOTHER CRIES! ALL NATIONS SING! LET'S HARMONIZE ALL AROUND THE WOOORLD!" Ugh. The emotion in this track kills me, it's literally an epic anthem. "Smile" is blissful. It was actually my favorite MJ track for a while. It encompasses what Michael Jackson was. Happiness, positivity, strength. Just like "Childhood", his vocals are like butter. Both this and Childhood have this classical vibe, as weird as this sounds I LOVE to watch the sunset and listen to these two tracks. Therapeutic definitely and NEEDS to stay on this album, artistic masterpieces.
"Little Susie"... don't even get me started. This is a haunting piece that, again, I think is up there with Michael's best. The melodies are beautiful but eerie, the story told is piercing to anyone with a soul, and is the OPPOSITE(!) of "pointless" or "needs to be off the album"... The violins and instrumentals all together with Michael's delicate vocals are just shiver inducing. I think what's scariest about this beauty of a track is that it almost tells the story of the final days of Michael's life. Nobody was taking care of him, nobody was watching over him to make sure he was being treated alright. In the book "Remember the Time", written by his bodyguards, they said that Michael had no friends. His children had birthday parties and nobody would come to celebrate with them. After he was acquitted, 50 out of 300 invited guests came. Neglect can kill like a knife. It hurts so much more to hear this track now that I feel it connects deeply to him after his death. "Everyone came to see the girl that now is dead", just like with Michael, they neglected him for years and then when he died suddenly everyone came around the woodworks. "but only the man from next door knew Little Susie oh he cried..." Another killer line because only Michael's true friends and family (that you can count on 2 hands), really knew him and really actually grieved unlike all the fake industry people. People please understand that this song is so important, the message is just so beyond true. emotional neglect can kill.
Ending on a more positive note: "You Are Not Alone", "Tabloid Junkie" and "2 Bad" are more of the commercial songs and I absolutely LOVE them. Especially Tabloid Junkie and 2 Bad. Those are some killer dance tracks. First off with Tabloid Junkie, the way he sings "YOU'RE PARASITIN', BLACK AND WHITE DO ANYTHING FOR NEWS!" And after the instrumental bridge, "WHY DO WE KEEP FOOLIN OURSELVES, BAYBAY! BAYBAY!" Whenever I dance to this or "2 Bad" it's a sweatathon. Flinging myself across the room trying to keep up with the anger and heavy beats.
As you can see, I LOVE this album and it holds some of his best work EVER. I would love for someone to challenge me saying that these are not some of his best songs of his career:
They Don't Care About Us
Stranger In Moscow
That's 7 tracks that are artistic masterpieces. And then don't forget that every other track that I mentioned are amazing also, I was just pointing out the fact that those songs are songs that only Michael could write and they were GENIUS. This is his best album and I love it.