Jermaine Jackson

Jermaine Jackson

Arista, 1984

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Man, do I love this album. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when they re-released it on CD last year. Albums this good simply don’t deserve to be out of print indefinitely.  Second only to Madonna’s Like A Virgin, this is the very best that 1984 had to offer. It was certainly a fortunate time for the Jackson family, as there were no less than six Jackson-related projects released to the market virtually simultaneously. Before you knew it, the three Jackson girls were all competing for chart recognition and the six Jackson brothers had come together for the Victory album and a massive world tour. Jermaine was the busiest Jackson of all, since he not only contributed to Victory, but he also put out this amazing solo album and teamed up with artists like Whitney Houston, Pia Zadora, and Rockwell for their albums. He even delved into film soundtrack work, creating music for box office bombs like my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Voyage Of The Rock Aliens and Perfect starring John Travolta.

Despite so much activity early on, Jermaine’s self-titled ninth album remains his greatest triumph. He must have produced the album himself, since there is no producer credit listed. Though duets such as “Somebody’s Watching Me” and “When The Rain Begins To Fall” are conspicuously absent, his collaboration with Whitney Houston (“Take Good Care Of My Heart”) is here, as it is on her breakthrough debut album. Somewhat surprisingly, the biggest hit on Jermaine Jackson was “Do What You Do,” though I have always considered it to be the weakest song on the album. I may have found it to be a poor choice for a single, but it did register fairly high on the charts. That’s how much I knew!

Since this disc was released during the aerobics craze of the early ‘80s, it was bound to have at least one high-speed track to work out to. The frenetic “Some Things Are Private” fits the bill perfectly and is made even better by the fact that it is sandwiched between two mediocre ballads. Back when I was a kid, I skipped right over drippy songs like “Oh Mother,” preferring to play the other upbeat tunes instead. The first song “Dynamite” is the best of the bunch and is followed in quick succession by other standouts like the terrific dance track “Sweetest Sweetest” and his memorable duet with brother Michael, “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming.” Rounding out the classic first half is the Voyage Of The Rock Aliens cut “Escape From The Planet Of The Ant Men.” This number is pure fun that all kids are sure to love, though it would help to actually see the movie to put the words into some context.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve even grown to love the ballads. It’s a little sad that Michael Jackson’s Thriller swallowed up most every other album in its path, because Jermaine Jackson is just as impressive and deserved success in equal measure. Actually, Jermaine’s voice has more range than Michael’s does, but without a move like the Moonwalk, there was nothing Jermaine could do to prevent HIStory from being written.

Rating: A

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© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Arista, and is used for informational purposes only.