‘Thriller 40’ celebrates 40 years of the greatest album ever


Daniele Dalledonne from Trento, Italy | Wikimedia Commons

Dani Heba, Sports Editor

Michael Jackson’s estate and Sony released “Thriller 40” on Nov. 18 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of one of the most popular albums of all time.

“Thriller” was initially released on Nov. 30, 1982, and attained unprecedented commercial success. It achieved platinum status on Jan. 31, 1983 and by 1984 was 20-times platinum.

Currently, it is 34-times platinum and carries roughly 67 million sales worldwide, making it the best-selling album of all time.

Additionally, with the release of “Billie Jean,” Jackson broke down MTV’s color barrier. The song’s music video was the first video by a Black artist to be featured on the channel.

“Thriller 40” takes Jackson fans down memory lane and provides new content as well.

The album is divided into thirds: the first portion being the original album, the second is filled with new songs and the third brings remixes and demos of songs on the original.

The first portion features all nine of the original songs in their original form. However, the estate surprised fans with two new music videos in 4K: “Thriller” and “Beat It.” The updated graphics put a stunning spin on all-time classic videos.

The second portion features the part fans have been craving most, previously unreleased songs. These songs highlight Jackson’s strong vocals paired with a combination of ballads and upbeat music.

This part of the album starts off with the familiar intro beat to “Thriller,” but without the Halloween effects. Listeners will find themselves listening to Jackson singing completely different lyrics on the same beat.

 This song, called “Starlight,” was the earlier recording of what would become the eventual eponymous single, as at that time  “Thriller” had not even been thought of as a name.

Rather than “ ‘cause this is thriller, thriller night” being sung on the chorus, Jackson sings “we need some starlight, starlight sun/there ain’t no second chance/we got to make it while we can.” It’s astounding to see the turnaround from the love song that is “Starlight” to the eventual playful and spooky song.

Another unreleased track, “Who Do You Know,” is one of Jackson’s love songs that takes the listener through an emotional journey. He reminisces of a lover lost in this one, asking if anyone has seen her around. It’s quiet and moderate beat, combined with the artist’s iconic vocals, made this song a fan-favorite on “Thriller 40.”

“She’s Trouble” capped off the list of unreleased songs. It is one of the most upbeat and funky songs on the album, as Jackson sings about a girl he begins to fall for. “She may be bad, but she feels so good/I’ll give her anything she wants,” Jackson sings, emphasizing his lust.

There were three other songs that didn’t make the cut for “Thriller” in 1982 but were released in its aftermath and are in this second section of the album.

“Got the Hots” is an upbeat song that describes Jackson’s yearning for a girl that he just met and is an incredibly lively song, making it a fan-favorite of the second portion.

“Carousel” was previously released, and in fact, was originally supposed to make the cut for “Thriller.” However, it was scrapped last-minute and was replaced by “Human Nature.” “Carousel” is a laid-back, fun song where Jackson discusses getting ignored by a girl at the circus.

Finally, “Can’t Get Outta The Rain” comes in swinging, stepping into the funky beat of the song within the first few seconds of its opening. Originally a B-side of the singles “Billie Jean” and “The Girl Is Mine,” this song never made it on the final “Thriller” album.

The third portion of the album showcased demos and remixes of Jackson’s iconic songs, including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “Thriller” and “Human Nature.”

The release of “Thriller 40” has been a holiday gift to Jackson fans all over the world. Fans have been so excited that “Thriller” is now back on Billboard’s 200 chart at the no. 7 spot.

The anniversary album has provided fans with the opportunity to reminisce and enjoy new music from the King of Pop and has reminded the world why “Thriller” is the best-selling album of all time.