Michael Jackson - Thriller
Michael Jackson - Thriller (25th anniversary)
Album Comparisons: Thriller
Thriller was THE album of the 1980s. Mixing a diverse range of styles, including R&B, soul, rock, funk, and pop, and spawning seven singles - all of which scored in the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard charts - Michael Jackson's Thriller was a cultural phenomenon that broke down musical barriers and helped set the stage for the MTV revolution which followed. Shifting an incredible 65 million copies worldwide and continuing as a consistent seller to the present day, Thriller has been the recipient of eight Grammy awards and has even been included in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry of culturally significant recordings. So it goes without saying that this is a prime candidate for multiple digitally remastered re-releases, once in 2001, and then again in 2008. This comparison does not include the bonus remixes on the remaster, which are of no interest to me, nor does it include the Vincent Price excerpt or the previously unreleased "For All Time." It includes only the nine original album tracks.

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

1985 Epic CD release

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Baby Be Mine

1985 Epic CD release

Baby Be Mine

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

Baby Be Mine

The Girl Is Mine

1985 Epic CD release

The Girl is Mine

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

The Girl is Mine

Thriller

1985 Epic CD release

Thriller

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

Thriller

Beat It

1985 Epic CD release

Beat It

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

Beat It

Billie Jean

1985 Epic CD release

Billie Jean

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

Billie Jean

Human Nature

1985 Epic CD release

Human Nature

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

Human Nature

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

1985 Epic CD release

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

The Lady In My Life

1985 Epic CD release

The Lady in My Life

2008 25th Anniversary remaster

The Lady in My Life
And the winner is: 1985 Epic CD release. To be fair, the remaster generally sounds good despite the peak limiting that has been employed. There is definitely a loss in the high end frequencies when compared to the 1985 release, particularly in the drums/beats with the high hat and snare drum (noticeable right from the album opener "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin"), but this likely would not be important to a casual listener using low end equipment or an average car stereo. One song that I feel warrants special mention on the remaster is "Billie Jean." The techniques employed here alter the balance of the sound mix, causing the bass line to pump out with too much power relative to the rest of the mix, something that is particularly noticeable on a car stereo. Although the remaster is listenable, the 1985 Epic release sounds great all the way through, with the compact disc's dynamic range fully utilized, and I recommend it over the 2008 reissue.