Music Review: George Michael, Faith (Deluxe Edition)

I was all ready to write a very sarcastic review of George Michael's Faith, remastered in a new edition close to the 25th anniversary of its original release.

Let's face it – our buddy George is a pretty fun target. First, he made a name for himself as part of Wham!, the pop duo that became eponymous with '80s pop (destined for a short lifespan because of their cheeky use of an exclamation mark in their name). Then he kicked his pal Andrew Ridgely to the curb to make a solo name for himself. His album Faith was released in 1987, shattered records and made every girl in my high school get all swoony. This was back when George's voice was what people talked about, before he decided to start dating in public men's rooms.

Now, we're given this new "Deluxe Edition" of Faith with remastered original tracks, and a bunch of remixes.

Like I said: I was all ready to poke some fun. But truthfully? After giving Faith a listen, this album is pretty damn good. Turns out most of these songs have aged pretty well.

The titular song is, let's face it, compulsively singable. "Faith" has a great pop twang to it, and Michael's over-the-top breathiness is tempered by a buoyant melody, tight harmonies, and a faux-rockabilly guitar. It's fun, and a solid, tongue-in-cheek choice if you're bullied into Karaoke Night with your friends. Trust me on this one.

Scroll through the rest of the tracks tracks and you'll find George bringing out the crooner in the slow waltz "One More Try" and the bluesy "Kissing a Fool" which, laugh if you want, has the ring of a 1940s Nelson Riddle standard.

The other mid-tempo and upbeat tracks on the album ("Hard Day," "Monkey,") may wear thin after a couple plays, but it's easy to listen to them and hear where George developed that signature vocal swagger. If you like pop candy, these cheeky songs will insinuate their way into your brain and stay there for a while.

And then there are the songs that don't work. I always thought "I Want Your Sex" was lame, even back in the day. Way too blunt to be provocative, like trying to seduce someone with a sledgehammer. Same with "Father Figure." Heavily produced with too much sleazy synthesizer and what sounds like a full choir, laying it on way too thick. Still? 24 years later, good outweighs bad here.

The remixes on this edition, by the way? Forgettable. More and more, benchmark albums from the '80s are being re-released as their anniversaries roll out, and they all seem to have the same bonus tracks: instrumental versions. A cappella versions. At least one inevitable Shep Pettibone re-do.

You're not going to buy this deluxe edition for the bonus tracks, because they're not worth it. If you buy it, it'll be because you want some of that old George Michael swagger back in your walk. Even if you keep it to yourself.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...