The Jacksons: Destiny and Triumph
In 1978, America’s ultimate boy band declared its independence. Freed from the shackles of Motown (who retained the “5” in Jackson 5, as well as their superfluous sibling Jermaine), the Jacksons released their first self-produced album, Destiny, whose high-def funk and sophisticated balladry proved the adult brothers were a force to be reckoned with. Briefly. When Michael’s Off the Wall hit a year later, it was clear that fine R&B arrangements like “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” were mere demos for the more explosive music that powered the most astounding crossover act in history. As was confirmed by 1980’s Triumph, whose ensemble call to unity, “Can You Feel It,” found a much wider audience on that other ’80s landmark, The Jane Fonda Workout. But such were the ironies attending Michael’s coming of age, captured on reissues where every falsetto chirp and hiccup augurs greatness—and fleshed out by four remixes by disco-era DJ John Luongo.
© 2009 by Chris Norris