Introduction: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was an American artist and a best-selling singer, songwriter, dancer, and one of the most popular entertainers in the world. Known as the “King of Pop”, Jackson began his fame as a young child at the age of five. He was the lead singer of Jackson 5, a group made up of all the Jackson brothers. Jackson later moved on to a solo career where he found worldwide success and produced many number one hits off of his albums Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad. His album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 66 million copies worldwide; it is credited for breaking racial barriers, and transformed the video music medium into an art form and promotional tool.

Michael Jackson- Bad

Coming off the monumental success of his last album, Thriller, Michael Jackson set his sights on new highs with his newest project, Bad. Captivating this essence is the quote “100 Million,” which Michael had written on his bathroom mirror as motivation to sell more copies of Bad than Thriller. However, this quest was not just driven by megalomania, but rather a drive to push the limits of personal creativity and musical genius (Knopper, 165-167). Jackson’s ambition, coupled with the introduction of the Synclavier synthesizer, created the perfect storm as the musician embarked on a true artistic odyssey. The Synclavier was able to separate itself from other synthesizers due to the fact it gave the user complete control of the physical waveform of each sound the software produced. This, along with the plethora of other technological capabilities of the Synclavier lends itself to near limitless sounds and musical chords, which allowed Michael Jackson complete control of his creative process and helped him mature as a musician, lyricist and producer. Switching from the Moog synthesizer on Thriller, to the Synclavier on Bad, Jackson was able to push his sound to the cutting edge of mainstream pop and R&B by building off of his old familiar songs and adding modern flavor to it. As a result, Jackson took Bad a step farther by making these drumbeats louder and more pronounced in dynamics, giving it a cleaner timbre and a more computer generated, electronic sound than the analog grooves on Thriller and Off the Wall.