The album: Michael Jackson: Off The Wall (1979)
Martín Perna of Antibalas wanted to revisit one of the formative albums of his childhood: Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall. For many MJ fans, this is the king of pop’s greatest work, a clear statement that he was now fully out of the shadow of the Jackson 5 and, along with super-producer Quincy Jones, ready to remake American pop music as we know it.
Perna not only brought his memories of growing up, mesmerized by the cover of the album, but his multi-instrumentalist also broke down some of the secrets behind the production on the album. Even for deep fans, there’s something to learn, and for everyone else, you get to hear from one of the great pop albums of all time. (And if you haven’t heard it before, check out this incredible demo version of “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough”)
Next week’s episode is also about Michael Jackson as director Justin Simien (Dear White People) joins us to talk about MJ’s HIStory (1995).
And look for a bonus beats episode to post soon that features Perna and us talking about the never-ending “Off the Wall vs. Thriller” debate.
More on Off the Wall
- A track-by-track breakdown of the album (Billboard)
- “How Michael Jackson rebranded himself for his first solo album” (The Undefeated)
- “Michael Jackson starts work on Off The Wall” (The Guardian)
More on Martín Perna
- Interview with Breakdown FM.
- “Antibalas: Unification Through Diversification (Tomorrow’s Verse)
- Website | Twitter
Show Tracklisting (all songs from Off the Wall unless indicated otherwise):
- “Off The Wall”
- Antibalas: Antibalas “Dirty Money”
- The Wiz “You Can’t Win”
- “She’s Out of my Life”
- Jackson 5: ABC “ABC”
- “Get On The Floor”
- “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”
- “I Can’t Help It”
- Fela Kuti: Upside Down “Upside Down”
- “Rock With You”
- “Burn This Disco Out”
- “It’a The Falling In Love”
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About the show
Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.
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