It is hard to believe that one of pop music’s legends has turned 51 today. For some, it feels like yesterday that he first burst on to the global scene with his buddy Andrew Ridgeley and their “Choose Life” t-shirts taking the world by storm with their first global #1 hit “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”. George Michael was a gifted boy poised for success. That “boy” has now reached middle age. He continues to enthrall audiences with his astounding vocal ability and his enviable knack for superior songwriting. In a highly fragmented music scene, he might belong to the last generation of true “global superstars”. His posters continue to be on the walls of stores and salons in some of the remotest corners of the world. After an attack of pneumonia that almost killed him, a car accident in which he fell out of the moving vehicle and a recent collapse in his own home that led to him being rushed to a hospital, it appears that George Michael is back in the studio working on new material for a new album. Earlier this year, George topped the UK charts with his live album titled “Symphonica” but despite its success, many people view “Symphonica” as the “appetizer” and his next album as the highly desirable “George Michael main course of 2014” – one which we cannot wait to devour when it sees the light of day.
Typically, an artist (or anyone for that matter) should be the one making birthday wishes. This time, we’ve decided to reverse that tradition and make a “birthday wishlist” for George Michael in the context of the new album he is working on. We have a set of wishes that we can only hope he reads, and acknowledges – or better still, acts on! Those of you reading this article are welcome to add your own wishlist items in the comments section below. For now, here is our list of wishes that we hope George Michael will deliver on:
Please avoid vocoders: George Michael has an amazing voice and he does not need to resort to “voice enhancing” machinery such as Pro tools or vocoders. Perfection cannot be perfected even more. The attempt at doing that detracts and results in a sound that is distinctly sub-optimal. A noteworthy example is George Michael’s New Order cover “True Faith”.
Please spend time on song intros of up-tempo tracks: George Michael, in essence, is a popstar with the enviable ability of being able to write a perfect pop song – perfect from start to finish. Somehow, post 1998, the “start to finish” element of perfection started to disappear. In an age of instant and immediate gratification, people do not have the patience to endure a lackluster introduction to a great pop song. Noteworthy examples of lackluster intros to fantastic uptempo tracks include “An Easier Affair” and “White Light”. Interestingly enough, for the live version of “An Easier Affair”, George Michael added in a fantastic and a “quintessentially pop” intro. One can only wonder if he started to see the missing lacuna in the studio version of “An Easier Affair”. Either way, we would like him to revisit song intros BEFORE releasing the album as opposed to making course corrections on the concert tour to promote the album.
Please consider revisiting some of the tracks on the “lost” album “Trojan Souls”: “Trojan Souls” is a project George Michael was working on either in the late 80s or early 90s. It was a largely downtempo album but the songs (or at least the bits that have surfaced) are incredibly promising and have great hooks. There is one song in particular that one can only hope George Michael completes. This song can be considered the sonic twin of George’s hit classic “Kissing a Fool”. The song is called “You Slipped away from me”.
Please ensure that your up-tempo songs are not longer than they need to be: Most of George Michael’s fans will probably end up buying the new album and might not buy separate radio edits of tracks. George Michael’s 2004 album “Patience” had some brilliant moments but it also had some “dragged out” moments such as tracks like “Flawless” and “Precious Box”. These songs were great at their core but were stretched out in length to the point of creating fatigue in the ears of some listeners.
Please ensure that the lead single off the new album is an up-tempo track: We could be terribly wrong but we believe that the fortunes of George Michael would have played out very differently in the US if he had release “Fast Love” as his lead single off the “Older” album as opposed to “Jesus to a child”. While the US is probably no longer a high-priority market for George Michael, it would be nice to see him assault the US music scene with one of his infectious uptempo pop tracks as opposed to watching him get panned by critics for releasing “yet another ballad” (although we absolutely love his ballads). Lead singles serve as the first impression for a new album and given the overall mood of “Symphonica” earlier this year, George Michael should aim to deliver just the opposite – even if it just to remind the world of his versatility as an artist.
These are the only ones we could think of. Last, but not least, we would like to wish George Michael a very Happy 51st birthday. I had the pleasure of meeting George briefly at a promotional event a few days shy of his 41st birthday. It is so great to see him active in the business 10 years later. We wish him nothing but the absolute best and hope that he continues to write and perform for at least another three decades. Now, when can we have that new album Mr. Georgios Kyriacos Panayioiu?
We play a LOT of music by George Michael on our internet radio station and you can listen to us from ANYWHERE in the world on ANY device. In case you did not pick up on this earlier, the blog you are reading is affiliated with Radio Creme Brulee – an online radio station that features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades. The music of George Michael (both old and new) is a regular staple on our radio station. We don’t restrict ourselves solely to the singles. We also feature “rare for radio” George Michael songs such as “Edith And The Kingpin” and “Understand“. Alongside newer artists, we also play plenty of newer music by bands that rose to prominence in the 80s. Noteworthy examples include Simply Red, Wet Wet Wet, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Camouflage, Spandau Ballet, INXS, Depeche Mode, Johnny Hates Jazz, Simple Minds, and Culture Club.
Give us a spin when you get a chance.
We just might become your alternative of choice!