Music: The Badder They Come

Michael Jackson busts out with his first album since Thriller

There is just no getting away from Bad. Even before its official release date on Aug. 31, there were plentiful rumors and heavyweight expectations about Michael Jackson's first solo record in five years. Among other things, the new album had to meet and match his 1982 Thriller, which sold an unprecedented 38.5 million copies around the world and made him into a pop-culture phenomenon, part dancing phantom and part homeboy Kewpie. Bad's first single, a bonbon called I Just Can't Stop Loving You, was a perfect love ballad for parlous times: sexy but hygienic, passionate but never lustful. Radio programmers grumbled...

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