It's been 23 years since George Michael released his solo
debut album, Faith. Forsaking the light and poppy feel of his
musical duo Wham! for something a bit more edgy, Michael turned
heads with the release in 1987. The newly remastered and reissued
version of the album is available on a 2-CD edition and it sounds
fantastic. The songs have extra punch and clarity that the original
CDs were lacking, and the sound seems warmer, more like listening
to a record album. The second CD is full of b-sides and alternate
mixes and is a nice companion to this fine album.
"Faith" starts the record off in its no-nonsense way, complete
with giant snare drums and punchy kicks that carry the acoustic guitar
and biting vocals all the way through its 3 minute 13 second run.
It is immediately recognizable why this album was such a hit when
it was released
but the next track, "Father Figure",
is just as beautifully produced, with its scores of background vocals
pristine and dynamic, once more revealing the depth of the remastering
on this CD. "I Want Your Sex( Parts 1 & 2)" sounds as
good, if not better, than it ever has before. The remastering has
once more punched out the rhythms and made everything more clear and
dynamic. On this song, there are all kinds of small things that I
had never noticed in the recording before. The single is grand enough,
but when "Part 2" kicks in with its horns and funky guitars
the song launches into outer space, although it seems that the song
could have been cut quite a bit shorter than its over-9-minute running
time. "One More Try" was the ballad single off the record
and stands today as as fine a ballad from the late 1980s as one would
hope for. It's a fantastic song and once again the remastering brings
out subtle nuances that make the song spring to new life.
The B-side of the album is good, but not as spectacular as the first
songs were. The obvious exception is the dance classic "Monkey".
This song made a small splash in the clubs, and it sounds great remastered
ready for a new market with new clubgoing public. The second disc
is certainly not essential listening, with such gimmicky things as
an (slightly anemic) instrumental version of "Faith" and
the A Capella rendering of "Monkey", but there are some
great songs, too. The Shep Pettibone remix of "Hard Day"
is edgy and tight and "Fantasy" has a groove that pre-dates
the Madchester scene, but contains many of the elements that would
play heavily in that scene.
This record, especially the A-side, doesn't sound nearly as dated
as I would have imagined at first thought. The songs have a power
and clarity that has lasted through the intervening decades, and
easily makes this a classic album, ready for listening by an entirely
new generation of music listeners
hopefully they can find
it on a download store or wherever kids actually get music these
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