Top critical review
Thoughtless re-issue of re-issued material
on February 15, 2002
Though this is a great and enjoyable collection of pop music history especially suited for novices of Michael Jackson's music, for the majority of Jackson's fans it is merely just a re-issue of "History Begins", the first CD of Jackson's 1995 History double-CD album.
By having this familiar compilation re-issued as its own single-disc-priced release, it is obvious that this is just a profit-making exercise by Epic (Jackson's record label). If Epic had put more thought into the naming of this release they would have realized that by calling it "Volume 1", which covers hits off albums from Jackson's undisputed glory days (1979's Off The Wall, 1982's Thriller, 1987's Bad, and 1991's Dangerous), they would effectively dig themselves into a rut because a future "Volume 2" release, realistically-speaking, could not rival Volume 1 if it were to be solely reliant on material off Jackson's newer but comparatively-weaker albums (1995's History Continues [History Disc 2], 1997's Blood On The Dance Floor [mostly remixes], and 2001's Invincible). Instead, a "Greatest Hits Volume 1" compilation similar to the abandoned 1989 "Decade" greatest hits project, which was to have compiled songs from only his Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad albums, would have been a far wiser move by Epic. By including classic tunes such as Off The Wall, Human Nature, and Smooth Criminal in place of Black Or White, Remember The Time and Heal The World (which would be kept for inclusion in a "Greatest Hits Volume 2") would have firstly, actually offered Jackson fans something new therefore giving them an incentive to actally buy the compilation, and secondly, would have ensured a much stronger Volume 2 compilation for the future thanks to the strong material on the Dangerous album.
This release is a wasted opportunity for what could have been a solid definitive SERIES of Michael Jackson's greatest hits, however I'd recommend this CD over the recent "Number Ones" CD as this one does not contain "One More Chance", arguably Michael's worst song ever released. 5 stars for the music, and 1 star for this being a thoughtless re-issue of an already-available compilation of re-issued material - an average of 3 stars for this release.