George Michael

Columbia, 1987

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Only someone like George Michael could make organ music popular.

The instrument opens the album on the title track and is used yet again on “One More Try,” which is perhaps the dullest song George has ever recorded.  Yeah, the song did go to No. 1, but I have a funny feeling that people remember the No. 2 hit “I Want Your Sex” more than that one.  Also featured on the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop 2, “I Want Your Sex” is just one of the many high points to be found on the debut album by this gifted singer.

What made this album so successful is that it appealed to almost everyone when it was first released in the conservative Republican year of 1987. It presented a far more mature, completely made-over George Michael to the masses. From its engaging material to the professional packaging and design, Faith was destined to become an instant classic.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

You could snap your fingers to the title song and to its sister ballad “Father Figure.” It was clearly evident from these two deceptively simple songs that it was back to basics for George Michael, who opted to produce the album himself. This is as far from Wham! that Michael could have possibly gotten while still staying pop.

Even when he switches into carnal mode on “I Want Your Sex,” it is a surprisingly smooth transition. The song’s content and racy video did stir up quite a bit of controversy, though George did his best in trying to promote monogamy over promiscuity. Another message song is the anti-drug hit, “Monkey,” which is undoubtedly the strangest track in his entire catalog. Again, the video is what helped to sell the song.  Long before Ricky Martin shook his bon-bon, we had George Michael showing the guys how it’s done.

Mediocre songs like “Hand To Mouth” and “Look At Your Hands” end up getting lost in this mix because the other songs are just so strong. For example, “Hard Day” may have ended up as a B-side, but it holds up so well on its own and was ultimately included on George’s first greatest hits compilation, Ladies & Gentlemen. What makes this particular song a must-own is the fact that it is only the second (and last) time you will ever hear him try his hand at rapping -- the first being "Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)." 

Tucked in near the end of the album is the revelation “Kissing A Fool.”  Like “I Want Your Sex,” this is a unique song that deserved a better fate, since it shows off Michael’s stunning vocal ability and range. “Kissing A Fool” is a jazzy torch song that blows the other tracks on Faith out of the water.

Not content to just quit while he’s ahead, George Michael inexplicably tacked a redundant remix of “Hard Day” and an anticlimactic “I Want Your Sex - Part 3 (A Last Request)” on to the end of the album.  Sorry, George, but you pushed things too far in the wrong direction with these two unnecessary additions.  “I Want Your Sex - Part 2” was bad enough with the laughable - and repeated - line, “I know we can come together / the question is, will we ever?”  Ugh. Get your mind out of the gutter, George, it’s the size of your TALENT that really matters.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B-



© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia, and is used for informational purposes only.