LIS­TEN WITH­OUT PREJ­U­DICE/ MTV UN­PLUGGED Ge­orge Michael

Gay Times Magazine - - Agenda -

Re­leased in 1990, Lis­ten With­out Prej­u­dice was the first (though cer­tainly not last) time Ge­orge Michael stuck up his mid­dle fin­ger at the mu­sic in­dus­try. Com­pared to 1988’s Faith, the al­bum that made him a su­per­star, it’s a sub­dued and in­tro­spec­tive af­fair; the only real moment of dance-floor eu­pho­ria is the death­lessly bril­liant Free­dom!

‘90. Else­where, Ge­orge shows off his song­writ­ing skills with a Bea­tles-in­flu­enced acous­tic tune (Heal the Pain), a slow-build­ing lament (Wait­ing for That Day), and a so­cially con­scious bal­lad that still holds true to­day (the al­bum’s other big hit, Pray­ing for Time). Though the queer sub­text is less pro­nounced than it would be­come on 1996’s Older, es­sen­tially Ge­orge’s com­ing out record, his gay­ness is still etched in this al­bum’s DNA: the jazzy Cow­boys and An­gels was in­spired by a twisted love tri­an­gle in­volv­ing him, a wo­man and an­other man. This reis­sue, which ac­com­pa­nies Chan­nel 4’s ex­cel­lent documentary Ge­orge Michael: Free­dom, pairs the orig­i­nal al­bum with his MTV Un­plugged ses­sion from the Older cam­paign. To put it crudely, he sings the shit out of ev­ery­thing from Fast­love to Father Fig­ure. The re­sult is an es­sen­tial package that con­firms what we al­ready knew: Ge­orge Michael was the great­est Bri­tish pop star of his gen­er­a­tion.

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