Friday, April 28, 2017

"Torture" by The Jacksons

Song#:  2025
Date:  08/18/1984
Debut:  48
Peak:  17
Weeks:  12
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Riding on the wave of Michael's success, the Jackson brothers reassembled for the Victory album and associated tour. The LP's first single, the Michael Jackson/Mick Jagger duet "State of Shock," did enough business to reach #3 at Pop and #4 R&B. This follow-up tune, written by Jackie Jackson and Kathy Wakefield, couldn't get nearly that high on the charts. It stalled outside of the Top 10 at both Pop and R&B (#12). However, it did a little better at Dance where it got to #9. The song was originally supposed to be a duet between Jackie and Michael, but the last minute involvement of Jermaine into the reunion allowed him to take over Jackie's part. It would be Jermaine's only lead vocal on the album. The track would be The Jacksons' final one to reach the Pop Top 40.

ReduxReview:  The Victory album was not one where all the Jackson brothers worked close together on everything. It wasn't harmonious either and that showed in the results. It's not a very good album. However, there were two bright points - "State of Shock" and this song. While I wouldn't say this track is outstanding in anyway, I do think it is a pretty good synthpop-ish jam with a lot of 80s keyboard sound effects. It doesn't come up to the standards set by Michael and Quincy Jones, but it's not too bad. I think it helped to have Michael on board with this one for vocals. Without him, I'm not sure the song would have gotten much attention. For the Jacksons, it was pretty much downhill from here.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The video for this song was quite memorable. It featured the Jackson brothers being tortured in various ways and the later turned into claymation-style skeletons. Apparently the title of the song was an apt description of the video shoot. Although Michael had participated in the initial idea sessions for the video, he eventually could not appear in it due to other commitments. Jermaine simply declined to participate. There were cost overruns, a change in choreographers (Jackie's girlfriend , a Laker girl named Paula Abdul took over duties), delays, a wax figure of Michael being used, etc. The whole shoot was a mess and in the end it even drove the production company into bankruptcy. The finished video played fine on MTV, but it didn't do well enough to make the song a big hit.


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