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Pop - Released October 20, 2017 | Sony Music CG

Hi-Res Distinctions Best New Reissue
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Pop - Released January 31, 2011 | Epic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 31, 2011 | Epic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 30, 1998 | Sony Music Entertainment

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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Virgin EMI

Gestating for a long time -- at least two years, although George Michael hasn't released an album for a decade -- Symphonica is a curious way for the pop singer to return to action. A live album recorded on his 2011-2012 tour, Symphonica showcases a singer on the supper club circuit, trading in a few of his big hits, all middle-brow favorites ("Praying for Time," "One More Try," "A Different Corner") and spending a lot of time on songs the audience knows and love, whether it's Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," Anthony Newley's "Feeling Good," or the American Popular Songbook standard "My Baby Just Cares for Me." Michael does indulge in some personal favorites -- —he tackles Terence Trent D'Arby's "Let Her Down Easy" and the deep Elton John track "Idol" -- but the context is something familiar: a popular singer luxuriating in a symphonic setting. He doesn't push the limits of this template, choosing to enjoy the lush surroundings, so this winds up slightly anti-climactic: Michael is in good form but he's coasting, doing no more than he needs to, satisfying fans without surprising. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 17, 2008 | Aegean - Epic

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Pop - Released January 5, 1996 | Sony Music UK

Older is the album that many observers initially believed Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 to be -- a relentlessly serious affair, George Michael's bid for artistic credibility. It's an album that makes Listen Without Prejudice sound like Faith. Michael has dispensed with the catchy, frothy dance-pop numbers that brought him fame, concentrating on stately, pretentious ballads -- even "Fastlove," the album's one dance track, lacks the carefree spark of his earlier work. Although Michael's skills as a pop craftsman still shine through -- several songs are well-constructed ballads that rank with his best material -- his earnestness sinks the album. It is one thing to be mature and another to be boring. Too often, Michael mistakes slight melodies for mature craftsmanship and Older never quite recovers. When melodies do pop up, he doesn't deliver them with enough force to make an impact, and the album slowly disappears as a result. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Pop - Released November 8, 2019 | Sony Music CG

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Pop - Released January 5, 1999 | Sony Music UK

Unlike many covers albums, Songs from the Last Century is a cohesive, enjoyable diversion. With the help of co-producer Phil Ramone, George Michael has crafted a warm, intimate album built around a small combo of piano, guitar, bass, and drums. Orchestras, big bands, harps, and on one occasion, a rock band augment the basic combo, yet the flourishes never change the essential, close-knit nature of the group. For the first time ever, Michael sounds relaxed. He's lying back, singing songs he loves, not worrying about chart success, and the end result is quite fetching, even if it isn't perfect. The main flaw with Songs from the Last Century is that it's so smooth, it's occasionally a little sleepy, a trait that's emphasized by Michael's fairly predictable taste in covers -- "Brother Can You Spare a Dime," "My Baby Just Cares for Me," and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," among others. Nevertheless, he does bring style and sophistication to these standards, even such often-covered yet still difficult tunes as "Wild as the Wind." When his selections are idiosyncratic -- whether it's a jazzy reading of "Roxanne," the brassy "Secret Love," the little-remembered "I Remember You," or a revelatory reading of "Miss Sarajevo," a song commonly dismissed as a U2 side project -- the album is delightful. Certainly, Songs from the Last Century isn't a major work; it's a way for Michael to decompress and have some fun, and the diehards who stuck with him through the turbulent '90s are likely to be charmed. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Sony Music UK

Almost immediately after he became an international superstar with 1987's Faith, George Michael developed a complex that he was not taken seriously as an artist. He was right -- he wasn't being taken seriously, but at the height of their success, mainstream pop stars rarely are; it's only after they've been around for a while that critics and audiences alike appreciate the craft behind their best work. Elton John and Madonna both are pop icons who earned good reviews after they proved their lasting power, but Michael, for want of a better phrase, didn't have enough patience to wait to be regarded as an artist, not just a pop star. So, he followed Faith with 1990's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1, whose very title was a plea to skeptics to shed their preconceived notions of him and hear the music anew. At the time, it seemed like this was temporary hiccup, a somber exorcism Michael needed to work through as an artist, but over the years, it's clear that this was the blueprint for his solo career. Not that there have been that many albums since then, of course. Michael took six years to deliver Older, a delay that was initially blamed on a vicious battle with his record company, Sony, but its own successor, Patience, didn't appear for another eight years, a time which not only had no spats with the label but also saw him re-signing to Sony. Those long, long separations between albums suggest that Michael is a painstaking perfectionist in the studio, and Patience sure sounds like the work of a musician who spent every day of those eight years working on these 14 tracks (12 on the U.S. version; the anti-Bush and -Blair "Shoot the Dog" was excised for the American CD, presumably because it would be too controversial, but who knows why the reprise of "Patience" was cut). While there are unifying lyrical and musical themes throughout the album, each track is its own entity, scrubbed, polished, and manicured without regard to how it fits alongside the next. There's an excessive attention to detail to each song, and that tunnel vision means each song runs about a minute or two longer than it should, which ultimately makes Patience seems twice as long as its actual running time. That's unfortunate because the core of the album is quite good: it's hard not to admire his studiocraft, there's a starkly confessional streak in his writing that's disarmingly direct, and, as an album, it balances the moody ballads and sleek neo-disco better than Older, feeling much brighter than that claustrophobic affair. If there's a lack of incessantly catchy hooks or undeniable rhythms -- in other words, singles as indelible as those on Faith, or even Listen Without Prejudice -- that feels like a conscious decision by Michael, as if any concession to chart-bound pop would cheapen his music and diminish his chances of being taken seriously. They would have lightened the mood of the decidedly somber and portentous Patience, which is clearly not what Michael wants, since by stretching out each song and burying his hooks beneath the album's shiny surfaces and preponderance of mid-tempos, he's forcing listeners to work to understand his intentions. For some fans, it's worth the effort, particularly since it's his best album since Listen Without Prejudice (not saying much since it's only his second album of original material since then), but it's hard not to hear it and think that Michael's ultimate ambitions would be better served if he tightened up and lightened up just a little bit. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 1, 2011 | Epic

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Pop - Released November 6, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released November 6, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Virgin EMI

Gestating for a long time -- at least two years, although George Michael hasn't released an album for a decade -- Symphonica is a curious way for the pop singer to return to action. A live album recorded on his 2011-2012 tour, Symphonica showcases a singer on the supper club circuit, trading in a few of his big hits, all middle-brow favorites ("Praying for Time," "One More Try," "A Different Corner") and spending a lot of time on songs the audience knows and love, whether it's Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," Anthony Newley's "Feeling Good," or the American Popular Songbook standard "My Baby Just Cares for Me." Michael does indulge in some personal favorites -- —he tackles Terence Trent D'Arby's "Let Her Down Easy" and the deep Elton John track "Idol" -- but the context is something familiar: a popular singer luxuriating in a symphonic setting. He doesn't push the limits of this template, choosing to enjoy the lush surroundings, so this winds up slightly anti-climactic: Michael is in good form but he's coasting, doing no more than he needs to, satisfying fans without surprising. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 14, 1996 | Sony Music CG

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Pop - Released September 7, 2017 | Sony Music CG

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Pop - Released February 25, 2004 | Sony Music UK

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Pop - Released October 20, 2017 | Sony Music CG

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George Michael's follow-up to the massive success of Faith found him turning inward, trying to gain critical acclaim as well as sales. Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 is not an entirely successful effort; Michael has cut back on the effortless hooks and melodies that crammed not only Faith but also his singles with Wham!, and his socially conscious lyrics tend to be heavy-handed. But the highlights -- the light, Beatlesque harmonies of "Heal the Pain," the plodding number one "Praying for Time," and also "Waiting for That Day" as well as the Top Ten "Freedom" -- make a case for his talents as a pop craftsman. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released June 21, 2004 | Sony Music UK

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George Michael in the magazine
  • The Qobuz Minute #5
    The Qobuz Minute #5 Presented by Barry Moore, The Qobuz Minute sweeps you away to the 4 corners of the musical universe to bring you an eclectic mix of today's brightest talents. Jazz, Electro, Classical, World music ...