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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop - Released September 28, 1992 | Epic

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The brothers' third post-Motown album as the Jacksons was their most successful release, both commercially and creatively, since 1974's Dancing Machine. Their first two Epic albums, where they aligned with Gamble, Huff, and other Philly soul stalwarts, had some strong singles but were very uneven and somewhat awkward in stretches, and this time out, they wrote and produced on their own. Backed by an arsenal of up-and-coming and veteran L.A. session musicians -- including guitarists Michael Sembello and Paul Jackson, Jr., drummer Rick Marotta, arranger Thomas "Tom Tom 84" Washington, and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, the last of whom played on just about everything involving a Jackson family member through the early '90s -- Destiny did much more than set the stage for Michael's Off the Wall. The sunny "Blame It on the Boogie" and the dazzling Off the Wall prelude "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" were the album's only singles, upbeat numbers that peaked at number three on the Black Singles chart, but the mature Michael showcase ballad "Push Me Away" (pointing toward "I Can't Help It" and "Human Nature") and the alternately somber and uplifting "Bless His Soul," containing a startling confession from Michael ("There is no life for me at all/'Cause I give myself at beck and call") added an impressive level of depth to the Jacksons' discography. ~ Andy Kellman
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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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Victory has the distinctions of being the only Jacksons album to feature all six brothers and the last Jacksons album to feature Michael Jackson. In the four years that had passed since the last Jacksons studio album, Triumph, Michael had become the biggest pop star in the world because of 1982's Thriller. He had little excuse other than family ties to work with his brothers again, but he agreed to a final album and tour. So, here one has the ludicrous situation of an album in which Marlon Jackson has as prominent a role as Michael Jackson. That's how it sounded to listeners in 1984, anyway, and they weren't fooled -- "State of Shock," on which Michael shared vocals with Mick Jagger, was a gold Top Ten hit, and "Torture," which teamed Michael with Jermaine, made the Top 40, while the album went platinum. But the tracks by other group members went virtually ignored. In retrospect, Victory is a competent album of slick contemporary R&B, occasionally goosed toward greatness by the appearance of one of pop music's most identifiable voices. Which is the same thing you can say about nearly the entire Jackson 5/Jacksons catalog. ~ William Ruhlmann
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R&B/Soul - Released November 17, 1987 | Epic

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After the commercial reprieve of the innovative "Dancing Machine" single (and album of the same name), the Jackson 5's successful five-year relationship with Motown and Berry Gordy ended. Their last Motown effort, Moving Violation, had barely made a dent. After an acrimonious split, brother Jermaine Jackson stayed at Motown, and Gordy fought and won, keeping the Jackson 5 moniker. The Jacksons isn't only their Epic label debut, it's the first album to feature youngest brother Randy Jackson. To ensure chart success, the group was teamed with Philadelphia producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, as well as their staff of writers and players. Despite the promise, The Jacksons is hampered by derivative tracks and a lack of knowing what to do with the group, particularly lead singer, Michael Jackson. The big hit here, the jerky "Enjoy Yourself," perfectly captured Michael Jackson's late adolescence, with his newfound vocal tics and inflections. "Show You the Way to Go" best captures the Philly sound, with a pretty melody and a great vocal from Michael, but it's a weak lyric. The Dexter Wansel-written and -produced "Keep on Dancing" matches a substandard discofied track to Michael Jackson's singular vocals. The last track, the graceful "Blues Away" marks the writing debut of the group and is a great match between artists and producers. For the most part, The Jacksons gives the guys by-the-numbers Philly tracks that could have been easily done by Lou Rawls. Despite the best songs, The Jacksons misses more than it hits. ~ Jason Elias
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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 24, 1984 | Epic

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Released during the summer of 1980, just as the hits from Michael's Off the Wall were sliding off the charts, Triumph became the Jacksons' first Top Ten pop album since 1972's Lookin' Through the Windows. This despite the album-opening "Can You Feel It," promoted with a spectacle of a video that made the Jacksons into gigantic superheroes capable of transforming bridges into bendable rainbow tubing, stalling at number 77 on the Hot 100. It didn't make much of an impact on the R&B chart either, but then again, its supernatural anthemic stomp is more a fireworks program finale than something as small scale as a mere single. As on 1978's Destiny, the Jacksons wrote and produced the material, this time with keyboardist Greg Phillinganes bumped up to associate producer, and with an uptick in star backing -- including but not limited to Ronnie Foster, Phil Upchurch, Webster Lewis, Michael Boddicker, and Ollie Brown, as well as Triumph holdovers Michael Sembello, Thomas Washington, and Nathan Watts. The other singles, including "Lovely One" (very nearly "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" reheated) and "This Place Hotel" (an elaborate six-minute affair, written and arranged by Michael, that could have easily swollen to greater length) propelled the album into sales greater than that of Destiny, and it's equally durable (and markedly slicker) all around. ~ Andy Kellman
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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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R&B/Soul - Released July 14, 2009 | Legacy Recordings

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R&B/Soul - Released October 30, 1984 | Epic

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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - Legacy

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R&B/Soul - Released December 3, 1986 | Epic

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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic - LaFace

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Pop - Released July 22, 2016 | Epic

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R&B/Soul - Released November 17, 1987 | Epic

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The Jacksons' move to Epic regenerated their enthusiasm and spirit for several years. The Gamble & Huff team brought them fresh material and new production ideas, as well as better tracks and arrangements than they'd gotten in quite a while on Motown. This album got them R&B and pop hits and kept the family act in the spotlight for a little while longer. ~ Ron Wynn