Album Watch: Gotta Have Faith! George Michael Re-Releases His Solo Debut

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I don't know about you, but I love me some George Michael. He can really do no wrong for me. I have a slim group of male singers that I particularity care for in abundance and I have to say that George is in that lofty club of favorite male voices that when they sing---I perpetually lend an ear.

Which is why I'm spending time talking about his 1987 solo effort, Faith, which was re-released this week in an extensive (and expensive) collector's box set to just remind everyone how utterly awesome it was and still is today. The set includes just about everything (except a vial of George Michael's blood---that was just too freaky), and the best part is that the album has been remastered. The album has been lengthened to two discs, including b-sides and extended remixes. There is also some literature in there (a 60-page booklet discussing the album ) and a DVD of music videos and interviews from that gobs of other collectible memorabilia. *music nerd fist pump* Pretty much a nice spread of things for the Faith/George Michael obsessed, as Stereogum details the full set here if you need more clarification what you're getting for your buck. And if you are visual person, this photo explains more than my words can describe. Yeah, it's a bit ostentatious, but it's an album that deserves this kind of treatment.

If you've ever heard Faith, you know it's the "state of independence" album that George released after breaking away from Wham! and that it harbored an copious amount of chart toppers (7 out of 10 tracks were hits). It is quite the perfect merge of pop and R&B, with a bit of plastic funk, torchy jazz, and some rockabilly flair bubbling up, a variant style that really made George Michael bigger than those tight britches he was shaking his rump in. To me, Faith is just deliciously cohesive, and I love everything about it (especially "Father Figure" and "Kissing A Fool") right down to the last refrain. Even though future albums like 1990's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 and 1996's Older are just as carefully crafted and enjoyable, and Faith was an image George likened to shed like snake skin when the 90's came 'round, I still love popping it in from time to time to be engulfed in how effortless the delivery was.

This whole extensive set sort of brings back to mind what an album really means, especially in this fast food music world. Where not just two or three songs are hits, but where each track is tightly produced with even the filler shining (in Faith's case outshines, I actually liked "Hand To Mouth" better than the hit title track) and each hit having longevity long after they drop from the charts. It's an album to pop in and just consume and spend time with, not get out of the way. So getcha some Faith if you haven't already.

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