DANGEROUS (Michael Jackson album)

Dangerous (Michael Jackson album)

Released November 26, 1991
Recorded 1989 -1991
Ocean Way Studios Record One Studios
New jack swing R&B pop rock dance gospel hip hop
Length 77:03

Dangerous is the eighth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson, released on November 26, 1991 by Epic Records. It was his fourth studio album released under the Epic label, and his first since 1975’s Forever, Michael not to be produced by longtime collaborator Quincy Jones, who had agreed to split after the final recording sessions for Jackson’s 1987 album, Bad. Dangerous took over a year in production, and was produced by Jackson with additional production from his friend Bill Bottrell and Teddy Riley.

Jackson wrote twelve of the fourteen songs on the album. Lyrical themes expressed on the album included racism, poverty, romance, the welfare of children and the world and self-improvement, topics Jackson had covered before. The album covers a wide range of genres including Hip Hop, gospel, rock, soul and pop. Nine singles were released from Dangerous between November 1991 and December 1993, with seven singles issued in the United States, and two others released only outside the US. The two singles released outside the United States were successful, charting within the top ten and top forty respectively. Dangerous peaked at number one in nine countries, while charting at the top ten in four other territories. The only songs not released as singles were “Why You Wanna Trip on Me”, “She Drives Me Wild”, “Can’t Let Her Get Away”, “Keep the Faith” and “Dangerous”; a video and a single release for the latter was said to have been planned, but was postponed indefinitely due to the musician’s tour and allegations of child sexual abuse in 1993.

Dangerous received several Grammy nominations, winning only one for Best Engineered Album (Non Classical) by Bruce Swedien and Riley. The album also received three nominations at the American Music Awards of 1993 ultimately winning two awards: Favorite Soul/R&B Single for the single “Remember the Time” and Favorite Pop/Rock Album for the album itself. Dangerous has sold 32 million copies worldwide, 7 million albums were shipped in the United States alone, and has been cited as one of the best-selling albums of all time.

The album produced four top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including the number-one hit “Black or White”. Similar to the musician’s previous material, the album’s music features elements of R&B, pop and rock while also incorporating a newer genre, new jack swing, after the inclusion of producer Teddy Riley to the project in a bid to present Jackson to a younger urban audience. According to Chicago Tribune journalist Kelley L. Carter, it is the most successful new jack swing album of all time.

Recording sessions for Dangerous took place at Ocean Way/Record One’s Studio 2 in Los Angeles, starting on June 25, 1990, and ended at both Larrabee North and Ocean Way Studios on October 30, 1991, making it, at sixteen months, the most extensive recording of Jackson’s career at the time, where before he usually took six months.

After Jackson and Bottrell began work on some songs including an early version of “Dangerous”, he decided to recruit Teddy Riley to overlook some of the album’s production. For the first time since 1979, Jackson was without longtime producer Quincy Jones, who had produced Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad. According to Jones, he convinced Jackson to have Riley replace him in the production of Dangerous.

Some album sessions were put on hold due to Jackson’s health problems as he had spent time in a L.A. hospital for weeks after complaining of chest pains. When he was released, he continued work on the album, desiring to take his music to a harder sound than in previous albums, inspired by his sister Janet’s edgy sound in her album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. Prior to working with Riley, Jackson had desired to work with producers Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “L.A.” Reid. Around the same time, his brother Jermaine Jackson, who had signed with La Face Records, was set to work with them and, since Michael didn’t tell Jermaine about it before, Jermaine considered it as an act of betrayal, though he later dismissed the notion. Jermaine’s song, “Word to the Badd”, was composed with lyrics aimed negatively at his brother, and were later revised to lyrics aimed at a bad relationship.

Songs that were recorded for the Dangerous album but were eventually left out include “Monkey Business”; “She Got It”; “Work That Body”; “Serious Effect” (which featured rapper LL Cool J); and “If You Don’t Love Me”. Some others were picked up during development of later albums or as bonus demos, including the ballad “For All Time”, which was later released on Thriller 25; “Slave to the Rhythm”, which was later remastered and released for the 2014 posthumous album Xscape; the environmental anthem “What About Us”, which was dropped close to completion and later finished as “Earth Song” for HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I; “Superfly Sister” and “Blood on the Dance Floor”, which would both later be issued on Jackson’s remix compilation, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Another song that didn’t make Dangerous was the Riley produced “Joy” – the track would later be included on Blackstreet’s 1994 self-titled debut where it was released as the third single.

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length

1. “Jam” (featuring Heavy D)
Michael Jackson René Moore Bruce Swedien Teddy Riley
Jackson Riley Swedien
2. “Why You Wanna Trip on Me”
Riley Bernard Belle
Jackson Riley
3. “In the Closet” (featuring Princess Stéphanie of Monaco)
Jackson Riley
Jackson Riley
4. “She Drives Me Wild” (featuring Wreckx-n-Effect)
Jackson Riley rap lyrics by Aqil Davidson
Jackson Riley
5. “Remember the Time”
Jackson Riley Belle
Jackson Riley
6. “Can’t Let Her Get Away”
Jackson Riley
Jackson Riley
7. “Heal the World”
Jackson Swedien[a]
8. “Black or White” (featuring L.T.B.)
Jackson Bill Bottrell
Jackson Bottrell
9. “Who Is It” Jackson
Jackson Bottrell
10. “Give In to Me” (featuring Slash)
Jackson Bottrell
Jackson Bottrell
11. “Will You Be There” (Theme from Free Willy)
Jackson Swedien[a]
12. “Keep the Faith” (featuring Andraé Crouch)
Jackson Glen Ballard Siedah Garrett
Jackson Swedien[a]
13. “Gone Too Soon”
Larry Grossman Buz Kohan
Jackson Swedien[a]
14. “Dangerous”
Jackson Bottrell Riley
Jackson Riley


^[a] signifies a co-producer


Personnel as listed in the album’s liner notes.

John Bahler – vocal and choir arrangements (track 7)
The John Bahler Singers – choir (track 7)
Glen Ballard – arrangement (track 12)
John Barnes – keyboards (track 8)
Michael Boddicker – synthesizers (tracks 1, 7, 11-13), speed sequencer (8), keyboards (9), keyboard programming (9)
Bill Bottrell – producer (tracks 8-10), recording engineer (8-10), audio mixer (8-10), percussion (8), guitar (8, 10), rap (8), Father speaking part (8 intro), drums (9-10), synthesizer (9), bass (10), mellotron (10)
Craig Brock – guitar recording engineer assistant (track 10)
Brad Buxer – keyboards (tracks 1, 7-9, 11), synthesizers (1, 14), percussion (8), keyboard arrangement/programming (9), keyboard programming (9)
Larry Corbett – solo cello (track 9)
Andraé Crouch – choir arrangement (tracks 11-12)
Sandra Crouch – choir arrangement (tracks 11-12)
The Andraé Crouch Singers – choir (tracks 11-12)
Heavy D – rap (track 1)
George Del Barrio – string arrangement (track 9)
Matt Forger – recording engineer (track 7), audio mixer (7), engineering and sound design (8 intro)
Kevin Gilbert – speed sequencer (track 8)
Endre Granat – concertmaster (track 9)
Linda Harmon – soprano voice (track 9)
Jerry Hey – arrangement (track 12)
Jean-Marie Horvat – recording engineer (track 14)
Michael Jackson – producer (all tracks), lead vocals (all tracks), background vocals (1-12, 14), arrangement (1, 9), vocal arrangement (1, 3-7, 11, 14), rhythm arrangement (7, 11), director (8 intro), soprano voice (9)
Paul Jackson Jr. – guitar intro (track 2)
Terry Jackson – bass guitar (track 8)
Louis Johnson – bass guitar (track 9)
Abraham Laboriel – bass guitar (track 13)

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