This album cover should go down as one of the most iconic posters in music history. It also gave George Michael a new identity which was completely different than the one during his Wham! days.
The poster was a promotional one for George Michael’s solo debut album ‘Faith’. The album not only propelled him into stardom it also gave him artistic recognition.
In this week’s Album Talk, Bandra cowboy and “musicpedia” Narendra Kusnur and I discuss this epic album.
Note: Language may be altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Me: One can describe this album in three words. Sex-Drugs-Love.
Kusnur: Very much.
Me: George Michael wanted to come out of the closet when this album was to be released but the record label didn’t allow him too.
Kusnur: They promoted George as a macho man, complete with leather jackets, beard, and sunglasses. Especially in the video of Faith. “Sex-Drugs-Love” is the right way to describe this album. The record label wanted to create his image which was different than his Wham! image.
Me: Which was bubble gum pop and teenybopper image.
Kusnur: Wham! had released an album called Make It Big. In this album, they tried to change their image. They tried to improve their sound and the album got decent critical reviews but the fans didn’t like it.
Me: Maybe because they were used to songs like Wake Me Up and Freedom.
Kusnur: Maybe. After that album, George Michael decided to go solo.
Me: And Andrew Ridgeley decided to vanish.
Kusnur: He was also good looking. Anyways, when this album released George Michael had matured quite a bit just like his fans who were teenagers earlier. So maybe the “Sex-Drugs-Love” elements were the theme for this album as it would appeal to the fans. Keeping this mind, the record label promoted him as a stud. Musically the album is brilliant. George did all the production, songwriting, and everything himself.
Me: Not many people know that like Prince, George too could play most of the instruments required in a song. But George was more popular in India.
Kusnur: Both had their own identity. There were certain common traits but their sound was totally different.
Me: George was either up-tempo or ballads.
Kusnur: This album had 2 ballads, Kissing A Fool and One More Try. His voice is very soulful on the latter which is about his personal experience of failing in love and yet wanting to try.
Me: This song is similar to Faith. Faith resonates not giving up and believing that things will end well in the end. I have always felt the intro of Faith is similar to the intro of Freedom.
Kusnur: I will check this. Faith as a song never worked for me but the album was a massive hit.
Me: The album has 4 number ones. Faith, Father Figure, One More Try, and Monkey plus a Grammy for “Album of the Year.” Another good song was Kissing A Fool which dealt with same-sex relations.
Kusnur: One song that stood out for me was Hard Day. It has a killer bass line. When you listen to the song again just concentrate on the bass line. It is used so well and in the end, he sings in a female voice.
Me: I thought it was a female.
Kusnur: No its George Michael. Apparently, even Prince sang in a female voice in a song.
Me: Father Figure is about being protective of someone you love. Monkey was also a super song about drug abuse.
Kusnur: Faith gave George Michael a solo identity and acceptance. The album is about his life at that time. His failed relations, sexual identity, drugs, etc.
Me: His fans would have shocked when he came out of the closet.
Were you one of them?
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