JOHN WAITE, the kinetic voice behind such hits as "Change," "Missing You" and "Active Love," recently released his fourth solo LP, "Rover's Return." Since British musicians seem to know more about American black music than Americans do, we asked Waite to evaluate Michael Jackson's soul monster "Bad."
"To answer the obvious question first—yes, Bad is very similar to Thriller. The title track, for instance, is reminiscent of Beat It. The strength of Bad is really in the groove—lots of over-the-top percussion. And, on Dirty Diana, instead of having Eddie Van Halen play the killer guitar solo, it's Steve Stevens, from Billy Idol's band. In a way, Michael's voice is used as a rhythm instrument. I admire him tremendously as a vocalist. He sings a lot at the top of his range on this album. On Liberian Girl, a really beautiful cut, he sounds as if he's in mid-orgasm. On Speed Demon, the background vocals are definitely Beatlesque. Bad is filled with cool little details like that. It's a jigsaw puzzle, and Michael's voice makes it come together."