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Jermaine Jackson

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Album Review

After nearly eight years as a Motown solo act, his career was punctuated by false starts and major, sporadic hits. Jermaine Jackson, his first album for Arista, is his first since 1982's Let Me Tickle Your Fancy, and has him doing a slickly produced variant of the R&B/pop his brother was making sound effortless. The biggest hit here, the jaunty "Dynamite," mixes smooth R&B with a hint with a new wave-ish rhythm and synth patterns that has his ingratiating tenor sounding strong and confident. The percolating and infectious "Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to Be True)" is a duet with brother Michael Jackson. The song attains a well-produced L.A. pop/R&B sound, and has the nervous energy, if not paranoia, of other like-minded Jackson family performances. In the reunion vein, "Escape from the Planet of the Ant Men" features the Jacksons. With its mind-boggling premise and over-production, it all but obscures the fact that it's one of Jackson's strongest vocal performances here. As a devout fan of Marvin Gaye, the artist also has a few romantic moments here, too. The sultry "Do What You Do" boasts a strong arrangement and Jackson's persuasive vocals. "Take Good Care of My Heart," a duet with Whitney Houston, has the two having good chemistry. The last track, "Oh Mother," is an emotional and spare ode that has Jackson's voice at times resembling Art Garfunkel. While Jermaine Jackson's not a perfect album, despite the ground covered, it is a strong one. [The CD was later released as Dynamite in 1984, minus the track "Take Good Care of My Heart."]


Born: 11 December 1954 in Gary, IN

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The lone Jackson family member to stay with Motown while the other brothers split for CBS/Epic (he was then married to Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel), Jermaine enjoyed a artistically diffident career during the '70s at Motown, surfacing with an occasional hit like a remake of "Daddy's Home" (1972) and "Let's Be Young Tonight" (1975). Jermaine got a badly needed shot in the arm from Stevie Wonder, who wrote and produced "Let's Get Serious," a Top Ten pop and soul dance hit that came around the time...
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