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Stepping Out: The Very Best of Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson

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Album Review

Ever since Joe Jackson's debut album, Look Sharp, yielded his first single in "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" in July of 1979, which peaked at number 21 on Billboard (the album hit number 20), his career has seen him investigate a multitude of musical styles with clean-cut charm and poise. Jackson has dabbled in everything from reggae, disco, and soul to power pop, jazz, and even big band. Stepping Out covers 15 of his biggest singles, including his highest chart-topper, "Stepping Out," which hit number six on Billboard's Top 40, from the suave sounding Night and Day album. The downhearted appeal of "Breaking Us in Two" appears here as well, along with the salsa- flavored "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)," which reached number 15 and was the strongest track from 1984's Body and Soul album. Outside of his chart appearances, the rest of this hits collection holds up well. Jackson's voice is heard in wispy detail on "Fools in Love," while his humor and wit explode on "I'm the Man" from the album of the same name. The live release entitled Big World from 1986 is spoken for with both "Right and Wrong" and the candid allure of "Hometown." This quick overview of Joe Jackson's most lucrative singles not only bookmarks each of his experiments in different musical varieties, but also proves that few artists can accomplish such a feat with unblemished dexterity.

Biography

Born: 11 August 1954 in Burton-upon-Trent, England

Genre: Pop

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

In his 1999 memoir, A Cure for Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage, Joe Jackson writes approvingly of George Gershwin as a musician who kept one foot in the popular and one in the classical realms of music. Like Gershwin, Jackson possesses a restless musical imagination that has found him straddling musical genres unapologetically, disinclined to pick one style and stick to it. The word "chameleon" often crops up in descriptions of him, but Jackson prefers to be thought of as "eclectic." Is he the Joe...
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