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Album Review

Fantastic is the misguided 1983 debut release from the U.K. duo Wham. With Fantastic, George Michael and partner Andrew Ridgeley introduced themselves as leather jacket-clad, street-smart "rebels." This approach proved wildly popular in the U.K., where Fantastic was a Top Ten hit, but the album went largely unnoticed in the States. While Fantastic showcases the ability of the young (20 at the time of the album's release) George Michael to craft engaging, hook-filled melodies, much of the material on Fantastic suffers from the duo's pretentious, tough-guy posturing. The empty funk of the U.K. hits "Bad Boys," "Young Guns (Go for It)," and the embarrassing "Wham Rap" barely registers, and Michael's smart-aleck, self-conscious lyrics are often unintentionally hilarious. Although Michael eventually became well-known as a reasonably successful emulator of R&B trends, neither these tunes nor Fantastic's stupefying remake of the Miracles' "Love Machine" give any indication of his abilities. At best, Fantastic can be viewed as a testament to George Michael's maturity. "Nothing Looks the Same in the Light" and "Club Tropicana," two of Fantastic's best tunes, lean toward the lush, adult pop of Michael's later solo work. Fortunately, Michael and Ridgeley would later ditch the superficial, leather-jacketed approach for the more sophisticated pop of later Wham releases like "Everything She Wants" and "Freedom" (both from 1984's Make It Big) and "The Edge of Heaven" (from 1986's Music From the Edge of Heaven), finding major U.S. success in the process. Fantastic isn't a good album, but it's oddly entertaining. It's certainly interesting hearing the difference between the frothy Fantastic and Michael's later, "serious" solo work like Listen Without Prejudice and Older. And Fantastic is also good for a few chuckles. Unfortunately, that probably wasn't George Michael's intention. But even he might get a good laugh out of it.

Customer Reviews

Who is the Tool who wrote the Itunes Official "Review"?

What on earth is that Itunes album review about? This CD is a masterfully solid group of songs, with perfect melodies and danceable beats, classic 80's beach music. And George Michael as "reasonably successful" by "emulating" R&B trends? What? There are so many things wrong with that I don't even know where to begin. This is a classic from the glory days of 80's music, and there is no song that's a clunker. I guess it goes to show that they let a few official reviews slip by without checking them. Ignore the cynicism imposed by the reviewer based on Michael's personal troubles. If he wants to sing about being hip or brash, let him do it without imposing your views of his life on the song.

What idiot wrote the i-tunes review?

This is one of THE classic pop albums of the early eighties! Both Wham! and Madonna released their first albums at about the same time and I remember playing both in constant rotation. The music on this album is exceedingly well-crafted pop with catchy hooks. The remake of The Miracles' "Love Machine" is one of the best remakes ever done and one which should make Smokey Robinson proud! The album was not as polished as their later work, but still shows the incredible songwriting capacity of George Michael. This album was on constant rotation in "the clubs" when it first came out and I remember dancing to the music non-stop! A must have for ANY collection. i-Tunes needs a real reviewer...maybe someone over the age of three would be good!

The Title Says It All

I saw the video for "Bad Boys" on HBO's Video Jukebox (MTV wouldn’t go near it) back in the day. Had never heard of these guys before, but their Casio disco sound and poser leather duds made me take notice. I went right out and got the album, and it really IS fantastic. The boy can write pop. And the low-budget production was like disco with food stamps: way over the top, but sounding like it was played on those Radio Shack keyboards parents used to inexplicably buy their kids for Christmas. "Wham Rap" and "Young Guns (Go For It)" are not to be missed. Not sure if the liner notes come with the itunes version, but if I remember correctly, George Michael's name was all over the place in the credits, and innocent bystander Andrew Ridgeley's appeared exactly twice. One was for “hand claps.” "Fantastic" is much more fun than their follow-up "Make It Big." Check it out.


Formed: 1981

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s

Wham! sparked something of a pop revival in the mid-'80s and could arguably be held responsible for sparking off the boy band trend of the '90s. They were unashamedly pop, to the point of padding the front of their trousers for television appearances. At the heart, however, was a string of catchy singalong singles written by George Michael (born Georgios Kyrriacos Panayiotou in London to a Greek restauranting family). George met Wham!'s other half, Andrew Ridgeley, at school in the London suburb...
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