A key player in Popular to come steps lightly onto the scene: Michael Jackson (with brothers) was already a star but his ball-of-energy performances on the Jackson Five’s hits had always just missed out on the UK #1. On “Show You The Way To Go” he’s a subtler presence, cajoling rather than exploding. His presence – still charismatic, still show-stealing – is a ripple of excitement in “Show You”‘s smooth groove. Or maybe that’s just hindsight?
Disco was good to Michael Jackson: it came along at just the right time for the child star to cut the glorious forcefulness and find a voice and style that could carry him along. Jackson realised that the unwavering beat of disco left room for doubt and hurt even while the dancing went on, and on “Show You The Way To Go” you can hear him developing that trademark agonised quaver, that pleading squeak which would take him higher than anyone. The other Jacksons are hardly lacking in suppleness, mind, and this would be a pleasure even if it didn’t point futurewards so tantalisingly.