Wham! – Make It Big (1984) [Japanese SACD 2001 #ESGA 514]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 38:00 minutes | Scans included | 1,54 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 795 MB
This is the album that started it all for George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley! Whether or not it will ever be “cool” to admit liking them, Make It Big sounds pretty good after all of these years. Granted, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is an impossible notion to begin with–who could possibly sleep after this sugar binge? But “Everything She Wants” has a sophisticated tension in its syncopation, and, wow, could the boy sing! “Careless Whisper” really showed that George Michael had a firm grasp on R&B and soul.
The title was a promise to themselves, Wham!’s assurance that they would make it big after struggling out of the gates the first time out. They succeeded on a grander scale than they ever could have imagined, conquering the world and elsewhere with this effervescent set of giddy new wave pop-soul, thereby making George Michael a superstar and consigning Andrew Ridgeley to the confines of Trivial Pursuit. It was so big and the singles were so strong that it’s easy to overlook its patchwork qualities. It’s no longer than eight tracks, short even for the pre-CD era, and while the four singles are strong, the rest is filler, including an Isley Brothers cover. Thankfully, it’s the kind of filler that’s so tied to its time that it’s fascinating in its stilted post-disco dance-pop rhythms and Thatcher/Reagan materialism – an era that encouraged songs called “Credit Card Baby.” If this dichotomy between the A-sides and B-sides is far too great to make this essential, the way Faith later would be, those A-sides range from good to terrific. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is absolute silliness whose very stupidity is its strength, and if “Everything She Wants” is merely agreeable bubblegum, “Freedom” is astounding, a sparkling Motown rip-off rippling with spirit and a timeless melody later ripped off by Noel Gallagher. Then, there’s the concluding “Careless Whisper,” a soulful slow one where Michael regrets a one-night stand over a richly seductive background and a yearning saxophone. It was an instant classic, and it was the first indication of George Michael’s strengths as a pop craftsman – which means it points the way to Faith, not the halfhearted Edge of Heaven.
01. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
02. Everything She Wants
04. Like A Baby
06. If You Were There
07. Credit Card Baby
08. Careless Whisper