Patience

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Patience by George Michael

“Patience”

“Amazing”

“John And Elvis Are Dead”

“Cars And Trains”

“Round Here”

“My Mother Had A Brother”

“Flawless (Go To The City)”

“American Angel”

“Precious Box”

“Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo’s Song)”

“Freeek! ’04”

“Through”

Songs From The Last Century

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Songs From The Last Century by George Michael

“Brother Can You Spare A Dime”

“Roxanne”

“You’ve Changed”

“My Baby Just Cares For Me”

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

“Miss Sarajevo”

“I Remember You”

“Secret Love”

“Wild Is The Wind”

“Where Or When”

Older

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Older by George Michael

“Jesus To A Child”

“Fastlove”

“Older”

“Spinning The Wheel”

“It Doesn’t Really Matter”

“The Strangest Thing”

“To Be Forgiven”

“Move On”

“Star People”

“You Have Been Loved”

“Free”

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1

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Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 by George Michael

“Praying For Time”

“Freedom”

“They Won’t Go When I Go”

“Something To Save”

“Cowboys & Angels”

“Waiting For That Day/You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

“Mothers Pride”

“Heal The Pain”

“Soul Free”

“Waiting (Reprise)”

Faith by George Michael

In the 80’s, the age of excess and contrasts, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, a Greek more commonly known as George Michael, fit in two categories: on one hand, he was willing to have nothing but a good time (Wham! in the early years of his career); and he could be more serious (in his solo career at the end of the decade).

Having grown up as a shy and neurotic teenager, George Michael found that Wham! brought him everything a youngster could aim for: money, fame, and girls. Having turned into a swan, he had girls jumping all over him (though his mate Andrew Ridgeley was more successful).

Wham!’s Young Guns (1982) was a hedonistic album about hanging around and flirting with girls. Still, it hid some jewels that suggested the duo’s minds went further than mere carpe diem: the cover of “Love Machine” and the ballad “Nothing Seems The Same In The Light.”

Although critics tore them to pieces, they weren’t discouraged; on the contrary, it helped them improve. Make It Big (1984) was an ambitious Motown-styled album, with skillful dance tracks and breathtaking ballads. “Careless Whisper” became a must for late night radio (and video) programs, due in large part to its intoxicating saxophone.

Soon, however, it became clear George Michael was too big to be kept behind the shadows of a group, so when he and Ridgeley disbanded Wham! in 1986 there was little surprise. The Edge of Heaven (1986) was a greatest hits album, with some new songs that pointed in the direction the singer would follow in his solo career: more masculine, with a harder sound.

“These songs are the results of the last two years of my life. They are dedicated to my family and friends, whose loyalty and time are more important to me than ever before,” he states in the liner notes of Faith. And the results justified the hard work! He was number 1 and sold 1.5 million copies in the UK.

However, it was the US that worshipped him: there, Faith sold 10 million copies, remained number one for 12 weeks, and scored six Top Five singles on the Bilboard charts, four of which were number one. As if that weren’t enough, he won an American Music Award and a Grammy Award for Best Album.

The 1990s would see him established not only as a good singer, but as an elegant and charismatic star. But the seeds were sown on 1987’s Faith: being aware of George Michael’s talent was no longer a question of faith, merely a matter of listening to this masterpiece.

George Michael — Faith: Track-by-track review

1. “Faith”
The cover of the album — the musician leaning as if praying — and the introduction to its first song — a church organ — make us think we’re listening to a religious album.

The guitar and the lyrics soon prove us wrong.

Well, I guess it would be nice
If I could touch your body
I know not everybody
Has got a body like you

It’s about temptation and resistance.

Well I need someone to hold me
But I’ll wait for something more
Yes I’ve got to have faith

The message? Resisting temptation takes a lot of will, but better that than having someone “throw my heart back to the floor.”

According to Billboard magazine, “Faith” was the best selling single of 1988.

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2. “Father Figure”
“Father Figure” won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction. In the video, Michael is a taxi driver driving a supermodel to the catwalk, finding that she is someone that feels as lonely as he does. They are two people so apparently different, but inevitably attracted.

Sometimes I think you’ll never understand me
But something tells me together we’d be happy

So when you remember the ones who have lied
Who said that they cared but then laughed as you cried
Beautiful darling, don’t think of me

We then see her kissing her photographer, but she feels guilty about it.

This is Michael’s most erotic video, with the model in lingerie, near a window with blinds that let light enter very strategically, like in the Richard Gere film American Gigolo. All he wants is her “just for one moment / to be warm and naked / at my side”.

Appearing in the video is Vogue model Tania Coleridge, who would go on to perform in such films as 1990’s Days of Thunder alongside Tom Cruise. Michael would include more models in videos for “Freedom ’90” (1990) (Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, and Christy Turlington), and “Too Funky” (1992) (Evangelista, Nadja Auermann, Emma Balfour, Estelle Hallyday, and Tyra Banks).

(These videos are available on the Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael DVD, featuring solo videos and bonus interviews and performances.)

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3. “I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2)”
If Wham! was soft, George Michael solo was pretty hardcore, or so it seemed at the time. Cue “I Want Your Sex.”

What’s your definition of dirty baby?
What do you consider pornography?

Several British and American TV networks put this song and its video into that very category, and even MTV would only show it late at night. It was, however, included in the soundtrack of the film Beverly Hills Cop 2, during a scene in which Eddie Murphy is in a strip club. The single peaked at number 2 in the US, and number 3 in the UK.

The artist explained that by “I want your sex” he meant “I want your love.” In the video he interacts with his then-girlfriend, makeup artist Kathy Jeung: the movements of satin sheets suggest they are having sex; she appears in a basque and suspenders; and he writes on her nude thighs with red lipstick the phrase “explore your monogamy.”

This was a song about love — that happens to mention sex a lot — at a time when Great Britain and the United States were both ruled by conservatives.

Sex is natural, sex is good
Not everybody does it but everybody should
Sex is natural, sex is fun, sex is best
One on one

“I Want Your Sex” purposely shows a playful ambiguousness when Michael states that sex is better with company… which means you can also have it on your own.

I know we can come together
But the question is will we ever?

That mystery is solved in “Part 3.”

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4. “One More Try”
Where Make It Big had “Careless Whisper,” Faith had “One More Try.” Ballads had become a strong point, due to Michael’s moving singing and compelling songwriting.

Teacher there are things that I don’t want to learn

Through his entire career, his lyrics would be a struggle between the need to escape and the need to face reality — usually, an unkind reality. And at this point, his relationships with women had been disasters; in fact, he wrote the famous “Last Christmas” after his girlfriend let him down.

“There are things that I still have to learn / but the one thing I have is my pride,” he sings — he won’t let himself be heartbroken again. The girl must decide if she wants him or not, but he’s sure she doesn’t, and he’s too empty to keep on trying.

Now I think it’s time that you let me know
So if you love me say you love me
But if you don’t just let me go

In the video for “One More Try,” Michael is alone in a room, reflecting and desperate, leaning dejectedly against his wall.

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5. “Hard Day”
“Hard Day” was released as single only in America, where it reached the top five.

You can move your mouth forever
But the words sound just the same
Something like “Bang bang you’re dead”
Couldn’t we just make love instead?
Say yes because it’s what we do best
And I’ve had such a hard day

He seems to be in a rut again, pleading with the girl for sex: better love than war, and action speaks louder than words.

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6. “Hand To Mouth”
In 1985 George Michael joined Band Aid and played at Live Aid with Wham!; twenty years later he played at Live 8; and in between, he played at several charity concerts with his friend Elton John.

On Listen Without Prejudices I & II (1990) he showed himself to be socially concerned, with “Pray For Time” acting as a flagship song, but on Faith he sowed the seeds with “Hand To Mouth.”

The lyrics talk about injustice, and how people just close their mouths — nobody helps anybody, there’s always an excuse for avoiding it.

Everybody talks about the new generation
Jump on the wagon or they’ll leave you behind
But no one gave a thought to the rest of the nation

“Twenty five years living hand to mouth” in “the land of the free” that is America — that is to say, twenty five years of leaders like Ronald Reagan.

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7. “Look At Your Hands”
I loved you once
But look at you now
You’re in somebody else’s bed

The singer addresses an ex-lover, who has married and is unhappy. Although she tries to lie about it, her damaged housewife’s hands speak more eloquently.

Na na na na na na na look at your hands
You got two fat children and a drunken man
Betcha don’t betcha don’t like your life

He’s offering her the chance to come back to him, because he still wants her at night, and because he’s a better pick for her than the husband, who hits her. It makes him mad that she let him for such a scum bag.

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8. “Monkey”
This was another number one in the UK and the US. Only Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston joined George Michael in having four or more consecutive number 1 singles in 1987-88. Even so, “Monkey” has been omitted from most of his compilations.

Is he referring to a real monkey, or does the subject of the song have an addiction she can’t quit?

Why can’t you do it?
Why can’t you set the monkey free?
Always giving in to it
Do you love the monkey or do you love me?

He gives us clues as to the exact meaning, such as saying that her head won’t work, and that she dances nonstop until the monkey has her on the floor. Is he referring to acid? Nineteen eighty nine would be the year of Acid House and of ecstasy.

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9. “Kissing A Fool”
If in 1982 he dared to rap, in 1987 he dared to become a crooner. His voice on “Kissing A Fool” sounded warmer than ever.

He offers an ex-girlfriend his eternal love. She had listened to bad advice and turned away from him.

People will always make a lover feel a fool
But you knew I loved you

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10. “Hard Day” [Shep Pettibone mix]
The same wizard that worked for Madonna (“Causing A Commotion,” “Like A Prayer,” “Express Yourself”), Pet Shop Boys, and Level 42, producer Shep Pettibone, remixed this song.

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11. “A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)”
In the followup to “I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2),” the girl is still resisting the singer’s attempts at seduction, so he plans to get her drunk and take her car keys.

He describes himself as a gentleman, “but even so / there’s only so much / a gentleman can stand.” And that means she should sleep with him at last.

My cards are on your table
My dreams are in your bed
If I was able
I’d be there instead

Faith by George Michael

“Faith”

“Father Figure”

“I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2)”

“One More Try”

“Hard Day”

“Hand To Mouth”

“Look At Your Hands”

“Monkey”

“Kissing A Fool”

“Hard Day” [Shep Pettibone mix]

“A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)”