OLDER is George Michael's first album of original material since 1990's LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE VOL.1, and is the first full-length release of the DreamWorks SKG label.
Personnel: George Michael (vocals, various instruments, programming); Hugh Burns (acoustic guitar); John Themis, Danny Jacobs, Alan Ross (guitar); Chris Cameron (strings, Fender Rhodes electric piano, keyboards); Phil Smith, Chris Davis, Andy Hamilton (saxophone); John Thirkell, Stuart Brooks (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Sidwell (trumpet); Fayyaz Virji (trombone); David Austin, Jon Douglas, Dave Clews (keyboards); Pete Gleadall, Steve McNichol (programming); Jo (background vocals).
Producers: George Michael, Jon Douglas.
Engineers include: Chris Porter, Paul Gomersall, Ren Swan.
This is an import release pressed in Hong Kong.
If George Michael sold his soul to get out of his Sony contract, he must have found a new one in the DreamWorks studios. On his first album in six years--he spent the interim in court with his old employer, Sony--Michael's voice is velvet, and the tempos of his songs are mellow cloaks in which he wraps himself as he wanders up and down the smooth strip of soul.
Most of the tunes are slow-burning, jazz-infused numbers, though there are a few notable exceptions: "Fastlove" is a playful disco send-up, and the last track, "Free," is a jazz instrumental turned into an ambient-dub track with record scratches and Middle Eastern overtones. "I'm looking older/But something good has happened to me," Michael croons on the title track. He's OLDER, and sounding better than ever.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (6/13/96, p.83) - 3 Stars - Good - "...hasn't lost his talent for writing pop songs as contagious as the Ebola virus....From the smooth, moody groove of 'It Doesn't Really Matter' to the bouncy disco concoction 'Fastlove'..., Michael proves his guilty feet still have rhythm."
Q (12/99, p.90) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Vibe (8/96, p.144) - "...Michael may have had more birthdays, but in content and style, his music is similar to the rhythm-and-bluesy stuff he's done since breaking off from Wham! in 1986....Older is better."
Melody Maker (5/25/96) - "...as unremittingly slow, solemn and sombre as side two of Joy Division's CLOSER....snazzily produced late-night smoochathons that'll provide horny shop assistants and bank clerks with shag material for months...."
Mojo (Publisher) (6/96, p.110) - "...[OLDER] is elegiac, heartfelt, life-affirming, and appears to be as elegant a coming-out as a public figure has ever accomplished....Hip-swaying beat-box percussion bops around background strings and other sampled orchestral colourings..."
NME (Magazine) (5/25/96, p.53) - 9 (out of 10) - "...bedtime sophisto-soul....George, for all the angst he so brazenly wears on his sleeve, remains the embodiment of suburban wish-fufilment. Times may have changed...but the music still fits the mood like a glove..."