Michael Jackson's double-disc HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
is a monumental achievement of ego. The first disc is a collection of his post-Motown hits, featuring some of the greatest music in pop history, including "Billie Jean," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Beat It," and "Rock with You," and it's filled with enough prime material to be thoroughly intoxicating. The second disc, consisting entirely of new material, is easily the most personal album Jackson has recorded, as references to his scandals permeate almost every song, creating a thick atmosphere of paranoia. Occasionally, Jackson produces some well-crafted pop that ranks with his best material: R. Kelly
's "You Are Not Alone" is seductive and "Scream" improves on the slamming beats of his earlier single "Jam."