“A Different Corner” by George Michael (1986)

The issue with cataloguing every five song in your iTunes library is that certain songs (actually-most songs) don’t feel like unequivocally perfect songs every day. Looking ahead at the next few songs, I’m not sure whether they are “5″s or very high “4″s. But I’m going to go with my initial ratings for each. Somewhat interestingly, each of the three songs is by an artist who first became famous as a member of a group.

George Michael’s “A Different Corner” is brooding and intensely personal in a way that George hadn’t explored a lot prior to this song’s release. Sure, “Careless Whisper” feels personal, but it also feels kind of…callow? Removed? I dunno. “A Different Corner” feels like a heartbreak in progress, or at least one in which the wound is still very fresh. George is giving his best dramatic lyrical reading here, and the music is barely more than a simple electronic pulse. The focus-rightfully-is on the voice. What a fucking voice, too.

Does any pop music have more “wait, the hook and the song title are completely different” moments than George? “Careless Whisper”, this song, “One More Try”, “Waiting For That Day”, “Jesus To A Child”, “Like A Baby”, “Fastlove”, “Outside”–none of those songs have choruses that feature the title phrase. A few of them don’t really even have choruses! I can’t think of any other songwriter that’s done that more than once or twice. George made a career out of it, practically.

The video for “A Different Corner” is as minimalist as minimalist gets. Just George, in an all white room, rocking a fresh cable knit sweater and one of the best mullets in music history, looking so very sad.

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