Personnel: George Michael (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion); Phil Palmer (guitar); Emily Burridge, Alfia Nakipbekova (cello); Andy Hamilton (saxophone); Chris Cameron (piano, keyboards); Tony Patler (keyboards); Deon Estus (bass, background vocals); Ian Thomas (drums); Danny Cummings (percussion); Shirley Lewis (background vocals).
Recorded at Sarm West and Metropolis Studios, London, England.
From its odd, defensive title to the announcement that none of the album's videos would include the photogenic singer/songwriter, George Michael's second solo album consciously repositioned the ex-Wham! frontman as a mature artist rather than a teenybopper idol. Indeed, the video for "Freedom '90," which shares only its title with Wham's 1984 hit, features the ritual burning of Michael's trademark leather jacket.
Career intent aside, LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE is an excellent adult-pop album opening with the tender "Praying For Time" and continuing through nine more excellent, well-sung, and melodic examples of smooth commercial pop, the highlight being the angry "They Won't Go When I Go." Although a more dance-oriented LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE, VOLUME TWO was due for release shortly after the first volume, it was never issued. This projected follow-up may be yet another casualty of the protracted legal battle between George Michael and Sony Music that derailed the singer's career for over half a decade.
Rolling Stone (10/4/90) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...For the most part, this album succeeds in its effort to establish Michael's seriousness and deliver him from caricature..."
Q (12/99, p.68) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Q - 5 Stars - Indispensable - Ranked by Q as the #2 Album of 1990.
Stereo Review (1/91) - Best Recording of the Month - "...It is tuneful, inventive, and rebellious, unwilling to play it safe even when it sounds most conformist..."
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