You can listen to “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael here.
I was thinking about George Michael and I was going to write about how I first heard him. I went to listen to that first song that I’d heard and I got side tracked on the way so that will have to wait for another day. I watched “This is England ’90” today and as well as the similarity in title, I copped the similarity between “Freedom! 90” and some of the soundtrack to the show, most obviously “Step On” by The Happy Mondays. I thought that was a fun coincidence.
George Michael was a tremendously talented songwriter and his lyrics could be cutting or cheeky or emotional all at the same time. “Freedom! ’90” is a classic example. There’s criticism of the music business, all wrapped up in an incredible pop song. You can see that in the video which features Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista and was directed by David Fincher.
The link back to Madchester tunes isn’t just that piano sound. The beat is sampled from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”. If you do any reading about Madchester and the sound, there’s a quote from Joshua Clover about how the dance beats were descended from the James Brown track.
I have a huge amount of time for George Michael as a singer, songwriter and as a man. He has an incredible and unique voice, he has written some truly fantastic songs and he seemed like a very good dude.