There's a Bluffer's Guide to post-Thriller Michael Jackson waiting to be written; hell, I may write it myself. Much is made of the symbolism of Nirvana's Nevermind knocking Dangerous off the top of the Billboard album chart in January 1992; but like all symbolic acts it crumbles under closer scrutiny. Dangerous is as paranoid and angry as "Polly," "Lithium," "Drain You," and any Nevermind pearl you care to mention. The production is the pivot on which reception turns: Dangerous is so expensively clattery -- and Jackson's public persona now swollen beyond control -- that you couldn't hear the paranoia and anger; Nevermind is so bright (Eric Weisbard once said Butch Vig's mix "assumed a social dominance alternative hadn't yet achieved") that Kurt Cobain's angst assumes mytho-poetic dimensions. I haven't thought too deeply about this yet, but this is really an untold story.
(inspired by relistening to Bad's "Man in the Mirror," Dangerous' "In the Closet" and "Who Is it?" and Blood on the Dance Floor's fucking psychotic "Morphine")