"Michael Jackson's Thriller arrived in record stores 25 years ago this past week. The milestone will officially be celebrated in February  with a 25th anniversary edition of the album... From the distance of a quarter-century, the release of Thriller looks like... the most significant event in popular-music history in the past quarter-century. It is the record that ended commercial pop radio's de facto apartheid, that ushered in the modern music-video era, that turned a former kiddie star into a new generation's equivalent of Elvis and the Beatles. Thriller sold 40 million copies during its initial run, and today the worldwide sales stand at 104 million. Those numbers may well represent the last great moment of pop consensus. At a time of intense musical fragmentation, it is charming to remember a record that seduced seemingly everyone: blacks, whites, grade-schoolers, grandparents."