In pleading for a legacy edition of George Michael’s Faith, The Guardian’s Alan McGee calls for a re-examination of the singer/songwriter’s music, even comparing him to – ready for this? – Brian Wilson.

Believe it or not, McGee pretty convincingly makes the case that Michael’s solo breakout is on a par with Wilson’s masterpiece Pet Sounds.

Not only was it commercially successful, it also set a template for a solo artist wishing to progress beyond their boyband past (in Michael’s case, Wham!)

In restrospect, were Wham! really that bad? Of course they weren’t! Which is why Wham! have been making a comeback on the dancefloor recently courtesy of Idjut Boys and Dmitri from Paris.

Forget about Wham!, everything ’80s, from Bananarama to Rick Astley, has been making a comeback – and not just on the dancefloor.

Take a quick listen to Yeah Yeah YeahsIt’s Blitz! and see if you don’t think it was discovered buried in a time capsule from 1982. Or witness Santigold channeling Siouxsie Sioux on “My Superman” and Dale Bozzio on “L.E.S. Artistes” and tell me we haven’t come full-circle.

But that’s a topic for another day. Getting back to George Michael, here’s the bit about Pet Sounds.

Faith (the album) was classic pop. It found Michael moving into Brian Wilson Pet Sounds territory. Seriously – Michael co-produced, wrote all the songs, played most of the instruments and sang backing vocals and harmonies. Faith could have been “pop star ego gone wild” but it wasn’t. Instead it became an instant classic, standing alongside other albums released in 1987, namely: Sonic Youth’s Sister; The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Prince‘s Sign o’ the Times.

I hear you out there warming up to protest, but before you do, I’ll go McGee one better. Although Michael went on to write more mature and richly textured songs (“Praying for Time,” “Heal the Pain,” “Jesus to a Child”), I’d go so far as to say Faith is his best release ever and stands as one of the top albums of the ’80s.

If you honestly think about it, Michael belongs in the company of great pop song writers like Wilson, Neil Sedaka, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Sting and Prince. (Before the screaming starts, please note I said “pop song writers.” I’m well aware there are plenty of stellar songwriters in other genres.)

I wonder what might have been had the singer not found himself locked in a long battle with Sony that caused him to severely limit his output until he won his freedom in 1995.

Read Alan McGee’s complete post on the genius of George Michael here.