The Michael Jackson Sweet 17Aug 29, 2004 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line These are my current favorite 17 Michael Jackson songs.
I've always wanted to come up with a list of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. That would seem impossible if you counted anything before 1979 since he's probably been the lead singer on several hundred songs. I decided to only count songs from his adult solo albums starting with Off The Wall and all the way through his last album Number Ones. I also decided to do a top 17, since that's the average number of songs you can burn onto a CD. What made me finally put the list together? Well, the Speeddemon decided to post a special review for MJ's birthday, which is August 29th. I decided that if I could do so, I'd try to post my list on the same day.
I listened to each of MJ's albums (recently as opposed to the numerous times before) and jotted down every song that I liked. Since this was a "favorite" list, rather than a MJ's Best list, I didn't have to include good songs that I am tired of like In The Closet, Scream, Beat It, and Black Or White. Well, I'm not sure if Black Or White is all that good, but it was fairly popular. After that, I went through each song on my "favorite" list and just started eliminating songs. Underrated songs like Morphine, Why You Wanna Trip On Me, Break Of Dawn, Stranger In Moscow, Liberian Girl (which my wife thought was about a librarian), and the unreleased If You Don't Love Me were considered, but not selected. Mainstays like Off The Wall, Remember The Time, Thriller, You Rock My World, and Earth Song were also kicked off the island. There were more that were considered, but we'd be here all day.
Let's do the countdown.
While much of the public hated Invincible (and I'm sure it was simply their hate for MJ than just the album), I thought it was a solid album. Much of the last half of the album wasn't that good, but the first half was really good. It was heavy on ballads and Heaven Can Wait was one of the best. It's not a well known MJ song to non MJ fans, but is a song that needs to be heard. MJ sings about loving a girl so much that if the angels came down to take him, he'd ask them to wait because he wants to go back to his love. She's Out Of My Life is one of the most expressive songs MJ has ever recorded. It's also famous for being the butt of one of Eddie Murphy's jokes on Delirious. While many people think it's sappy, I see it as genuine emotion. It cuts like a knife, she's out of his life. Another sappy ballad (and that's three in a row), You Are Not Alone was his last real big hit. Penned by R. Kelly, and memorable for the video which depicted MJ and then wife Lisa Marie Presley butt naked, it's not as beautiful as some of his other ballads, but is still a really good song and one of the last few that touched the pop music masses. I'm a sucker for Will You Be There. Even though it was featured in Free Willy, even though the first lyrics include the words, "hold me like the river jordan", and even though it includes a long and annoying spoken outro, there's still something special about the way he blends with the choir. And yes, I know I'm a big fan of the sap. Butterflies or the remix with Eve needed a video. It really needed a video. The most popular song from Invincible could've done some serious damage on the charts had it been released properly with a video. A vulnerable ballad that showed MJ still has some powerful pipes. Lady In My Life is possibly MJ's most adult sounding ballad. The slowed down heavy strings just moan lustful fun.
Whatever Happens not being released as a single might've been the biggest mistake on the Invincible album. Teaming with Carlos Santana, MJ creates a better record than most of what was on Santana's Grammy winning record, Supernatural. It was the perfect match and is that mystery type MJ record that just works for him almost every time. Whatever happens, just don't let go of dude's hand. The first of the shady lady MJ records on this list, Who Is It is my favorite track from Dangerous. MJ sings of a girl who promised him forever and then made that promise so untrue. He also wondered who she was so untrue to him with. Was it a friend of his? Or his brother? And he can't take it no more. I'm going to say that it was Tito. This isn't a broken record, but yet another song about a mysterious woman, Dirty Diana is the ultimate groupie song. If you just read the lyrics, they are dynamite. It's almost as if he's singing about a drug rather than a woman. And listening to him scream, "Dirty Diana, nah!" pretty much tells you the feeling. I'm not only into MJ's ballads and crazy woman/relationship songs. Man In The Mirror written by Glen Ballard is one of the more touching songs in MJ's discography. MJ's asking you to look at the man (or woman) in the mirror, and he's asking you to make a change. Though at times it can seem that MJ's problems will mask all the good that he has done, you can't take away from a great song. Probably MJ's most inspirational song, On The Line has been unreleased probably until later this year when a boxed set is released. The song was originally supposed to be on Spike Lee's Get On The Bus Soundtrack. It's all about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and is everything that Keep The Faith from Dangerous was supposed to be. When you think of Michael Jackson videos, Beat It, Billie Jean, and Thriller automatically come to your mind. But after that, it has to be Smooth Criminal. The song is really simple. It's about Annie who is shot down and killed, with her killer leaving blood stains on the carpet. You get all that in the first verse. And the rest of the song is MJ continuing to ask Annie if she's ok. It's almost as if MJ can't let her go. She's definitely dead. But MJ continues to ask her if she's ok. He asks her if she's ok some 42 times. Rather than go after this smooth criminal, he continues to ask her if she's ok. But, it hits you hard and it created one of the greatest choreographed videos of all time. I don't think Annie was ok, but MJ really wanted her to be.
The Top 5:
5: Human Nature is just damn magical. There's not anyway else I can explain it. Everytime I hear it, it's special. I'm really not sure why it's so special, but it just is. MJ told me to tell you that it's just Human Nature. Why does he do me that way?
4: They Don't Care About Us is an explosive song. MJ expresses his hate for how some people are treated in the world. He uses the phrases, "jew me" and "k*ke me" to compare the struggle of African Americans with that of the Jewish people. It was a dangerous way to make a point because it would be taken wrongly, which is exactly what happened. But it was MJ's most powerful song and it was a ballsy way to prove a point.
3: Don't Stop Till You Get Enough is a karaoke singer's worst nightmare. Can you think of anyone besides Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2 who has covered this song? Nope. Not one. And why? Because they would hurt themselves if they tried. MJ sings in a falsetto the entire way. Justin Timberlake and Usher want to take his crown? Try covering this song. I dare you.
2: Rock With You is the jam from Off The Wall that everyone from that time remembers. If I go out with some of my aunts and uncles and Rock With You comes on, they get up and dance. It doesn't matter if we're out dancing, or simply at a barbeque, they get up and dance. Not too many other songs like that.
1: Billie Jean is the quintessential Michael Jackson jam for me. It's the one song that makes me wish I was some sort of entertainer who could get up on stage and sing and dance. It's the one song that makes me wish that for one day in my life (and only one day) I could be Michael Jackson. If Dirty Diana was the ultimate groupie song, this is the ultimate baby mama drama song. She told him her name was Billie Jean and told him that he was the one, and that the kid was his son. Imagine that. The girl says that you're the one. You know you're not the one. Hell, you're not even sure if you did the deed with her. But she won't let it go. She's so sure that you're the one. Baby mama drama.
This list may change in the future as it's changed in the past, and I'm sure MJ fans all around will have their favorite song that I didn't mention, or one of the songs that I love is probably on their most hated list, but it's just my list for the moment.
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