Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Q: What did St. Peter say to Michael Jackson when he reached the Pearly Gates?
A: "Beat It"

In 1982, Michael was singing "Billie Jean"
In 2003, Michael was sniffing Billy's jeans.

Ah yes, and so the great Michael Jackson has left us and the whole world is still reeling over it. I read in Billboard today that he's poised to have a bunch of of his old albums reach the top 20 again. There have been tons of reports and remembrances of good ol' MJ and to try and avoid falling into that trap, I'm going to do a top 11 list of "my favorite underrated (mostly) Michael Jackson songs". Underrated is a tough word here because most of his songs were huge hits but I'm going to avoid the usual "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" here.

11.) "Say Say Say" (from Paul McCartney's "Pipes Of Peace") - MJ and Macca did two duets together but the one that landed on Thriller was the by far worst of the two "The Girl Is Mine". This is by far the better of two songs with a great bridge ("youuuuu never ever worry and you never shed a tear"). Their voices blend well together and the end of the song is drawn out nicely too. The video is a little creepy though in that Michael and his sister Latoya seem to be playing boyfriend/girlfriend in it.

10.) "The Lady In My Life" (from Thriller) - The last song on the Thriller album, its the one that gets the least amount of playing time. However, the intro got a ton of airplay when LL Cool J sampled it for his "Hey Lover" song. A great smooth jam with some excellent MJ vocals at the end.

9.) "Never Can Say Goodbye" (Jackson 5 era) - This song starts off with a few harmonies from his brothers and then you hear the sweet sound of young Michael. A neat little song that was a little complex for its time. It has a great chorus though. Love the dancing here too.

8.) "Dirty Diana" (Bad album) - Not exactly an underrated song since it was a number one hit. I just love the vocals and guitar in this song. The guitar part is played by Steve Stevens (awesome name by the way) who was the guitar player for Billy Idol. I can't understand what Michael is saying at the end and I love his screaming "c'mon!!!". I can't tell if this song was really recorded live in concert but if it was, I'd would have loved to have been able to see him. I used think that it was a girl playing the guitar oddly enough.

7.) "Can You Feel It" (The Jacksons Era) - This is an underrated part of MJ's career. You hear a lot of songs from the Jackson 5 era when he was a boy and then his solo stuff when he's in his 20's. Between this era came the Jacksons and this was probably the best song they had at this time (though "Blame It On The Boogie" and "Shake Your Body Down To The Ground" are pretty good too). I used to PUMP this song getting ready for the weekends back in my Boston days. Great intro and use of an orchestra here. The below video is way out there though...

6.) "Off The Wall" (from Off The Wall) - You can have your "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough...I'll take this song over those any day. Cool beginning, great bass line, and an awesome chorus with some great ad libs by the maestro himself (gotta love the "shake that thing" line). Below is a live video taken from the 1988 Bad tour, the last tour I think he sung everything totally live.

5.) "Another Part Of Me" (from Bad) - Michael loves the synthesizers here and who can blame him when he put them to good use like on this song. The intro sort of sounds like "Dirty Diana" but goes into this uptempo song that should have been another hit on the Bad album. Another "angry Michael" song.

4.) "Dancing Machine" (Jackson 5 era) - This is the first song you can start to hear MJ's voice drop from his little boy voice to the adult voice. A good dance song with some great harmonies at the end and I just love the "she's dance dance dance dance dancing machine" part at the end. The below video shows just how good MJ would become. Check out the spinning and singing at the same time around the :50 mark.

3.) "Torture" (from The Jacksons era) - An EXTREMELY underrated song, the last hit The Jacksons had together as a family and one of the scariest videos (see below) I remember as a kid. The whole song is scary sounding and that whip crack after they sing the line "its tortuuuure" is dark too. This kept MJ's fans occupied between the Thriller and Bad album.

2.) "Human Nature" (from Thriller) - An almost perfect song that has been sampled by other artists, it features probably the coolest synthesizer line and MJ's finest high pitch vocal (the "whyyyyyyyyy oh whyyyyyy") part. Some of his best lyrics ever. Random fact: the band Toto played the instrument parts on this song. Another perfect live version of this song.

1.) "Smooth Criminal" (from Bad) - This pulls everything together...the heavy breathing intro, the driving beat, the "Shooka Shooka" line at the beginning, the awesome instrumental breakdown in the middle. Not only is this is the perfect song but the video for this song takes it to a complete new all time favorite music video. If I could dance like he does for more than 3 seconds in this video, I'd be very happy.

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