June 25, 2009

Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs

Kevin says: The greatest musical entertainer since James Brown has passed away.
Here is a list of what may be his top 5 songs. Who knows, most of them were pretty good.
  1. Billie Jean
    probably his most popular song as a solo artist and for good reason. He had already established the template that folks like Justin Timberlake and Usher continue to follow, but this is him at his strongest and most confident in terms of dancing, singing and composing.
  2. Don’t Stop till You Get Enough
    I’m struck by the coy sexiness of his vocals and not just in the spoken word intro. There’s real feeling to his phrasing that makes the song swing on top of an absolutely brilliant Quincy Jones arrangement. A great marriage of pop, disco, soul, latin, and R&B styles. Listen to this song with headphones and pay attention to Jackson’s own call and response vocals and his counter-harmonies in the refrain. There’s so much going on in this piece it’s hard to take.
  3. Never Can Say Goodbye
    Probably not the best Jackson 5 tune, but a fantastic display of his amazing power with ballads that continued to impress even after his voice changed. Real soulful stuff here, no wonder Issac Hayes covered it.
  4. Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
    When this came out, it’s safe to say that Jackson sounded like no one else on this earth. You’ll immediately notice the vocal “hiccups” and his brilliant falsetto switches, but the song, which relies on a pretty standard pop riff really swings quite effortlessly due to his absolute mastery of melody.
  5. Rock With You
    This is the moment before the absolute supernova of the Thriller years occur. Really narrative singing here, with vocals that never overpower the sort of calm beauty of the song.
Eccentric? Hell yes. Bizarre Freakazoid? Sure, at times. The undisputed King of pop and modern R&B? Absolutely, no question.


Mona said...

Hey Kevin, thanks for your post!

I'm so glad someone else mentioned "Rock With You" because I wanted to put it in my top 5 list, but there were just too many. Definitely one of my "honorable mentions" :)

Brasilliant said...

I'm so glad you chimed in K-master. I roller skated to all of these hits in my garage as a wee-child. Michael Jackson will be sorely missed in my classic lineup.