By Waddie Grant
With the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson, a.k.a. The King Of Pop, looming tomorrow, I wanted to share with you all my ten personal favorite songs of Mr. Jackson.
Above all artists, his musical has been one of the most influential as far as how I want to express my own creativity. His trend-setting, thinking outside-the-box and social awareness significantly affected the music industry positively, and my creativity has been affected as well. I admired his perfection. I feel the emotions he spews in my favorite tunes of his. The upbeat tempos bring up my spirits where I want to dance whenever I hear them. Ultimately, Jackson’s music takes me onto an imaginary journey where I visualized my own visual soundtrack to his music.
Thus, these ten songs below are the Michael Jackson tunes I will never grow out of loving.
10. “In The Closet” (Dangerous album, 1992)
I love the New Jack Swing era of Michael Jackson. That kind of rhythm with one of Jackson’s sexiest lyrics and music videos kept me jammin’ for a long time. Also, this song has that extended instrumentation that was popular in the 80′s and 90′s that keep us party people dancing.
9.”Heal The World” (Dangerous album, 1992)
8.”Break Of Dawn” (Invincible album, 2002)
When I first listened to Invincible album, I remember loving every second of the album because I was glad that Michael finally released new music since his 1995 HIStory album. Immediately after, I realized how dated the album sounded, but this song stood out to me. I remember creating this beautiful imagery in my head of a beautiful, sunny morning atmosphere with the one I would love.
7.”They Don’t Care About Us” (HIStory album, 1996)
There are many sides of Michael that I love, and his militant side is what I appreciate the most. His pro-Black and caring for the world approach in his music about social injustice makes his catalog of music stand out above all other artists. I love singing the lyrics of this tune when I feel militant-minded. I even love the music video with Jackson protesting with the poor residents of Brazil.
6.”Ain’t No Sunshine” (Got To Be There album, 1972)
Who knew that a 14 year old male pop singer could sing a song with so much soul as Michael did with this remake of this Bill Withers classic? His vocal dynamics of this heart-wrenching soulful ballad made me feel the melancholy anguish of the lyrics. His rendition outperforms the vocal talents of his contemporaries twice his age.
5.”Got To Be There” (Got To Be There album, 1971)
I first fell in love with Chaka Khan’s remake of this tune before I even knew that Michael was the original singer from a decade prior. When I learned that revelation, I’m thinking Chaka’s version had to make Michael’s forgettable. Fortunately, I was wrong. Like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” I could not picture a young male teen singing his soul out like a seasoned adult performer about such experience a teen may be too young to endure. At that point, I realized Michael was able to sing anything at any age.
4.”Scream” (Naughty Pretty Pella remix) featuring Janet Jackson & Treach (HIStory album, 1995)
The pairing of Michael and his equally popular sister Janet made me go bananas on this tune. I admit that I was enamored with the high-tech music video more than the song’s album version until I heard the official remix with Treach of Naughty By Nature. The rock and neo-soul groove of the remix is one of my favorite instrumentations I have ever listened.
3.”Billie Jean” (Thriller album, 1993)
What is not to love about this tune? The bassline beat is the hottest. Jackson’s moonwalk changed the game of stage performance and became a legend instantly. The subject matter was ahead of its time, especially for a R&B/pop singer. I didn’t even understand what the lyrics were about. I was seven years old at that time. Regardless, I enjoy the song now as much as I did then.
2.”Man In The Mirror” (Bad album, 1988)
The humanitarian in Michael Jackson is what I will always admire most about his legacy. I remember being in middle singing this song all the time and realizing for the first time how I could be more socially aware especially about communities and countries who really need the help and love that I have been blessed to have.
1.”Remember The Time” (Dangerous album, 1992)
Hands down, this is my favorite song to perform at karaoke. I remember at first listen when I was 15 years how this song made me want to dance. The song could never get out of my head either…and that was before the video came out with all that Black star power and the hottest choreography of that era. When I got the Teddy Riley extended remix of this song, I fell in love with this song much more. I wish I had the talent of dancing because I would create the hottest choreography for this.
From this list you would think that Dangerous is my favorite Jackson album, but Thriller is really my favorite. What are your favorite Michael Jackson songs and albums?