Let’s start out the new year with a look back at one of our most popular Three Best Songs columns; this one feting the King of Pop.
Noting that “this is a tough one,” my son, Fusion 10.5, and I convene on the Three Best Songs by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm].
#3 “Thriller” (from Thriller):
Referring to Vincent Price as “The Terminator,” Fusion 10.5 pegs “Thriller” as the third best MJ song, saying that Price’s riff at the end “is the best part.” He further supports his P.O.V. by saying “it’s a really fun song,” which, when it comes right down to it, is what pop music is supposed to be about. The video, which was groundbreaking at the time, wins extra points. I prefer “She’s Out of My Life,” because Michael actually does cry at the end of the song, but it’s not as fun as my 10-year-old’s choice.
#2 “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (from Off the Wall):
We’re in complete agreement with this cut dropping into out list at Number 2. Fusion 10.5 says he “loves the vocals,” but, for me, it’s the groove that makes this song work. From the very first bass note to Quincy Jones’ orchestra and horn arrangements to the percussion pushing the tempo, the song swings from start to finish. I consider Off the Wall to be Michael at his peak, so this is a close, close second on the list.
#1 “Billie Jean” (from Thriller):
Referring to the simple “boom-chock” drum beat that opens the song, 10.5 says “not many bands do that” and, again, he’s right. Well, a lot of bands do it, but few can do it with as much swing as John Robinson did here. He adds that his “hiccuping voice adds to the rhythm of the song” and that “the video of him dancing is amazing.” For me, it’s again the groove that makes “Billie Jean” the very best Michael song.