Mix-Tape #3

I heard about the news of Michael Jackson’s passing yesterday & was completely surprised. Growing up, my neighbor Andy Fiore & I wore out two Tapes of Michael Jackson’s Thriller by just playing them over and over and over. So yesterday, as melodramatic as it may sound, when Michael Jackson died another piece of my childhood died along with him as one of my idols moved on to whatever the next step of the journey is.

So today, in memorial of the truly amazing singer he was I offer you 8 Michael Jackson songs that I truly feel showcase his amazing ability.

Beat It

Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson were determined to make a rock song that would appeal to all tastes and spent weeks looking for a suitable guitarist for the song “Beat It”, a song Jackson wrote and played drums on. Eventually, they found Eddie Van Halen.

Dirty Diana

M.J. always had a rock edge to him. unlike the pop “stars” of today. This song about an overly aggressive woman (the kind of girl I encourage) has catchy hooks and riffs. Solid.

Smooth Criminal

With a ever quickening beating heart at the beginning it goes into Jackson’s lyrics about a woman named Annie, who has been attacked in her apartment by a hitman. Alien Ant Farm tried to cover this song, but fuck them.

She’s Out of My Life

A little cheesy, slightly dated, but a great song about loss. Jackson’s vocals on this record were judged some of his best. The song was written by Tom Bahler after Karen Carpenter broke up with him upon discovering he had fathered a child with another woman.

Human Nature

I know I posted it yesterday, but it really is his best song. The New York Times gave a positive review of the album, Thriller and dedicated a large amount of its coverage to the song “Human Nature”. They described it as the most “striking” song on the record, and wrote, “this is a haunting, brooding ballad by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis with an irresistible chorus and it should be an enormous hit”.


Two of Jackson’s sisters, Janet and La Toya, provided backing vocals in the guise of the P.Y.T. & it has some of the best vocals of MJ on the album.

Billy Jean

Originally disliked by Jones, the track was almost removed from the album after he and Jackson had a disagreement. The song’s lyrics refer to a real-life experience, in which a mentally insane female fan claimed that Jackson fathered one of her twins. The song is well known for its distinctive bass line and Jackson’s vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by Bruce Swedien before it was finalized.

You Are Not Alone

My second favorite Michael Jackson song written by R. Kelly. Hokey? Chessy? Perhaps, but when you have loved and lost this may be the perfect song to listen to. Also, perhaps this may be the enduring tribute song for Michael Jackson as he slips into the ether.

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