The act of choosing Michael Jackson’s best songs can be akin to choosing a favorite child for devoted fans of the iconic hitmaker’s music. After all, personal issues aside, no one can touch the King of Pop’s eclectic library of inspirational, emotionally evocative and bee-boppingly fun hits. Post introspection, here’s a look at this writer’s top 5 favorite Michael Jackson tunes.
The Best of Michael Jackson – Song #5: Billie Jean. I remember bopping to Billie Jean when I was 5, fully decked out in pink striped legwarmers and matching fuzzy fabric headband. Of course, I didn’t get the meaning back then, but you don’t have to be mature or fully cognizant of all the words to recognize a catchy tune. And really, what self-respecting and narcissistic 5-year old doesn’t enjoy belting out ‘I AM THE ONE’?
The Best of Michael Jackson – Song #4: Thriller. The groundbreaking, mega cool music video inspired a Filipino prison to perform their very own orange jumpsuit-laden and amazingly coordinated version; see it here and be really, really impressed. That aside, Thriller melds scary and funny in a way that few – if any – other songs have managed over time. If you grew up in the 80s, you have to love this song. It’s in the manual.
The Best of Michael Jackson – Song #3: You Are Not Alone. The consummate 80s slow-dance song, You Are Not Alone showcases the softer side of MJ. It’s a tale of quiet longing and subsequent reassurance that captures the nuances of the singer’s voice in ways that faster-paced offerings like Bad, Beat It and Billie Jean don’t. It’s sweet, emotional, and a pleasant departure from the edgier norm.
The Best of Michael Jackson – Song #2: Beat It. Ne ne ne-ne ne, ne-ne ne ne. When it comes to 80s music, it’s virtually impossible to find a song that’s more recognizable from its opening bars than Beat It. It doesn’t matter if you’re an 80-year old grandma or a 10-year old boy: The powerful lyrics and delivery make this iconic tune completely unforgettable from first-listen. Period.
The Best of Michael Jackson – Song #1: Man in the Mirror. It may be the most fundamental concept of all time: Meaningful change begins at home, on the individual level. MJ brought the idea to life with Man in the Mirror’s powerful vocals and gave us all something to think about. Wanna change the world? Get crackin’ and don’t expect someone else to do your job for you. It’s social responsibility spelled out in the simplest form possible.
Since it’s such a challenge to whittle down Jackson’s impressive library to just the top 5, here are 5 quick honorable mentions to round out a top 10: Bad, ABC, We Are the World, Black and White and I’ll Be There. What are your favorite Michael Jackson songs? Sound off.
Filipino Prison Re-enacts Thriller Video, YouTube