Funk-infused single that launched Michael Jackson’s solo career. A breathtaking mix of dance and pop, this song marked his signature anti-gravity lean for the first time.
This playful ballad illustrates Jackson’s lack of artistic control as a Motown artist, though it still features an infectious chorus and Carlos Santana’s lively horns.
Listen to the top ten Michael Jackson songs on Mp3juice without having to sign up or log in. Here you will find all of the songs that will blow your mind.
1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
Jackson shows his vocal range on this song while simultaneously demonstrating his skills at crafting an effective chorus. The lyrics reflect feelings of introspection while maintaining an image of confidence and strength.
Off the Wall is home to two songs that didn’t make it, including this slick groove which gives us our first taste of Michael Jackson’s combative side. The lyrics evoke working day and night while being enhanced by hyperactive Latin percussion and sharp horns.
Quincy Jones often mentions making difficult choices when selecting tracks for Thriller and Bad, yet must have had plenty of great outtakes that didn’t make the cut, such as this bathetic song about children that makes Jackson sound as though he is picking his own sores while simultaneously featuring an eccentric rap from Siedah Garrett.
2. Rock With You
One of the early songs Michael Jackson composed as a solo artist was this infectious tune from Off the Wall that showcases his pop prescience. Hyperactive Latin percussion, spiky horns and Michael’s breathless vocals all anticipate what would later become dancehall sound popularized during the 1990s.
After an unsuccessful initial release, this revised version ultimately found more success as a B-side to another popular single: Thriller. While more accessible than its original form, it still features Jackson’s signature beat and vocals fluttering along.
Jackson had an extremely powerful social conscience despite widespread tabloid portrayals. This powerful and poignant track dedicated to teenager Ryan White who died due to contracting AIDS from subpar blood treatments was one of Jackson’s attempts at addressing the problem and inspired the establishment of his Heal the World foundation.
Rehashing Berry Gordy’s motown formula that hit the charts 10 summers later as SWV’s Number One R&B single from Free Willy (children’s movie). Jackson often used little fanfares at the start of his songs; here it’s just generically beautiful with an appealing hook about seducing women.
Thriller was Jackson’s debut track to showcase his signature falsetto voice and vocal hiccups; these would become his signature techniques throughout his career. While not the most engaging or catchy track on the album, “This Is It” marks an evolution musically and lyrically, as well as socially. Jackson used lyrics encouraging young people to avoid violence depicted on celluloid. This resulted in an extremely impactful song.
4. In The Closet
Jackson’s best song in terms of pure musical form, this track floats on an expansive layer of exquisite keyboard riffs and his vocals sit comfortably atop them with their restrained yet determined pace.
Dangerous’ opener by the same team that wrote Man in the Mirror, this bathetic ballad reportedly refers to Jackson being pursued by a groupie (he later denied this was real). Teddy Riley (who began his career with Heatwave) brings professional production and an appealing hard rock anthem alive; yet its melody seems aimless and Jackson sounds as though they’re picking at an open wound.
Given credible child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson at that time, Jackson sings his usual nonsense syllables during the chorus – it’s hard to believe this didn’t make the cut for Thriller!
5. Billie Jean
One of Michael Jackson’s signature tracks from 1983’s Thriller album, this 1983 single helped make history’s best-selling record. Additionally, one of Jackson’s most memorable live performances featured him wearing both white T-shirt and sequined black blazer while performing classic moonwalk steps.
This song combines R&B, funk and dance music and tells the tale of Billie Jean – an obsessed fan who claims that Michael Jackson fathered their child. A lighted sidewalk that Jackson walks upon symbolizes fame and temptation while its dimming after each step shows his vulnerability.
Quincy Jones apparently wanted Jackson to remove this song from the album; however, Jackson fought hard to keep it and demonstrate his maturity by giving life to its haunting lyrics through vocal phrasing and breathy delivery.
This Michael Jackson song may not be one of his catchiest or funnest, but it stands out when it comes to pure musical form. The basic composition is wonderful, while Jackson elevates it further through stunning keyboard riffs and an understated yet determined pace.
It’s the most emotionally complex song on an expansive album; an orchestrated triptych of loss and loneliness. The piano is delicate; soundscapes seem artificial – yet once he starts singing it takes on an irrefutable emotional weight that cannot be denied.
This song tells a compelling and emotive tale about a girl running away from home and ending up on the streets, which Jackson delivers with teary sobs. Given credible allegations against Jackson for child sexual abuse at this time, it is remarkable that his estate and Timbaland would release such content.
7. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
Michael Jackson’s first single from Bad is an engaging combination of pop polish and unabashed funkiness, featuring one of the great guitarists of our era as its featured soloist. Our list ranks this number one even though it failed to make the Top 10 charts.
Motown songwriters had to modify this lyrics about a child runaway so prepubescent Jackson could perform it without raising his parents’ eyebrows – yet the result remains dorkily sweet.
Beginning with piano sweeps that sound menacing and haunting, the vocals sounding like child’s cry; then suddenly, a choir joins in with powerful, meaningful tones that eventually rose to number seven on the charts despite having only made its impactful debut then; it would later serve as a sampled track in Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s hit, also inspiring Michael Jackson’s Heal the World Foundation with the aim of improving children’s lives worldwide.
8. I’ll Be There
This song captures the feeling of an intimate movie scene and promises always being there for someone you care about through good times and bad. Co-written by Teddy Riley of R&B group Guy fame – known for producing sparkling production that would later give birth to New Jack Swing as an alternative genre –
Timbaland seemed to put aside allegations of child sexual-abuse that dogged Jackson while crafting this subpar song, which tells of a woman luring men into the big city by pretending innocence while offering glamour and gifts. Jackson’s breathy vocals and seductive music certainly make this track memorable, although its deeper meaning remains somewhat unclear.
9. I Want You Back
Few stars have had such an immense influence on modern music as Michael Jackson has. From his work with the Jackson 5 to his final days, MJ broke barriers through music videos, dance performances, and more.
Quincy Jones has noted the difficulty of selecting songs for both Thriller and Bad, yet this song did not make the cut. A ballad to an unidentified woman, it shows Michael trying out new styles like jack swing but falls flat due to half-hearted attempts at realizing its chorus by singing nonsensical sounds instead of words.
This hard rock song, produced by Rod Temperton – who also produced his disco hits for Heatwave – may have been about an ardent groupie who plagued Jackson. The growling funk synths, an unusual change from his typical sound, may have inspired this composition.
Another track from the posthumously released 25th anniversary edition of Bad, this was another light and forgettable piece of oversweet pop confection written by Michael Jackson himself despite credible child sexual abuse accusations against him. Quincy Jones’ production here seems overdramatic while Jackson alternated between defiant roars and tearful chokes throughout its duration.
This lush ballad marked Michael Jackson’s evolution from lead singer of a successful boy band into King of Pop and became part of Free Willy soundtrack. Notably, Jackson used this track to demonstrate his range; one could argue it is one of his finest but it never hit mainstream charts; definitely worth listening out for though!