Friday, June 25, 2010

My 10 favorite Michael Jackson songs

Michael Jackson died exactly one year ago today. Over here, the Washington Post's critics and commenters are making lists of their 10 favorite Michael Jackson songs. The main surprise is that many people (including all the critics) include "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," which to me is one of the low points of the Thriller album.

Here are mine (I'm following WaPo's rule: no Jackson 5, only solo songs):

1. Billie Jean

I'm not generally putting this list in any particular order, but this is his best.




2. Leave Me Alone

The message of the song is ridiculous, but I wish he had done more music in this style.




3. The Way You Make Me Feel




4. The Man in the Mirror

This is unbelievably maudlin and self-aggrandizing, but it does exactly what it's trying to do.




5. Black or White

Like "Leave Me Alone," the message of this song is impossible to take seriously given the messenger, but it's good music.




6. Don't Stop Till You Get Enough

The Off the Wall album has a cult status that his others don't have, but it's actually weaker than Thriller, Bad, or Dangerous. This song is the exception.




7. Remember the Time




8. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'




9. Smooth Criminal




10. Thriller


This has been viewed "76,575,284" times on YouTube. That's surely a very small fraction of the number of times the video itself has been viewed online, since the number doesn't include embeds or any other copy of the video. It's hard to fathom how wildly popular he's been, for over 30 years.

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