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The Best of the ‘King of Pop’

The Best of the ‘King of Pop’

by Yash Saboo September 7 2018, 5:32 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 0 secs

Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift will all come and go but The King of Pop – Michael Jackson – who would have turned 60 this year will remain the "King of Pop" till life exists on earth. Here's what Michael Jackson's catalogue is stuffed with – hit songs, more hit songs, and even more hit songs. Let’s take a trip to the past and look at some of Jackson's best works.

  1. Smooth Criminal

Rolling Stone notes: "with a propulsive beat and defiantly protective lyrics toward the injured ‘Annie’, the seventh (!) single from Michael Jackson's Bad was part of that album's paranoid, gritty denouement (it's bookended by the groupie rebuke ‘Dirty Diana’ and the tabloid kiss-off ‘Leave Me Alone’). While it showcases one of Jackson's more unbridled vocal performances, ‘Smooth Criminal’ only peaked at Number Seven on the Hot 100 (and Number Two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart). The eye-popping visual of Jackson's ‘anti-gravity lean’, its inclusion in Jackson's film and video-game releases related to Bad, and the punky 2001 cover by SoCal bro-metal outfit Alien Ant Farm helped it stick around in cultural memory."

  1. Billy Jean

Another major hit from the Thriller album was ‘Billy Jean’, the second single released from the album and is one of the bestselling singles of all time. It won two Grammy Awards and was really the song that helped Michael Jackson become the biggest pop artist in the world at the time. According to Jackson, the song is based on his view of groupies, and not actually based on a real event.

  1. Beat It

Jackson’s lyrics commonly conjured an atmosphere of social paranoia, from ‘They Don’t Really Care about Us’ to the KGB following him in ‘Stranger in Moscow’. ‘Beat It’, advocating tactical retreat over engaging in gang violence, conjures a grottier, more realistic urban nightmare landscape than “Smooth Criminal”, perhaps drawn from the street punks of Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979). Martin Scorsese’s video for ‘Bad’ would effectively update the aesthetic to more confrontational ends in 1987.

He’s on absolutely peak form here. Matchless, writes The Independent.

  1. Thriller

It is impossible to separate the song ‘Thriller’ from the video of the song. This song, arguably the best of Jackson, is directed by horror icon John Landis. The video is basically a mini horror movie where Michael Jackson and his girl are at the movies and she leaves because it is too scary. However, on the way home, he turns into a werewolf under the full moon and starts after her. It turns out to be a movie, but then when they leave, Michael turns into a zombie and the entire Thriller zombie dance starts. It is simply brilliant.

  1. Man in the Mirror

A sparkling, gospel-tinged mantra of self-betterment that could be seen as the phrase "the personal is political" being transformed into a song, ‘Man in the Mirror’ remains an inspirational touchstone of Jackson's catalogue. Composed by Siedah Garrett (who dueted with Jackson on the Bad ballad ‘I Just Can't Stop Loving You’) and Glen Ballard (whose production credits include Wilson Phillips' ‘Hold On’ and Alanis Morrissette's ‘Jagged Little Pill’), ‘Man in the Mirror’ spent two weeks at Number One on the Hot 100 after its initial release in 1988, and it reached Number Two on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart after Jackson's death in 2009.

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