Forget everything you know about Michael Jackson for a minute. You there yet? I didn’t think so. Truth be told, is it really possible to think of Michael Jackson and not think of a list of things that includes:
2. Skin bleaching
3. Bad nose job(s)
5. “Bubbles” the chimpanzee
8. Wants to be Diana Ross
10. Enjoys sleeping with young boys. No really! He just likes sleeping with them. Okay, in MJ’s case, it’s pedophilia.
Now that we have all that on the table, let’s get to the music, shall we? Actually, this mix was due in large part to a snark-fest on VH1 (I know, you’re probably wondering “Which one?”). Truth be told, I can’t remember. But what I do remember was that they were playing the video for “Billie Jean” and as it was playing, I turned to my wife and said, “You know, despite all the Michael Jackson freak stuff that’s fodder for shows like these, that song is just solid!” I then hit on the mix, and, well, the rest is right here for you to enjoy.
“Rock With You” (download)
A couple of weeks ago, Scott Malchus and I did a mix focused on whatÂ Phil Collins brought to table as a session drummer. Â Sometimes a drummer brings the right combination of spice and groove for a great song. I think the opening drum pattern John Robinson lays down on “Rock With You” really brings attention to a song whose mid-tempo groove was “Awww yeah” to begin with. However, there’s a point when a song is coming together that it needs a certain je ne sais quoi that pushes it from good to great. I think John Robinson found the right pattern that made ears perk up and take notice of a great song.
“Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” (download)
You know, there’s bad disco and good disco. The Jacksons, quite simply, really knew how to produce good disco. This song was written by Michael and Randy and I think marks one of the earliest MJ “hiccup” vocal punches that he would use (and overuse) later in his career.
“Black or White” (download)
This song is noted for a big credit for a small role. What’s that? Well, Slash (of Guns ‘N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver fame) did the “Intro” to the song — an intro that lasted all of five seconds. But there ’tis. I guess Slash said to MJ: “Yeah, I’ll give you a little something, but it ain’t going to be Eddie Van Halen part II.”
“Smooth Criminal” (download)
In the liner notes to this song, the following credit is included: “Clap by Michael Jackson.” Since he usually wears one glove, I think we’ve finally learned the sound of one hand clapping. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any “human clapping” going on in this song, so it must be some kind of joke that shows what an amazing comedian MJ is. My God, he really is a genius.
“Billie Jean” (download)
While I think this is one of those perfect pop songs, it will always remind me of David Letterman. Dave had an ongoing bit in the mid-’80s where he thought MJ was saying “The CHAIR is not my son.” Letterman even went so far as to playback the chorus of the song to prove his point. At the right moment, you heard a deep voice dubbed over the song say “Chaaaair.” I guess you had to be there.Â Well, I laughed, anyway.
“Wanna Be Startin’ Something’ “(download)
Go ahead and sing every “Mamasay, Mamasa Mamakusa,” I dare you.