UrbanGuy’s Five Underrated Michael Jackson Songs

Posted in culture, film, funky snob, music, words on July 2nd, 2009 by urbanguy

mj

It’s been a full week since Michael Jackson passed on and I still can’t believe it. Usually when I hear about a celebrity dying, my reaction is nowhere near as it was when I heard this news.

Dude was only 50…I shouldn’t have been hearing this for at least another 20-30 years.

This honestly feels like a relative passing…it’s a truly strange feeling. Everything that could be said has already been written (and arguably more eloquently), but for me he was a supremely talented individual who stands as a tragic genius, a symbol of the transformative power of music…that and the fact that we typically don’t appreciate something ( or someone) until it’s gone.

It’s weird that listening to his music now adds a richer context, a deeper sense of meaning…a growing realization that we will likely never witness someone so musically talented in our lifetime. His achievements will likely never be topped, and the chance of an individual so thoroughly dominating and captivating the music culture consciousness will never be duplicated.

For me, the favourite MJ songs are the underrated ones, the ones that you probably won’t hear in any mainstream tribute. This list is by no means definitive (or in any particular order), but here is five of my  beloved and underrated Michael Jackson tracks:

Heaven can wait: 2001′s Invincible was vastly underrated. Poorly promoted (MJ was in the throes of a huge public/media backlash) Heaven Can Wait is a testament to the fact that even through he was prone to screaming his vocals rather than singing at this point in his career, he could still throw down when he wanted to. Great lyrics, fab production (check out that amazing bridge where his vocals get progressively stronger before it climaxes). Great track.

Butterflies: If you’ve heard Floetry’s demo version of this, you greatly appreciated Michael’s uncanny knack for making any song his own. Another one off the Invincible album, Floetry’s version is good but MJ’s emoting on this joint makes the song for me. Just a great song.

Happy: “Suspended between time and space…” Love, love this song that people not many people have heard from the Music & Me LP. Listen to that classic 1970s orchestral sound…haunting and beautiful at the same time. If you don’t smile while listening to this track, something is seriously wrong with you.

Get on the floor – This track from the seminal Off the Wall just could have easily been a single. Off the Wall was Jackson’s groundbreaking LP but that are more a  couple of tracks that should have been more popular. This is one of them for sure. Just a damn cool funky disco groove…sounds like a song that would have been played early to get the party started.

Morning glow: Michael transforms a sappy track from a 1972 Broadway musical into a hidden gem of a song. Even if you don’t know who Pippin (son of Charlemagne) is, you know that Mike sings the hell out of this song.  Off his Music & Me solo album, the vocal control and range for someone so young is magical. Even the backstory (Pippin is a young princely lad looking for something to make his life worth living for) is vividly ironic.

Thanks for the great music Michael.

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