The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

My Top 10 Michael Jackson Hits

Written by: Sherryn Daniel, Special to CC2K

In the wake of the King of Pop’s death, CC2K’s Sherryn Daniel chooses his best videos ever.

ImageThough this is a presumptuous detail to spew out, it’s not an easy task to break the racial barrier— musically. The man has been around for 50 years and there has to be at least one Michael Jackson song or video that lingers in EVERYONE’S heads. To compile a top ten for MJ is a very difficult task. He had way too many hits that I actually loved and if I can defy the powers that be, I would cook up a top 30, 40 or even 50 hits list. But life doesn’t work that way. Wonderful things end. So, here is a top ten list from a Michael Jackson fanatic.

“Scream” by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson

This video was worth the 7 million bucks shelled out. It’s not about any woman drama or does it have its traditional R & B flare. It’s clean cut rock. Imagine if NIN sang this or Marilyn Manson: or not. Would they really grab their crotch when they “screamed”? Probably not. But the video had uber cool special effects such as a gravity wall, a fast paced space ship and a floating moonwalk step.

Around this time the video came out, MJ was going through crucial allegations that he was a child molester and if you listen closely to this song, you can hear all of his anger, frustration and pain in his lyrics. That event has haunted him for the rest of his life— even until his death. This song is number one on my list because it’s exactly what he wanted to do to all of the haters out there who wanted to bring him down. He wanted to scream.

“They don’t care about us” by Michael Jackson

Yes, this is a Spike Lee joint. This 1996 video directed by Spike Lee has Michael dancing to African drums in a crowded street in Brazil basically proves how much he loves his heritage. He may look white in recent years but he is definitely black. “Beat me, bash me, you can even kick me.” Aren’t these the lyrics of an angry, oppressed black artist who is willing to stand up for his beliefs even when parts of the world deem him bonkers? Hell yeah. Spike Lee did an amazing job bringing out his raw anger in the video and MJ did a spectacular job spearheading this song.

I really love this song because it’s underrated, well done and it puts MJ into a different demographic. This song is for the oppressed third world. If you look into the Guinness Book of World records, it’s fact that MJ is the one celebrity that has donated the most to charity. The man has heart and it’s apparent through his love for the world’s ignored. If you are bitter ( like the rest of us) about MJ’s demise and over the plight of the hungry, homeless and hopeless, then see this clip to watch.

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by Michael and the Jackson 5

Every time I heard this song on the radio, I can’t stop thinking about his eventual goodbye to the world. Though he was a young kid when he first sang this song, his silky soulful voice carried this adult song to the top for a reason. It was heartfelt. The lyrics alone are what most women ( like myself) want their own dream man to say to them. It’s soaked with passion, especially when he regurgitates “ goodbye” towards the end of the song. His ‘whoo hoo’s’ and ‘yeah babies’ brings tears to my eyes because it’s that much of a cherished song.

Right when he died, this was the first song I heard on the radio. It was haunting and alluring since he died so young. This Motown classic will hopefully transcend the charts again but if not, it’s like a cloaked ghost that haunts people of the inevitable: MJ saying goodbye.

“I’ll Be There” by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5

This Jackson 5 30th year anniversary was the best clip I can find that best expresses this MJ classic. Strangely enough, I am a huge fan of his really old stuff when he was beginning to be famous and his newer songs when he was losing fame in the 90’s due to those child molestation allegations.

I really like Motown ballads like this because it’s easy on the ears and you really hear the star maturing into something more. The style in this piece, is R&B sweet and melo-deliscious whenever he elongates the “I’ll” portion of this tune. In this clip, it’s the 30th anniversary of The Jacksons and you really see how this song brings back painful memories for MJ. He goes into a semi-fetal position and cries into his palms over losing his childhood. Maybe he was wondering if he will ever “be” there considering all of the heartache, pain and loss he’s gone through growing up.

“Leave me alone” by Michael Jackson

I love this underrated song because I usually want people to leave me alone as well. Whenever someone annoys me, I always sing this song to their face. I bet Mikey J. loved this song too because the media wouldn’t leave him alone for having a best friend named Bubbles the chimp. Hurrah! Bubbles make an appearance in this music video as well. In your face world, MJ can do whatever he wants.

This song always gives me ear worms because the chorus always gets embedded inside my skull. “ Leave me alone, Leave me alone”. This song makes my complex list because it embodies how much he wants privacy for making certain decisions in his life. It’s fits well with me because I can blast this song whenever someone bugs me. FYI, this video will boggle your head because of its trippy images of Mikey J. zooming in the air on his plane, exploring new territory with his BFF Bubbles.

“You Rock My World” by Michael Jackson

This song beat out “Billy Jean”, “ Bad”, and even “ Thriller” from making this spot because I felt like he was singing this song to me of all people. I love how the chorus

brings the listener into the song and how the tune caresses my head fearlessly. This song was supposed to be his comeback for 2002 but everyone still remembers what happened in 1993. Because of that, he was only able to sell 9 million from his “ Invincible” album. His music video is also really slick since it showcases new dance moves, a story line and it guest stars the late great Marlon Brando.

It’s a recipe for success. I’m surprised that this song and video was never hyped up in the media. Maybe if Bubbles the chimp made another guest appearance or if he dangled a kid over a balcony then more people would’ve seen what a remarkable song and video it was. Ofcourse, Mikey J. is classy and wouldn’t blemish any of his videos with anything crass. But, then again, it’s what the people during that time wanted to see from him.

“You are not alone” by Michael Jackson

If there was a list for the world’s greatest love ballads, I think this song should be number one. Just because of the line, “ You are not alone.” This song has R& B roots from MJ’s Motown days. Even though this is not an underrated song like number two or six, it bleeds young love. The video is shot well, it explores beautiful island scenic views and it’s very open (since him and Lisa Marie are in the nude). Whenever I hear this song, I think about all the people who I love and who I would never leave. I can’t imagine anyone else singing this song with as much passion and heart as MJ.

“Remember the time” by Michael Jackson

I like this song a lot for personal reasons. Whenever I hear this song, it reminds of this old summer fling I had two years ago that died prematurely before it ever bloomed. His voice has this nostalgic tinge to it when he professed the chorus to world famous model Iman in the music video. That nostalgic tinge, the powerful ballads plus the storyline makes my eyes and heart wonder.. what if.. It’s a really powerful song that makes you think if MJ really had a love like that. Did he ever have a short lived fling that seems to escape time inside his head? Well, in this video, Iman seems to remember a time in Egypt when she loved Mikey J. That didn’t sit well for Eddie Murphy since he tried to get Magic Johnson to bust his ass.

“Don’t stop till’ you get enough” by Michael Jackson

Name one MJ song that jump starts your heart, makes you want to bust a move, and leaves you wanting more. Well, whatever you had in mind, I think “Don’t stop till’ you get enough” can make even the stiffest person break dance. I’m not a big disco buff but this is the farthest I will go for liking it since Mikey J sings it right without the foofy roller skates and disco floor. The rhythm is rambunctious, and I LOVE how there is so much adrenaline in the chorus. It’s like he’s trying to sing someone into a disco-induced coma or something.

“Rock with you” by Michael Jackson

I heart this song because it sounds like liquid sex. He sings it, and I swoon. Why don’t clubs play songs like this instead of poser crap from Usher? I don’t know. This song is our generations “ Let’s get it on” by Marvin Gaye for making love. It has the right synthesizers, riffs and lyrical content to break the ice.

I love this song more for the music video because Mikey J is wearing a very sparkly jumpsuit that I personally wish more people in the 80’s sported than the red jacket from the “ Thriller” music video. I wish I can make a time machine, go back in the 80’s, and snatch this outfit from him for just one night. I want to know how it’s like to dance in that suit so badly.

Author: Sherryn Daniel, Special to CC2K

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