10 Underrated Michael Jackson Songs

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[All songs from his solo career only.]

1. Baby Be Mine [Thriller, 1982]

I know what you’re thinking; how can a song from an album that sold 30 million copies in the US alone be underrated? Well in an album with so many iconic songs, “Baby Be Mine” consistently gets overlooked. It is the best jam on that album, no doubt. I play it all the time at my DJ nights and people bop every time.

2. Stranger in Moscow [HIStory, 1995]

One of Michael’s most powerful and emotional songs. It flopped in America and was a moderate hit around the rest of the world. The HIStory period was not well-regarded by the press and most of the songs on the album were greatly overlooked, in my opinion. The melody to this song is beautiful and as usual, Michael’s vocals are transcendent and also very vulnerable. The “how does it feel” part gets me every time, man. Tame Impala recognized the genius and did a rad cover of this song earlier this year.

3. Give In To Me [Dangerous, 1991]

Michael always tried to do one rock song on each album and this is one of his most passionate and filled with sexual tension. Slash from Guns and Roses plays guitar.

4. Girlfriend [Off The Wall, 1979]

Paul McCartney allegedly wrote this song for Michael but ended up recording it with Wings first. Michael’s version is far superior and is a nice mid-tempo breezy number on an album full of dance floor bangers.

5. They Don’t Care About Us [HIStory, 1995]

Another song from this era that was big worldwide but barely made a blip in the US due to some controversial lyrics and bad press at the time. I really like all of MJ’s songs about his haterz and this song in particular always had a killer military inspired dance routine when he performed it live.

6. Another Part of Me [Bad, 1987]

Some people may remember this song from the Captain EO 3D film at Disney World and it’s a jam!! As you can see in the link above, it was a killer song to perform and Michael really got into it. The vocals on this song are flawless.

7. Who Is It [Dangerous, 1991]

A rare song where Michael sings in his lower register, giving it a very sultry energy. The Dangerous album had five Top 20 singles and this was one that was overshadowed by the media hoopla surrounding the others.

8. Dangerous [Dangerous, 1991]

I love that Michael always tried to keep in touch with music trends, and for the Dangerous album he worked with new jack swing producer Teddy Riley to keep things “fresh.” This song is the prime example of MJ incorporating those modern r&b and hip hop elements into his music but still making it “his.”

9. You Rock My World [Invincible, 2001]

This whole era was pretty much written off by the critics, but I think this song is a nod to MJ’s Off The Wall album but modernizing it for what was then the “TRL audience” of the early 2000s. And the chorus is catchy as hell.

10. Dirty Diana [from Bad, 1987]

I just think this is his greatest song ever and should be on ALL THE LISTS EVER.

What do you think are Michael’s most underrated songs?

Bad Song Requests

I’ve been a DJ for over six years now, and I feel like it is finally time to make a public service announcement for the benefit of DJs and dance club enthusiasts everywhere. I have compiled a list of the most common, most annoying, and most bizarre song requests that I get when I DJ. In preparation for this list, I have also informally consulted with my fellow DJs in the Lawrence and Chicago area and we surprisingly were in agreement on most of these terrible requests.

Most Requested Songs
Every time we DJ, we get requests for one or all of the following: Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince. Most often we get those requests right after playing one of the songs by the aforementioned artists, and I’m sorry dancers, but I am not playing two Madonna songs in a row. Inevitably it’s a frat boy that requests Michael Jackson, and it tends to be “Thriller”, which is a good song, but I will only play it on Halloween. No exceptions. When it comes to Madonna, I am not playing Like a Virgin, so don’t bother asking. She has way better dance songs.

Annoying Requests
Almost every time we DJ, we get requests to play Abba’s “Dancing Queen.” We usually have a pretty solid gay following on our dance nights, but the usual suspect of the Abba request tends to be a girl who is celebrating a birthday or there for a bachelorette party. I’m not going to be too harsh on Abba, they have some decent songs. I do not believe “Dancing Queen” is one of them. That song also is not very danceable, especially on a weekend night when we’re in the middle of a banging hip hop set. And you know what, I’m never playing an Abba song when I DJ. It’s never going to happen. Can people please stop requesting this stuff?

It seems like lately people have been requesting Girl Talk a lot. PLEASE DO NOT ASK A DJ TO PLAY GIRL TALK.
A) Most DJs hate Girl Talk.
I find Girl Talk to be an offensive use of sampling and I do not understand why someone would want to hear snippets of a shitty 1980s Steve Winwood song mixed up with a shitty Billy Idol song, or whatever the hell Girl Talk does.
B) Girl Talk is a bunch of crappy song snippets mixed together. Who wants to listen to that when they could just hear the whole song? Why do I want to hear 8 seconds of a badass Lil Wayne/Birdman song mixed with a shitty song when I could just play the whole Lil Wayne song by itself?

It’s All About Timing
DJing is usually a progression throughout the night. Good DJs tend to have a general plan of action for the night, usually beginning with music that’s chill, slower, and essentially good for people to talk over while they get drunk. DJs usually save their absolute bangers for the end of the night. If the bar closes at 2am, you can expect the DJ to play their absolute jams from 12:45 to last call. Therefore, I will not be playing your Ludacris request at 10pm. I will not be playing “Back That Ass Up” for your drunk ass at 9:45pm right when I get to the bar and set up. Those are songs we save until the absolute crowd peak at 1:15 am. Why would I waste a good song on three drunk people early in the night?

On the flip side, if it is 1:30am and we only have three songs to play before the night is over, I am not playing Al Green. Most likely, I played Al Green much earlier in the night when it went with the rest of my set.

There is a method to our madness when we DJ. Most DJs, unless they are specialized and only play Northern Soul or African funk or House music or what not, end the night with songs that they known are proven crowd pleasers. A lot of these songs tend of be of the dirty hip hop variety. Please do not request Culture Club at 1:40am, because Culture Club is a terrible request and it does not fit in with the Spank Rock/Trina/Salt-N-Pepa booty shakin vibe that is obviously happening right now.

And Finally…
-I will not play Britney Spears. Showing your breasts to the DJ in order for them to play your Britney Spears song will not help your case.
-I am not playing the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. I had someone request this last time we DJed. WTF?
-We have retired M.I.A’s “Paper Planes.” We will possibly bring it back around 2015 for nostalgia purposes.
-If you are obviously attending a weekend DANCE PARTY, please keep in mind that we are playing songs to DANCE TO. Therefore, requesting Yello’s “Oh Yeah” (aka the song from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) is just bizarre.
-Not all 80s songs are created equal. We love requests for hot 80s songs, like “Pull Up To The Bumper” or “Nasty” or “Genius of Love”. We do not like requests for bad 80s music, like Belinda Carlisle (are her songs even danceable or memorable in any way?), Milli Vanilli, or 2 Legit 2 Quit.