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Michael Jackson's Best Lesser Known Songs



In light of what would have been Michael Jackson's 58th birthday (on August 29th), here is a list, in no particular order of some of his best more obscure, lesser known or unreleased singles.

Music and Me (Music and Me)
Released on the album of the same name in 1973, Music and Me failed to chart and did not perform well. Its a sweet, reflective ballad sung beautifully by a very young Michael about the constant companion in music.

We've been together for such a long time now
Music, music and me


 

Stranger in Moscow (HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I)
Solemn. Pensive. Somber. But exquisite in its tone, capturing the very human emotion that is tormented loneliness. When I was going through a rough period years ago, this song was on mad repeat. It was written by Michael during a time of intense media scrutiny and personal anguish. Its a drastic departure from his usual pop sound.


How does it feel (How does it feel)

How does it feel

How does it feel
How does it feel
How does it feel (How does it feel now)
How does it feel
How does it feel
When you're alone
And you're cold inside



I Can't Help It (Off The Wall)
Featuring one of the smoothest and most tranquil bass intros in all of R&B, I am actually astounded that the first 7 seconds of this have not been sampled to death. This gem from the Off The Wall album is a solid, chill song anyone could kick back to.

I can't help it it I wanted to
I wouldn't help it even if I could
I can't help it if I wanted to
I wouldn't help it, no


Get On The Floor (Off The Wall)
Still in the height of the disco era, MJ recorded this kick ass disco song featuring a bomb breakdown in the middle that you cannot NOT dance to!

So get on the floor,
and dance with me,
I love the way you shake that thing, girl
especially...





Show You The Way to Go (The Jacksons)
Ok, I will fully admit, this is a cheat because its actually a song by the Jackson brothers recorded but uhhh, whatever! Its just too good not to include! This is one of those rare songs I'd heard as a child but then completely forgot about and never really heard again. That is until after his death after my local radio station began playing a weekend marathon. Instantly stuck in my head. Forever.

Let me show you,
Let me show you the way to go


Break of Dawn (Invincible)
The first of several sexy and very current ballads from the under-promoted Invincible album. This one features the rarity of Michael singing about 'making love', a topic he usually steered cleared from. But it works here and stands as a great song.


Hold my hand, feel the touch of your body cling to mine,
You and me, makin’ love all the way through another night,
I remember you and I walking though the park at night,
Kiss and touch, nothing much, let it blow just touch and go




Heaven Can Wait (Invincible)
Call me a sucker but I just can't resist a great ballad that starts off with angelic sounding bells, then dips into the beat. The charm of this song is the conviction in which Michael sings about not leaving his baby alone. Swoon!

Tell the angels no, I don’t wanna leave my baby alone.
I don’t want nobody else to hold you,
That’s a chance I’ll take,
Baby I’ll stay, heaven can wait


Whatever Happens (Invincible)
This one starts off sound like a spaghetti Western movie, til the beat drops in. But accompanied by Carlos Santana's sexy guitar riffs, an easy hook and some background strings, Whatever Happens is one of the best tracks off of the Invincible album.


Whatever happens...don't let go of my hand.



Keep The Faith (Dangerous)
Seems like every top 100 artist needs to have a 'believe in yourself' type song and this is definitely the one from MJ. Maybe its a bit corny and simple but its still a solid message with a catchy and hummable hook. Worth mentioning is the choir that comes in around the end and ends on one satisfying, single note.

So keep the faith, ow,
Don't let nobody take you down, brother,
Just keep your eyes on the prize,
And your feet flat on the ground,
Keep the faith, baby, yea






Just Good Friends (Bad)

Ok, so kinda dated right now with all its heavy '80s synth and drum beats but its also a funky duet with The Stevie Wonder. Does anything else even matter after that?

If they ask her,
Tell 'em that we're just
Good friends . . .




P. Y. T. (Thriller)
Probably more popular than the other "obscure" songs, as any MJ listener is probably familiar but this is a quintessential '80s, R&B song, complete with call-outs to all the pretty young things (which I'm sure everyone knows includes vocals by big sis LaToya).

Pretty young things, repeat after me,
[Michael] I said Na Na Na,
[P.Y.T.'S] Na Na Na,
[Michael] Na Na Na Na,
[P.Y.T.'S] Na Na Na Na



The Girl Is Mine (Thriller)
Before there was The Boy Is Mine, there was The Girl Is Mine, one of the best duos from a time when Sir Paul McCartney and MJ were still friends (ya know before Michael bought The Beatles' catalog, thus squashing their friendship into the dirt). Yeah its a bit juvenile but MJ fans typically find it cute and singable. Plus it brought us this classic line:

I'm a lover not a fighter!




The Lady In My Life (Thriller)

THIS SONG RIGHT HERE!!!! Hearing this song as a 10 year old girl in Baltimore in the '80s and hearing Michael croon about the lady in his life was the defining moment when I realized I wanted to marry him! Hearing MJ sing with such emotion about growing old together was enough for me in my young mind. The first first few bars of this track let you know immediately what kinda mood you're getting and it the sexiest song he produced. It hits all the right notes at the end when he gets into the soulful ad libs. So I'm just 'gon go ahead and proclaim this one of the BEST R&B love ballads of the 1980's. *mic drop*


And I will keep you warm through the shadows of the night
Let me touch you with my love
I can make you feel so right
And baby through the years even when we're old and gray
I will love you more each day
'Cause you will always be the lady in my life




So how did I do? Did I miss any of your picks?


RIP sweet peace, M.J. We love you!!



Lady Dulayne

Music junkie, Baltimore chick, Jedi mom, karaoke queen,'80s kid, hair and makeup fanatic, currently keeping up with a daily Greek yogurt habit.

2 comments:

  1. I always thought "The Girl Is Mine" was an underrated hit. I remember the music video of Michael and Paul as traveling snake oil salesmen with Paul's Wife in the video. My mom loved that one.

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  2. I've now got some great tunes to add to my playlists! I loved Just Good Friends as it has the added bonus of Stevie Wonder.

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