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CEREMONY | The Michael Jackson Number Ones Rate


Cruelty
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Cello
15 minutes ago, Cruelty said:

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12 ROCK WITH YOU – average 8.72
The highs: 11 x 1 [@Cruelty :saladga:]
The lows: 6 x 2 [@Little Monstera @dimitristhe]

You guys, this is genuinely an outrage.

The second single from Off the Wall, “Rock With You” was written by Rod Temperton (he of “Thriller” fame) and was recorded by Michael Jackson after the demo was turned down by Karen Carpenter. The song oozes with charm and desire, a silky-smooth vocal performance complemented by swooping analogue strings and a chugging disco rhythm section. Boasting the best lyric in MJ’s discography (“girl, when you dance, there’s a magic that must be love”), “Rock With You” is just a song that inspires hyperbole and evokes magic in every note.

As every commenter pointed out, this is just such a smooth piece of music, and yet it never feels saccharine or inauthentic. Despite possessing all the hallmarks of a 70s disco banger, the lush production and sensual lyricism make the piece feel almost like a ballad… but a ballad that you can’t help but dance to. Confident, sophisticated, and undoubtedly one of the best songs ever put to tape, “Rock With You” cultivated Jackson’s new romantic image, and was ranked the 354th best song of all time in a recent Rolling Stone list. Not even cracking the top 10 tonight is… unbelievable, and testament to the quality of the rest of Michael Jackson’s discography.

Comments:

Voter 2 One of my fave MJ songs, TOP TIER fave songs of all time. We’ve never heard another song this smooth since
@PartySick One of his smoothest tracks. There’s a reason it made it to every tour (except for the Dangerous Tour… but it was rehearsed!)
@Werewolves Wanted Smooth as all hell, classic Michael

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Underrated af! This song is perfection, I looove the early work with Quincy 

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Cello
8 minutes ago, Cruelty said:

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So now we have our top 10! Which one do you think we’re losing next?

Bad as a song is overrated, sorry not sorry :partysick:

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Cello

I predict the top 4 will be Billie Jean, Human Nature, Smooth Criminal and Dirty Diana

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Cruelty

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HUMAN NATURE – average 9.00
The highs: 11 x 4 [Voter 2 @Franch Toast @PartySick @Cello]
The lows: 6 [@Little Monstera]

The fifth single from Thriller, “Human Nature” was written by Steve Porcaro from the band Toto. The (possibly apocryphal) legend goes that Quincy Jones originally heard the song by accident. Porcaro had already recorded his demo of “Human Nature” and, running low on cassette tapes, used the reverse side of this tape to record his submissions for Thriller. When the cassette deck reached the end of the side with the Thriller demos, it automatically switched over to the other side – Quincy heard “Human Nature”, and that was instantly the one.

It feels sacrilegious to admit, but I deducted a point because I think the studio mix is a little overproduced, a little synthetic perhaps? The live versions strike the perfect balance for me, with glistening synths and searching, reverbed guitar. This is one of Jackson’s enduringly popular ballads, and has also become something of a modern jazz standard, thanks to trumpeter Miles Davis’ cover. Receiving more 11s than any other song, “Human Nature” finishes in a respectable eighth place.

Comments:

Voter 2 One of my fave MJ songs! Its smoothness oozes Rock With You and the funkiness, groove of P.Y.T.
@PartySick I can’t believe it came down to this or Carousel in the drafts for the Thriller album. imagining the best selling album of all time without this sweet but somehow somber song is insane. It’s always felt so dreamy in its production but some of the lyrics sound like the singer has resigned himself to a sad life… but he never stops dreaming.

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Teletubby
1 minute ago, Cello said:

Human Nature

:billie:

i no longer ❤️ @Juanlittlem. Stream "All I Want For Christmas Is You" 🎄⛄🎅🏼❄️☃️
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Cello
Just now, Teletubby said:

:billie:

LIACP curse again

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Cruelty
2 minutes ago, Cello said:

I predict the top 4 will be Billie Jean, Human Nature, Smooth Criminal and Dirty Diana

I just want you to know I felt SO bad seeing this a millisecond before clicking send on the Human Nature elimination :lolga:

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Teletubby
Just now, Cello said:

LIACP curse again

what will be next Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal or Dirty Diana??

i no longer ❤️ @Juanlittlem. Stream "All I Want For Christmas Is You" 🎄⛄🎅🏼❄️☃️
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Cruelty

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DIRTY DIANA – average 9.04
The highs: 11 x 3 [@Blackout19 @Nirvana @Teletubby]
The lows: 5 [@Franch Toast]

Michael Jackson’s take on the archetypal 80s rock song, “Dirty Diana” is a chillier and steelier counterpart to “Beat It”, and it really ramps up the menace. Telling a tale of a persistent groupie, the song doesn’t do anything too innovative with its genre, but pastiches it well, and is bolstered by a competent pop-rock production and one of Jackson’s career-best vocal performances: haunted, quivering, pleading and desperate.

I could take or leave “Dirty Diana” in the hands of another artist, but that vocal is something else, and really sells the song and its story. Performed during the 1988 Bad Tour and due a reprise for the cancelled This Is It concerts, the song was the fifth and final consecutive Billboard chart-topper from the Bad album. I had no idea how much you guys like this one – as a forum we think it improved on the formula that began with “Beat It”!

Comments:

Voter 2 I think this is my favorite of MJ’s dives into rock. Along with Give In To Me from Dangerous.
@Blackout19 my favorite song from him.
@PartySick A jam. I have no notes. I recommend listening to the band rehearsals for this song from This Is It. It’s a much lower pitch and that longer ending is ~chef’s kiss
@Werewolves Wanted *walks out of car in shadow and struts in my high heels*
@dimitristhe Rock MJ NEVER disappoints!

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Cruelty
1 minute ago, Teletubby said:

what will be next Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal or Dirty Diana??

and I felt so happy seeing this a millisecond before clicking send on the Dirty Diana elimination :stalkga:

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Teletubby
Just now, Cello said:

:healedmyheart::healedmyheart::healedmyheart:

:grr:

i no longer ❤️ @Juanlittlem. Stream "All I Want For Christmas Is You" 🎄⛄🎅🏼❄️☃️
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Cello

If Thriller wins, istg this was skewed by 

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she/her
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Cruelty

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THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL – average 9.08
The highs: 11 x 1 [@phantasmas]
The lows: 6 [@Ziggy Stardust]

Okay, “The Way You Make Me Feel” is just so much fun! In general, Bad is Michael Jackson’s most playful album (from the Disney-soundtracking “Another Part of Me” to the camp theatricality of “Smooth Criminal”), and the record’s third chart-topper slots into the mix perfectly. A bluesy, bouncy pop song with a rollicking 12/8 feel, the arrangement uses peppy horns and a loping drumbeat to really convey the exuberance of the lyrics, as MJ sings about the joy of falling in love.

I think “The Way You Make Me Feel” was the single campaign where they finally got MJ’s image just perfect. It’s the young, fun, flirty, popstar image, essentially an 80s update of the Off the Wall formula, and it’s massively more convincing than the lothario image of “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” or the edgy streetwise vibes of the title track.

The song’s bouncy call-and-response chorus is perfect for engaging a live audience, and indeed “The Way You Make Me Feel” was performed on all of Jackson’s concert tours and at the 1988 Grammy Awards. One of his all-time best, the track lands at number 6 in our countdown.

Comments:

Voter 2 I just love the groove of this song. I’m giving so many 10s but how can you not? It’s MJ. Love the performances of this song
@PartySick I guess I’m just depositing trivia here. This song was actually formed out of a Thriller era track called “Hot Fever”, maybe that explains why it’s such a groove.

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