Michael Jackson's Best Songs
either self-written or written for him

We will never get another new Michael Jackson album. A bittersweet truth to be sure. We will probably see a few dozen 'new' compilations with one or two rarities for years to come. Elvis Presley died in 1977, but new collections appear every year. It's actually a little sad. The record labels treat the departed like cashcows.

This is my definitive top-15 of best Michael Jackson-songs, since I don't expect to come across a truly bona fide classic on one of those future 'best ofs'. This rundown is still very subjective and subject to change. The man has at least 30 solid masterpieces.

I appreciate the careful editing Michael Jackson used on every track. If you listen to "Jam" with decent headphones on, you will constantly hear the word "Jam" in the background. Quality post-production with ear for detail.

I've highlighted the best lyric from each song. Michael Jackson wasn't a Springsteen/Steinman/ Dylan (Remember The Time, for example, features some very schmalzy sentences), but he had the ability to write some fine lines. Dangerous, in particular, reads like a film noir/detective novel.

1. Give In To Me from Dangerous
Stand-out lyric : "Tell it to the preacher."

2. Morphine from Blood On The Dancefloor
Stand-out lyric : "Demerol. Demerol. Oh God, he's taking Demerol."

3. Dangerous from Dangerous
Stand-out lyric : "I felt taken by lust's strange inhumanity."

4. Dirty Diana from Bad
Stand-out lyric : "She waits at backstage doors for those who have prestige."

5. Who Is It from Dangerous
Stand-out lyric : "Is it my brother?"

6. Earth Song from HIStory (disc II)
Stand-out lyric : "Have we lost their trust?"

7. Unbreakable from Invincible
Stand-out lyric : "You can't touch me. Cause I'm untouchable."

8. They Don't Care About Us from HIStory (disc II)
Stand-out lyric : "Don't you wrong or right me."

9. Jam from Dangerous
Stand-out lyric : "Got with Janet, then with Guy, now with Michael."

10. Ghosts from Blood On The Dancefloor
Stand-out lyric : "Are you the ghost of jealousy?"

11. Leave Me Alone from BAD (CD pressing only)
Stand-out lyric : "Just stop doggin' me around."

12. Will You Be There from Dangerous
Stand-out lyric : "Hold me like the river Jordan."

13. Black Or White from Dangerous
Stand-out lyric : "I'm not gonna spend my life being a colour."

14. Stranger In Moscow from HIStory (disc II)
Stand-out lyric : "And then a beggar boy called my name."

15. Beat It from Thriller
Stand-out lyric : "Don't wanna be a boy, you wanna be a man."

Julian De Backer, 20 November 2009