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Top 10 Most Underrated Michael Jackson Songs

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Michael Jackson was so prolific that even his deep cuts rock our world. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Underrated Michael Jackson Songs.  

For this list, we're looking at the King of Pop's lesser-known and less appreciated tracks from across his career, to find the true treasures of his backlog. We're basing our choices on a mix of powerful messages, catchy melodies and the energy that made every song his own.
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Top 10 Most Underrated Michael Jackson Songs

Michael Jackson was so prolific that even his deep cuts rock our world. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Underrated Michael Jackson Songs. 

For this list, we're looking at the King of Pop's lesser-known and less appreciated tracks from across his career, to find the true treasures of his backlog. We're basing our choices on a mix of powerful messages, catchy melodies and the energy that made every song his own.




#10: "Blood On The Dance Floor" (1997)
Blood On The Dance Floor: HIStory In The Mix

For his remix album, Michael Jackson revived the powerful funk-swing of 'Blood On The Dance Floor.' The track is chock full of unusual keyboard sounds and some of Jackson's breathiest vocals. Michael sings about a sultry woman, who only seduces him to come back and kill him. As MJ reveals the story, his vocals become more and more growly with each verse. Michael also brings a unique mix of vocal and body percussion to accentuate the song's sensual feel. Though it didn't make the final cut of 'Dangerous,' 'Blood On The Dance Floor' ended up as the gem of its own album.

#9: "One More Chance" (2003)

Number Ones

With “One More Chance”, The King of Pop updated his sound for the 2000s. The track gave a modern twist to all of Jackson's trademarks, while keeping his soulful vocals front and center. As he talks about weathering everything life can throw at you, Michael Jackson celebrates how much love can help you break free of your troubles.The beautiful harmonies added new style to MJ’s vocals, and the song gained a whole new meaning during his 2004 trial. As his final original single however, “One More Chance” is a heartwarming listen.




#8: "Leave Me Alone" (1987)
Bad

With all the crazy stories circulating about Michael Jackson in the tabloids, he wrote 'Leave Me Alone' as a way to fire back at them. By turning the press into a former lover, Jackson is even able to dissect his relationship with the media as a whole. The groovy funk and pounding beats drive the song, and Quincy Jones's production makes it all pop. The surprisingly aggressive riffs even had some critics calling it a dark counterpart to “The Way You Make Me Feel”. With catchy chorus vocals and a pointed media call-out, “Leave Me Alone” was an upbeat track with a firm message. 



#7: "Earth Song" (1995)
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I

Michael Jackson made plenty of socially conscious songs, and he tackled war and the environment in “Earth Song”. Michael sings about man's hopes and dreams, and how our own carelessness is destroying the planet. Through every verse Jackson boasts about the beauty of nature, and the power we hold to save it or perish with it. Though Michael's early gospel choir chants are haunting, the beat drop and key-change send the song into goose bump-inducing choruses. He even kept the song melodically simple so non-English fans could sing along. Next to MJ's other philanthropic tracks, “Earth Song” is one of MJ’s most powerful songs.
 

#6: "Speed Demon" (1987)
Bad

After getting a speeding ticket on his way to the studio, Michael wrote “Speed Demon” to reflect on his own selfishness. The fast-paced beat mimics the excitement of driving, while the punchy funk riffs remind us of the dangers of reckless behavior. Michael plays the part of a crazy driver who pays no mind to other people on the road. Jackson also cleverly critiques how even the most noble people can turn into maniacs behind the wheel. “Speed Demon” features bizarre falsettos and in-your-face brass solos and though limited promotion meant limited success, “Speed Demon” is still a smart and funky gem.
 
 

#5: "Stranger In Moscow" (1995)
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I

In the midst of his child abuse scandal, Michael Jackson's sense of alienation from the world was getting to him. “Stranger In Moscow” finds Jackson re-evaluating his actions while using Russia as a parallel for his own isolation. The track is one of Michael's slowest, and strips his sound down to big chords and simple melodies. Video game fans might even recognize the instrumentation from the credits of “Sonic The Hedgehog 3” which Michael reinterpreted after working on the game. The straightforward writing keeps “Stranger In Moscow” centered around the lyrics for a deeply touching song.   


#4: "Give In To Me" feat. Slash (1991)
Dangerous

Though Michael's music often uses guitars, he tackled hard rock with his uniquely soulful delivery on “Give In To Me”. MJ describes a girl who is emotionally frigid, and even laughs at Jackson behind his back. He gives the girl an ultimatum: to open up to his love or lose him forever. Drawing on 90’s grunge and hard rock, Guns N' Roses' guitarist Slash even joined in for an epic solo.. With so many metal and rock acts at the time, “Give In To Me” gave an unexpected pop twist to the genre.

 
   



#3: "Baby Be Mine" (1982)
Thriller

Along with writing massive hits like “Thriller”, Rod Temperton worked with Jackson to pen some groovy deep cuts as well.'Baby Be Mine' mixes disco with smooth R&B rhythms for a catchy and bouncy song. Michael professes his love for a woman, who he claims takes him to paradise. Jackson delivers some of  his strongest vocals on this track, and uses the bare-bones lyrics to explore his range. Though “Baby Be Mine” is one of the only songs on “Thriller” that wasn't released as a single, it's just as infectious as any of Michael's hits.

    



#2: "They Don't Care About Us" (1996)
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I

In the wake of social injustices like the Rodney King Trial, Michael Jackson wrote “They Don't Care About Us” as a rallying cry for all creeds and cultures. The powerful beats and harmonies keep the focus on Jackson's lyrics, while emulating the energy of a mob. Later in the song, Michael is even yelling while the guitars go wild. Though the song was a big hit in Europe, its domestic promotion was limited due to controversial lyrics. The in-your-face lyricism and vocals question racial prejudice, as MJ ditches his usual subtlety to get his message across in one feisty song.     
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
 
"Ghosts" (1997)
Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix




"Butterflies" (2001)
Invincible

 
"Tabloid Junkie" (1995)
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
 
 


#1: "This Is It" (2009)
Michael Jackson's This Is It

 “This Is It” is one of Michael's barest songs, breaking his sound down to a piano and smooth vocals. Michael Jackson talks about a woman he's known for years but never fell in love with until now. The track's reflections on time passing by are tear-jerking in context with its release after his death. It was actually conceived in the '80s as a duet with Paul Anka, although neither singer ever put out a version until much later. The dreamy energy captures the feeling of love, without ever going over-the-top. As a swan song, “This Is It” shows Michael's maturity and talent as a musician.
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