Wednesday, December 9, 2020

"The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3342
Date:  11/21/1987
Debut:  44
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  18
Genre:  R&B, Pop

Pop BitsBad, Jackson's follow-up to his massive hit album Thriller, was off to a solid start with its first two singles, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and the title track, both hitting #1 at Pop. Next up for release was this track. Like the previous two singles, it debuted high on the chart near the Top 40 and then proceeded to make its way to the top of the chart. It also got to #1 at R&B, #3 Dance, and #9 AC. While the album would only spend six weeks at #1 and sell only a third as much as Thriller, it would still have its own accomplishments, such as with this song. With the tune going to the top of the chart, Bad quickly bested Thriller in Pop #1s. Throughout Thriller's run of seven singles, only two of them, "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," reached #1. "The Way You Make Me Feel" would be the third #1 in a row from Bad, and it wouldn't be the last.

ReduxReview:  I wasn't a fan of this shufflin' track when it first came out. I thought it was a little goofy and didn't like all of Jackson's little ad libs and hiccups. Plus it annoyed me that it sounded like he sang in the chorus "my lonely days are good," instead of the real word "gone." I was disappointed that it was released as a single over better tracks, but in the end it worked out for Jackson. These days I appreciate the song more. It is still not one of my favorites from MJ, but I do like what Quincy Jones did with the arrangement and production. It was his work that really made the song. I still think Jackson overdid the vocals a bit, but the hooky chorus is still memorable and effective.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) While this song reached #1 and sold well at the time, it did not reach gold level sales for the physical 45 RPM single. However, in 2018 Jackson's catalog was reevaluated by RIAA for certifications. Twenty-one of Jackson's singles received gold or platinum awards based on the RIAA's new rules for digital sales and streaming. "The Way You Make Me Feel" was certified at the double-platinum level.  2) According to a book about Jackson's #1 songs, this tune came about via Jackson's mom. Katherine Jackson had asked Michael to write something with a shuffle rhythm for his next album. Michael took on the challenge and wrote this tune. Originally, Jackson had intended to assemble a triple album and had recorded about 30 songs, including this one. His producer, Quincy Jones, talked him into making it just a single LP. After whittling down the tracks, "The Way You Make Me Feel" made the final cut.


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