Thriller Songs Ranked

Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982, by Epic Records. It was produced by Quincy Jones, who had previously worked with Jackson on his 1979 album Off the Wall. Jackson wanted to create an album where “every song was a killer”. With the ongoing backlash against disco, he moved in a new musical direction, resulting in a mix of pop, post-disco, rock, funk, and R&B sounds. Thriller foreshadows the contradictory themes of Jackson’s personal life, as he began using a motif of paranoia and darker themes. The album features a single guest appearance, with Paul McCartney becoming the first artist to be featured on one of Jackson’s albums. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000. Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with sales of 70 million copies worldwide. It is the second-best-selling album in the United States and was certified 34× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2021. Here are all of the Thriller songs ranked.

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9. The Lady in My Life

“o end off this powerhouse of a record, we have the ballad “The Lady In My Life”. The most underrated track off of Thriller mainly because of its powerful affection Michael shows. It’s a track where Michael after 8 heavy hitter tracks creates a power ballad filled with smooth guitar passages, synth sounds and mellow drums. Overall, It’s another one of my favorites on the album just because of its massive mood switch.”

8. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

“One of the most danceable tracks, the track is a synth heavy love song with endless positivity all over Michaels lyrics. ahead of time production and a happy vibe to it, this is probably another high tier favorite of mine and was my favorite for a while. Overall, a nearly perfect pop song.”

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7. The Girl is Mine

“So the lone track with a feature on it, Michael takes one of the most iconic musicians of all time, Paul McCartney. If anything it’s a duet. I honestly wouldn’t consider this song anything other than pop. Well maybe R&B and a hint of Motown and Soft Rock but despite this, this is easily the most overly-commercial song. It’s a powerhouse duet arguing about a girl. I don’t hate the track but I think it’s kind of ethos with ethos. Besides, in 1982 as a girl, who would you pick? a 24 year old R&B musician who so happens to be the biggest pop star, or a 40 year old rock veteran from Liverpool who hasn’t had a number 1 in a decade at that point? But overall, it’s a cliche track and easily the worst on the album.”

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6. Baby Be Mine

“We have something less menacing and aggressive and something more soulful. I would say this track still has the Dance and Funk element just with an addition of R&B and a hint of soul. Arguably the least popular track on the whole album, it’s the most optimistic. Just like his previous album, he gives track 2 a spotlight for the love track where its nothing but love in the most positive way. the melodies might not be the most ear catching compared to the other tracks, Michael makes a very smooth dance track and it ends up to be my personal favorite track from this album. Overall, I love the hell out of this track, the production is so glossy, danceable and Michael’s vocal performance as always fits perfectly with its vibe.”

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5. Human Nature

“Probably one of the smoothest tracks on the album, another one of the tracks that Michael Jackson didn’t write, it was written by the band Toto who did the mega-hit “Africa”. the instrumentation is smooth and laid back and is a meditation on the album. Overall, I enjoy this track a lot and is another high tier favorite of mine.”

See more: Michael Jackson Songs Ranked

4. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

“You can identify this track as R&B but I would consider it a mixture of Dance and Funk with influences from Africa on the outro. The track is carried by a chorused guitar with heavy amounts of noise gate. backing it is a LinnDrum, horns, electric pianos, bass, synthesizers and heavy amounts of percussion. the pop element on this track mainly comes from the lyrics. Lyrically, the song is about someone always wanting to start drama and being stuck in the middle. Michael Jackson melodically is acing every single structure of a song with a catchy melody and that’s what makes MJ the king.”

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3. Thriller

“The title track is easily one of the most iconic things to ever step foot in the 80s. From the laugh of Vincent Price, the epic music video and Michael Jacksons red jacket. Another thing to mention that….Michael Jackson didn’t even write it. but with that out of mind, I would consider it a dance song with some funk that so happens to be about Halloween. Lyrically, the lyrics are acceptingly cheesy but what makes this song special is that it made Michael Jackson the star that he is. everyone from your younger cousins to your grandmother has heard this song. Overall, it’s iconic and I’m kind of speechless on what to really say about the song”

2. Beat It

“First off, Rest In Peace to Eddie Van Halen. he played the guitar solo on this track and was my unknown introduction to him. It’s the anti-gangster song. Michael Jackson makes it cool to back out of a fight which makes for a hilarious music video. This is obviously Michael going into rock territory. It’s honestly one of the most unique pop songs in the 80s. Two R&B legends making a pop record decide to take a hard rock guitarist and make a hard rock song with drum machines and synthesizers.”

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1. Billie Jean

“Billie Jean lyrically is about a girl who claims MJ to be the baby daddy. the iconic status from this song comes all from the music it self. the synth hits, the bassline, the melodies and everything in between. It’s a dance floor R&B tune with a little bit of funk for flavor. Out of the three iconic tracks, this one is personally the most enjoyable. The topic was a more obscure one and easily the most serious out of the three. Overall, this track is one of the best songs of all time without debate.”