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Yi Blog 8

I consider the song “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson a good song for various reasons. The reasons why I consider it a good song is the long period of time for which it topped the charts and the impact it had. Billie Jean topped the pop chart for seven weeks in March and April of 1983 which was considered a long period. It also paved the way for more uptempo black music to crossover after three years of post-disco blacklisting by pop radio. Another reason why I consider it a good song is the usage of its various hooks. One after another you’re subject to an onslaught of hooks. The drum beat, bass line, string stabs, funk guitar, vocal punches, and tiny horn runs. It is catchy to the point that everyone recognizes each one of these as being from that song. They share the traits of being independently strong, catchy, and also being significantly memorable. The story behind the song also adds to the charm of the song. According to Jackson’s biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, “Billie Jean” was inspired by letters Jackson received in 1981 from a woman claiming he was the father of one of her twins. Jackson, who regularly received letters of this kind, had never met the woman and ignored those claims. A unit this song could have been featured in was Unit 3: Elements of Sound and Music. In this unit different parts that make up a song are mentioned such as beat, pitch, harmony, melody, vocal, timbre, texture, etc. I believe this song displays a variety of these skills and we could have broken this song down to identify each of these terms. For example, we could have seen how harmony was utilized in the song and what type of texture the song was played in. This would have allowed us to identify terms better and also see how it’s incorporated into popular songs.

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June 2024

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