Michael Jackson

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Song Review by

The lead track and fourth Top Five single taken from Michael Jackson's Thriller album, "Wanna Be Startin' Something" starts off the best-selling LP of all time with a nod to the freewheeling, cross-cultural disco feel of Jackson's previous album, Off the Wall. The rhythm arrangement (by the Prince of Pop himself) is a complex interweaving of drum-machine patterns and work by percussionist Paulinho da Costa, while the horn arrangement by Jerry Hey is brassy and precise. The entire production, by Quincy Jones and Jackson, is a hallmark of the digital-quality productions that ruled the '80s (and gradually turned into soulless engineering demonstrations). While the music is effervescent and buoyant, the lyrics introduce a confrontational edge, especially compared to Jackson's previously lily-white persona.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Thriller 1982 Epic 6:03
King of Pop 2008 Epic 4:20