Michael Jackson

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Composed by Michael Jackson / Aliaume Thiam / Giorgio Tuinfort

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