Michael Jackson's masterpiece still a 'Thriller'

"Human Nature": Jackson is a sensual vampire flying over the city looking for juicy necks to bite. A template for new jack swing and hip-hop soul ballads, "Human Nature" is comparatively slower and more intimate than "Thriller's" other songs. "If this town is just an apple, let me take a bite," quivers Jackson's voice over a cascading synthesizer and percolating bass line. Though written by John Bettis and Steve Porcaro of Toto, the lyrics resonate with Jackson's yearning to break free from his tower of celebrity and mingle with young people in a "city that winks its sleepless eye." (Serena Kim) "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)": It's all about the chipmunk. The production has a compelling charm already; it's not as forceful as "Beat It" or as slick as "Human Nature," but those squiggly synths and chewy bass lines do their work well. But besides the robo-accented "P.Y.T." hook, what seals the deal is that helium-pitched voice after the bridge. Honestly, to this day, I still can't decipher what line is blurted out, but just the chipmunk effect has been enough to imprint the song in my head for the last quarter century. Given that Kanye West looped the exact same passage for his Grammy-winning "Good Life" only confirms I'm not alone in my infatuation. (Oliver Wang)
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