215. Michael Jackson – ‘You Rock My World’ (2001)

“And everything I own I give”

Taken from the album Invincible

UK #2, AUS #4, US #10

If anyone else had sung this, it would have been the biggest hit of the year, number one all over the world. But because Michael Jackson had been out of the game for so long and because Sony seemed so intent on ruining Invincible – and possibly because a lot of people were waiting for the album, his first in six years – ‘You Rock My World’ underperformed slightly. Among the slickest, smoothest, most gorgeous R&B songs you’ll ever hear, with a grinding beat and a stunning vocal, it is the stuff radio executive’s dreams are made of.

On the album version ‘You Rock My World’ begins with an only-funny-once “skit” between Chris Tucker and Michael, but mercifully you can find the radio edit, without “skit”, on Number Ones and a few compilations after that. The genius of ‘You Rock My World’ lies in it’s chorus, which is so unbelievably catchy, it should be in some sort of Chorus Museum, along with the Spice Girls’ ‘Stop’ and Madonna’s ‘Open Your Heart’ (among others, those were just the first two to spring to mind). Michael’s voice never, ever faded, right until the end, and for fans of his Off The Wall R&B years, this song is a return to that smooth vocal style.

The a cappella version from the CD single is a must listen, as a sort of masterclass in Michael Jackson vocals. It’s fascinating to listen to, but mixed with that beat, this becomes a modern classic. It had a strange, strange video which featured Michael seemingly attempting to copy several of his previous videos within a new concept – it didn’t quite work out great, certainly not living up to the song, but it stands as the final Michael Jackson video to have any involvement from Michael himself, so it is special in that way. In the eyes of the public this may be the last Michael single they remember, and it was a fitting finale indeed.

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