55. Michael Jackson – ‘Stranger In Moscow’ (1995)

“How does it feel, when you’re alone, and you’re cold inside?”

Written by Michael Jackson

Produced by Michael Jackson

Taken from the album HIStory: Past, Present & Future – Book 1

Also released on Blood On The Dance Floor: HIStory In The Mix, The Ultimate Collection, Visionary: The Video Singles and King Of Pop

UK #4, AUS #14, US #91

Following the 1993 accusations brought against Michael Jackson, his music became even more paranoid, insular and angry than it was before, and as a contrast to the rallying cry of opening tracks ‘Scream’ and ‘They Don’t Care About Us’, the third song on HIStory was a slow-burning ballad, a cry of a different kind. It’s one of his loneliest and most emotional songs.

The phrase “stranger in moscow” is a metaphor for being alone, and Michael uses lots of (outdated) Russian references like “Kremlin’s tomb won’t let me be”. But the heart of the song is lines like “armageddon of the brain” and “swift and sudden fall from grace”, giving us an insight into how Michael’s life and image was thrown into turmoil. He was the king of ad-libs, and when he lets loose at the end of ‘Stranger In Moscow’, screaming “I’m talking danger!” and “I’m living lonely baby!”, it’s an amazing moment.

The song was given a visually stunning black and white video, in which Michael walks around the city while the world surrounding him moves in slow motion. It was a genius marriage of images and audio, and would become one of his most understated and least dated videos. A modest chart success, ‘Stranger In Moscow’ was a hit with critics and has emerged as a clear fan favourite. It is rightfully regarded as one of his finest downtempo singles.

Music video:

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