Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday: Michael Jackson, Who Do You Know

Often it’s hard to believe it’s been thirteen years since GOD called the King of Pop home. Since his passing, fans have enjoyed some of his unreleased music. A few weeks before the official anniversary, the MJ estate blessed fans with Thriller 40.

This edition of the album is the third reissue of the original record, and Mike Jack’s is the first posthumous album in five years since the release of 2017’s Scream. For this week’s edition of Slow Jam Saturday, the popular choice would’ve been to celebrate the closing song on Thriller, “The Lady In My Life,” but I decided to highlight one of the unreleased bops, “Who Do You Know.” 

The “Thriller 40” campaign was already in full swing on November 10 when news broke that the previously unreleased and unheard demo was a track on Disc 2. Jackson wrote and produced the ballad sometime between 1980 and February 1982. When the song didn’t make the final track list for Thriller, initially, it was reworked and considered for the Jacksons’ 1984 reunion album Victory. However, Jackson decided to contribute three other songs (“Be Not Always,” “State Of Shock,” and “The Hurt”) instead. Outside of some grainy video footage from a 1993 deposition, I had never heard Jackson refer to “Who Do You Know.”

That said, the first song I went to when Thriller 40 was digitally released was “Who Do You Know.” The song opens with a simple arrangement, and Jackson comes crooning with an undeniable yearning.

“I’ve lost my baby

Two years ago

Have you seen her?

She seems to be on a mission

Long ago when I smiled, did you notice her? Oh lord…

She was only playin’

Waiting for love, gonna get you this, oh lord…

Well, she seems to have left me

What in all of love

Can you tell me which way did she go? (Alright)”

“Tell me, who do you know?”

“Who Do You Know” is only a demo, but Michael sounds better than half of the artists who have emerged in the last decade after his passing and who currently have streaming on lock. While it’s unclear whom Jackson is singing about in the song, he croons the lyrics so passionately that it doesn’t matter. 

 

Final Grade: A

“Who Do You Know” from Thriller 40 is available on all streaming platforms

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