I’m not going to mince words here. As long as Mario Tarradell is the lead music critic for the Dallas Morning News, the paper’s music coverage will be an absolute joke. I pretty much stopped reading what Tarradell had to say after his 2008 year-in-music coverage, which was so openly bizarre I assumed he must be playing some elaborate prank on his bosses.
But after Michael Jackson died, I was intrigued as to how he (and the paper) would handle it. The overall piece was mostly perfunctory boilerplate-type stuff. What caught my eye, though, was Tarradell’s accompanying top-five list of Jackson’s “best hit songs” — awkward phrasing, to be sure, but that isn’t the problem.
2. “Rock With You”
3. “Beat It”
4. “Dirty Diana”
5. “Human Nature”
I know lists like this are subjective. But. Come. On. “Jam” at No. 1? No “Billie Jean” at all? Couch it as “Mario Tarradell’s Top 5,” if you must, though that doesn’t make it any better. It at least removes the sting of the DMN signing off on “Jam” — a decent enough song, but one that doesn’t hold up as much as many of his others — as the best Michael Jackson hit. It’s perverse. “Beat It,” for sure, belongs.Â “Rock With You” probably does, too.
(As for the rest? You’d have to consider “Billie Jean,” “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and at least “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” — if you wanted to go a bit off-book — before you got to the others. That’s just off the top of my head.)
Wasn’t sure I’d ever say this, but: Bring back Thor Christensen. Immediately.