On "Don't Be Messin' Around" Michael Proves He Still Had 'Another Part of Me' To Share With The World

The New Track "Don't Be Messin' Around" Proves Bruce Swedien Right. Pics Like This Weren't Just For Show. Turns Out, MJ Wasn't Just A "Fair" Piano Player, After All...

The FULL version of Don’t Be Messin’ Around (planned as the B side on the re-release of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You) has finally been made available for downloading as of today!


This is what Bruce Swedien had to say about this track as far back as 2009:

Michael Jackson’s unreleased song his ‘greatest ever work’

Bruce Swedien revealed the singer had completed a powerful track entitled Don’t Be Messin’ Around.

Featuring what was described as a mesmerising solo performance, it is expected to be available to millions of fans once the terms of Jackson’s estate are settled.

Mr Swedien said of the ballad: “Michael plays piano on it, and it’s just beautiful.” He added: “Oh my God, there’s nothing like it.”


Hmm…his greatest work ever? Well, that’s a tall order considering you would have to pit this song against the likes of Billie Jean, Beat It, Earth Song, Man In The Mirror, Wanna Be Starting Something, Jam, and oh, only about a hundred or so others I could name. My initial impression of it is that its certainly a catchy enough, feel good song. It has a nice groove, and I’m not sure if it’s just my ears, but I am pretty sure I detect a little Dancing In The Streets sample.

But regardless of whether you agree with Swedien that this ranks as Michael’s “greatest work ever” one thing can’t be denied…Michael’s piano playing here is hot!

Okay, it’s hotter than hot. It’s on fire, baby!

...The Boy Was On Fire! Michael, It Seemed, May Have Still Had One Ace Up His Sleeve, In Addition To Many Other Surpises. Behind His Brilliant Singing, Dancing, And Songwriting, Was There Also Lurking A Billiant Piano Prodigy That Went Unheard And Under Appreciated For Far Too Long?


And that just may be this track’s biggest crucial selling point. For years, it’s been debated in serious music circles as to whether Michael Jackson-undeniably a great entertainer, singer, dancer and songwriter (albeit respect for the last has been somewhat slow in coming around)-could legitimately be called a musician. Michael himself was very modest about his abilities as a musician (albeit he could beat box like nobody’s business!). At best, many have ranked him as someone who had some “fair” ability-he was known to be able to play piano, guitar and drums “a little.”

Prince fans have always loved rubbing it in our faces. Who’s better? “Well, Prince can play instruments…” many fans would condescendingly sneer, as if that quality alone put a definitive end to the arguement.

Mikey May Look A Little Confused Here, But Don't Be Fooled...He's Got Tricks Up His Sleeve He Ain't Showed Us Yet!

Well, not so fast. As “Don’t Be Messin’ Around” proves, even we fans don’t completely have Michael pegged…yet. He remains, as always, an enigma, a man of many mysteries and talents. The ivory work of Don’t Be Messin’ Around is certainly not that of a fair to mediocre talent. The piano line isn’t just an added element to this track, it is its entire backbone and lifeblood. It is, in essence, the quality that lifts this track beyond being just a catchy but mediocre little dance song. That piano line gives it some serious bossa nova SWAG.

And I realize this is simply another means of Michael speaking to us, yet again. He spoke to us through his passionate and expressive voice. He spoke to us through his dancing feet and incredible choreography. He spoke to us through his creative imagination that was given outlet through the medium of film.

But how often did he speak to us solely through the magic of his fingers on a keyboard? Some of his closest friends and acquaintances can vouch for some of those moments, but for the rest of us, they have been preciously few-and certainly preciously few on record!

Playing For The Family

I, for one, have always been one of those who said it didn’t matter if Michael wasn’t that great of a musician. Certainly, he had so many other extraordinary talents that more than made up for that deficiency (and Prince, I’ve always been proud to point out, is certainly no dancer!).

But now, after giving several good listens to this track in its entirety, I find myself once again in the (admittedly somewhat embarrassing) position of reassessing everything I thought I knew about Michael. Even in death, he never stops surprising me. It seems there is always a new piece to the puzzle, and that the realization I have to face, ultimately, is that the man I always think I have gotten to know is still several steps ahead of me, and then some.

In short, Michael never stops surprising. In a very good way.

The Mischevous Smile Says It All. "Don't Count Me Out On Anything!"

I learned something today. Michael Jackson wasn’t just a musician with a fair ability. Like everything else he ever did, he had an extraordinary gift-and he didn’t go halfway. Give a good listen to the intricate, jazzy patterns his piano playing weaves throughout this track. This is the work of a fine and talented musician, whose piano playing here ranks right up there with the best I’ve heard from Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and even the great Duke Ellington. Now understand, I’m not saying Michael was better than those guys, but based on this track, I would now say with beaming confidence that Michael could have certainly held his own alongside them-and that is saying a lot!

Oh Michael, you were far, far too modest! Why didn’t we get to hear this long ago?

As a track, I still say Don’t Be Messin’ Around has a long way to go to rank as Michael Jackson’s greatest work. But it’s also worth keeping in mind that what we are hearing now is just a demo, and as always with demos, it is really only the raw potential of what might have been. However, I do agree absolutely with Swedien’s comment that Michael’s piano playing is “just beautiful” and that “there’s nothing like it.”

Which makes it all the sadder to look over my last paragraph and to see those words I just wrote, that this track  “is really only the raw potential of what might have been.”

But we have it now. Enjoy it for what it is.

Meanwhile, I think I’m gonna go find me some Prince fans so I can rub this in their face (okay, just kidding guys, you know I luv me some Prince, too!). Well, maybe I’ll have to rub it in their faces just a little bit…

UPDATE (6/05/12): Joe Vogel has written a great review of this track, check it out!




22 thoughts on “On "Don't Be Messin' Around" Michael Proves He Still Had 'Another Part of Me' To Share With The World”

  1. Here’s the song on YouTube! I figured you’d want to embed it into the post:

    Also, did MJ play the piano on “Love Never Felt So Good”? I know that Paul Anka wrote it, but I don’t know who’s playing the piano on the song.

    1. Yeah, in fact, I will need to do that. It looks as though the download link is stretching my screen. I don’t know if others are having the same problem on their end, but I’m definitely seeing it on mine. So I will definitely embed the video, thanks!

      I am not sure about the Paul Anka track, but it really would not surprise me if he is.

  2. yes its lovely and when you talk about Musicians Michael is one of them because he can compose and was a brilliant song writer if your talking about playing instrument i think then you mean an instrumentalist.

  3. Thanks, Raven
    Loving the song and yes MJ piano playing is amazing.
    Also love the little dig you put it in about “rubbing it into Prince’s fans” lol yes only joking 😉

    1. Hi Jackie! I saw that you left two comments, but I assumed you must have figured your first one didn’t go through. What happens is that all new comments are held in que. They do not automatically post until they have been moderated (that being said, I always approve all legit comments unless they are just haters/trolls trying to pick a fight, lol). I try to release all comments asap but obviously comments that come in overnight may take longer. Once you have posted, your comments will usually post automatically as long as you are using the same email addy and username; that’s how the system “recognizes” you. Even then, however, if you post, say, a link or something, it might think it is a spam comment and hold it-I’ve had that happen occasionally. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know. Sometimes readers will think their comments have been deleted when they do not post right away, and I always like to let my readers know that is not the case.

  4. I just got this CD from Walmart yesterday, and I can say not only was I surprised to find the ‘original’ IJCSLY song with MJ’s intro, but this demo was incredibly good.

    Some people don’t realize this IS a demo (and should be taken as such), just like many we’ve heard on past releases, but we can see what he was going for, and I think this would’ve been a good addition to Bad, instead of Liberian Girl or Another Part of Me (IMO).

    Don’t Be Messin’ Around is a great addition to MJ’s library, and I am glad more of these gems are coming out on Bad 25. Thanks for your article!

  5. Oh Raven, I’ve been out of town past couple days and see your last comment here about “looking for the cans”. So here’s my story. I live in Virginia and have had no luck finding them, so off I go to Pennsylvania for a couple of days for a family event and while there, my son approaches the Pepsi delivery truck just as it arrives as the local western PA Walmart. He asks about the cans, right? The driver goes to the back of the truck and brings him ONE can! Says the rest in the box are wet from an “explosion” of some cans within the box! Driver says in two days they will be back to this same WM location in western PA with more boxes of cans. Back we go yesterday to WM at the time the driver told my son he would be delivering more and, yep, the truck was a no show. Am I skeptical much? You bet! But, to keep the faith, off I go tomorrow again to my local WM’s back here in VA. And I love Don’t Be Messin’ Round, could listen to it all day, rather than the (IMO) overproduced “Michael” album! Great post, thank you so much for all you do!

    1. I’m probably paranoid, but I always get this sneaking feeling that maybe they just don’t WANT to carry this stuff, or don’t care. It always seems like pulling teeth for these people to do anything where MJ is concerned. The selling of the new single is supposed to be an exclusive deal between Wal-Mart and Pepsi, so you would think they would be pushing this stuff a lot more aggressively than what they’re doing. When it’s any other kind of exclusive promotional deal with Wal-Mart, they’ll have the stuff plastered everywhere. When it’s anything MJ-related, they drag their heels. I saw on one forum where a Wal-Mart in Boise, Idaho had a BEAUTIFUL Bad 25/Pepsi display. So what is the excuse for the others?

  6. I went to my local Walmart here in the Chicago area on Tuesday and there was no new MJ CD 🙁 I’m going to try a bigger Walmart store tonight. I’ll be looking for cans too. I don’t usually buy pop so I’m rarely in that section.

    1. This is actually in response to you and June and both. I’m starting to feel that this whole campaign is being very shoddily handled. Very, very disappointed with this so far.

      ETA: Just saw this, however; some news exciting that might cheer us all up a little!

      We’ve just learned that Michael Jackson’s new single, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”/”Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round”, available exclusively at WalMart, is currently the top selling music title on Wal-mart.com and has a real shot at being #1 on the Billboard Single Sales Chart this week!! Sales will be counted ’til this coming Monday at midnight (local time in each market), so please urge everyone you know to grab a single at their local WalMart store or on the website, and let’s get Michael’s first single from BAD25 a #1 debut!! #BAD25


  7. On today’s excursion to my southeastern VA Walmart I inquired of customer service as to the whereabouts of the cans. The MANAGER of the store said he knew nothing about it and the decision as to what was delivered to that particular Walmart store (a supercenter) was solely up to the Pepsi truck driver, with Walmart just accepting what came its way! Me: huh? On the upside there was ONE CD in the new release section which I enthusiastically grabbed. Wonderful spoken lyric at the beginning of ICSLY.

  8. I just listened to dont be messin around. Its funny when you read peoples description of the song, you try to imagine what it sounds like. But then actually hearing it,its completely different from what I expected.
    I am positively surprised . Its ok that its only demoversion and hopefully untouched.
    I love the bossa nova jazzy summer feel,a bit nostalgic, like Serge Mendes meets 80s Michael. Right now I prefer to listen to Michaels carefree music and this one fits in perfectly.
    Also good for my family’s annoyance level to hear something new. 🙂
    As an MJ fan I always thought being the versatile artist he was ,he must play some instruments.
    He actually started with percussion(bongos)when he joined the Jackson 5,even before singing lead. So hearing him on the piano in the studio,I am not surprised.
    As a Prince fan(admirer maybe a better word, I appreciate more music than only Michaels)I have to come to his defense. He is not a dancer like Michael, but he was praised by James Brown himself for his moves. And if James Brown says so, I wont deny it.
    I guess being the perfectionist that Michael was, he would never play an instrument in public if it was not up to his standards. And definately not if it was less than Princes’.
    And please dont come up with the Michael vs Prince at James Browns concert video 🙂

    1. I won’t deny that Prince has some good moves (at any rate, some very sexy ones!). I just consider what he does more in the same vein with the typical, rock star moves than what Michael did, which was a whole other caliber of dance and one in which dance was obviously being used as art. I would consider Michael more of a professional dancer (even though he never had training) whereas Prince, in my opinion, is just gyrating and grinding to the music. I’ve never seen him bust any moves that I would personally put on the same artistic level with Michael’s. That being said, I do try to keep an open mind, of course-just as I appreciate it when people keep an open mind about Michael.

      It could be equally true that, just as most people think Prince is the superior musician, Michael nevertheless was a musician too-and a good one. Similarly, just because we may think Michael was the better dancer, doesn’t mean Prince couldn’t dance.

      In truth, they probably had a lot more in common than I think most people give either one of them credit for.

      1. Well said. Both are talented and influential men who have left and continue to leave their mark on the world. They also had/have a great respect for one another even though the press wanted the “world” to believe other wise.

    2. “Also good for my family’s annoyance level to hear something new.” Shortly after Michael passed, my husband got me Sennheiser 595 headsets because to him I “was stuck on the same five CDs.” Not true, probably closer to 20. 🙂 The Sennheisers are a wonderful way to spend your time with Michael.

      1. I’m sure the neighbors are grateful for my headphones! Now they don’t have to hear my 80’s and 90’s “Golden Oldies” every time I clean house!

      2. I have headphones and they are perfect. But Michaels uptempo songs need some volume.
        But they are very tolerant and also love Michaels music -to a certain extent
        So I’m not complaining.

  9. Thanks for another great essay about Michael and his music. I appreciate the link to Mr. Vogel’s review of the Don’t Be Messin ‘Round demo and I thank It’s All for Love blog team for their faithful work on their blog about the King of Pop and his artistry.

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