Sample Essay on Music analysis in Michael Jackson’s Thriller Album


It is opined that the artist was a solo musician who became popular and managed a number of music hits that performed very well in the countdown charts (George 20). Music analysts have speculated that Michael Jackson pursued solo career because it is widely considered that he left the Jacksons group due to his albums off the wall and thriller becoming more successful than his work when he was with the Jacksons. In fact, his thriller album is stared as one if not the greatest album he has ever produced as well as one of the greatest pop albums ever created (George 25). The paper will therefore investigate, discuss and analyze the songs that made up the album.

Wanna Be Startin’ Something

This is the first song that opens the album and immediately starts in a cheerful mode to attract the attention of the audience and listener (Pratt 35). This track starts with a snare that is hit three times and allows the song to play a repetitive bass. As the music progresses, the drums immediately vagaries to an up-beat and modified rhythm which works well to combine with the fast and complex bass line which when combined forms an almost swing feeling. It is also worth pointing out that, overall the song comprises an appropriate use of call rejoinder and variety in the vocals with the main vocals sounding rapid and sudden giving an aggressive feeling inside the song. It is asserted that the use of horns gives the song an extremely powerful sound yet still maintaining the upbeat and groovy feeling in the music.

Moreover, it is affirmed that the song has a great use of subtleties that blends well to achieve breakdown where a horde of sounds are played and given a sort of crescendo which are immediately stopped and changed to a guitar solo. Consequently, it is observed that the song is still given a heartfelt feeling from the bass and drums as it is continuously reiterating thereby keeping the listener acquainted to the song even though everything else within the song has a steady alteration. The music has embraced the use of technology which is mainly the drum machine that is crucial in creating a clear and steady drum beat which has then been put on loop.

Based on the discussions above the song appears to be funk based as it is characterized by a wide range of instrumentation which keeps the song stimulating and attention catching. It has been elaborated that the song has a well made construction and encompasses many variations such as the deep warm bass the up-beat drums and the occasional use of horns to add more character and the wide range to the music content. The subject matter and the message conveyed by the song is about how people start fights over nothing such as a simple arguments or spread gossips which is not actually true. In addition, some sections of the song speak about gang violence and fights that arise from simple and petty things like fun and appeal.



Baby Be Mine

This is the second track in the album and is characterized by slow to a nearly dance disco feeling to the song. The drums and the bass guitar can be heard clearly and they split to alter the bass to appear as a small fill and then alter the main rhythm towards the song while the guitar again features a disjointed stutter phrase. It is has been established that apart from the bass, the keyboard appears as well and plays a crucial part in the  chorus as it helps create a unity within the song and when combined with the vocals forms a well formed disco dance feel towards the song. It is asserted that the song portrays a disco feeling because it is mostly composed to be played as a dance song; the music magnifies the keyboard to have a well stable yet high sound in the song conflicting against the deep humming sound of the bass.

The song is characterized by a soft bass and drums, the guitar and keyboard appear to attack the messages though they come in force when integrated into the chorus. Just like the initial song in the album, it embraces the use of technology due to the presence of drum machine to help keep a steady beat then permitting it to be wound quickly into the composition. Technically, the song features a strong yet dull bass sounds with a number of loops embedded in the composition to keep the song to its roots so it won’t diverge. However, the song manages to stay true to its roots and is deprived of a lot of instrumentation allowing it to give a soft warm feel towards the composition. It is asserted that the bass is filtered giving prominence to the vocals that cuts through clearly; the structure of the song gives it a warm feeling and prompts a great groove for those who would want to dance to it. It is asserted that the subject matter and message conveyed by the song is that of affection, love and loneliness (Pratt 75).


The Girl Is Mine

This is also another song featuring in the album; it is characterized with slow tempo unlike the initial two compositions as it features a melodic use of the guitar that plays out a similar style and tune as the bass due to the assertion that they play like they are entwined into one another, and then alters to a broken arpeggio which is accompanied by a piccolo to add more clearness and insight while upholding a fine and joyful synchronization. It is asserted that the track has a happy warm melodic feel within the song with the subject matter focusing around two individuals fighting for a lady that they both love.

It is clear that the song starts out tranquil yet half way through the song there as a robust shape up which adds forte to the song and as it upsurges Michael adds a character of competing with the cumulative loudening of messages and then is interrupted by Paul McCartney who easily brings the song back to its original pace. Similarly, the technical features added to the composition include twinkling sound near the introduction part of the composition just before the lyrics start (Pratt 80).

It can be confirmed that the composition is a smooth easy listening song that goes well in the album as it takes it down a nick from the swift paced drums, the upbeat bass and debauched harmonious singing and substitutes it with a relaxed easy listening peaceful pleasant yet almost hurtful song.


It asserted that the song is characterized by footsteps, wolf howl, wind, screams and applause, drums, bass, synth, guitar, and even brass such as trumpets and trombones (Pratt 62). It is evident that in the end the song provides a narration of the use of multiple horrors and thriller scenes (Pratt 64). The song surfaces with a crescendo in the synth supplemented with drums into the song then jumps into one of the main melodies inside the song just before bass comes into the composition. Consequently, the guitar is incorporated into the music with a spotless sound and is broadcasting a short repetitive funk like faltering rhythm forming as unity in the composition.

It is asserted that this song has improved technological enhancements that are portrayed by a mix of variety of instruments including horns, keyboard, bass, a drum machine, guitar and vocals which have been overdubbed and even had Vincent Price do a narration into the song to add a more fearful insight to the song. It can be pronounced that the song had myriad of work put into it where each activity has been used very effectively and each sound seems playing its own main role to contribute towards the composition.

A point to note, the composition is characterized by crescendos and diminuendos for other part to come in and intersect the rest of the song for example the part that Vincent is narrating, the event turns on the dynamics of the song making the audience to be able to hear him with clarity, gradually the song dwindles back into the original formation and Michael’s commanding vocals come back in like there was no change in the song in the first place.

Beat It

This is the fifth song in the album that is characterized by a repetitive drum rhythm while the bass has a repetitive harmonization which differs in arpeggios for the verse while the chorus is a memorable melody founded on groove which is used as the main driver for the song. The rhythms and the dynamics are such that there is use of specialty in the chorus and then its variation to around mezzo-piano in the verse; the voices have been given an explosive mode to make the vocals stand out.

Alternatively, the vocals are harmonized with the guitar and bass so as to work well without and illogicalities and the repetitive yet driving drum beats are used to preserve the powerful and solid nature of the song (George 29). Music specialists have pointed out that the song has been well thought even though it has its own strength it has also been issued with a very attractive riff of exemplary use of harmonies and dynamics. Technology has also been used in the entire composition with the keyboard primarily given a touch up of reverb and the song also features a drum machine that is used to keep the sound tight and clean (George 30).

This song primarily concentrated efforts on the vocal side of the composition with strong high and striking vocals and quick aggressive lyrics which are meant to express the fact that violence is bad and should not be a way to doing things.

Other songs

Other songs making up the album include Billie Jean that is popular because of its positive yet calm style of positioning introducing transition onto the reprise which even though is still tranquil, is provided with a more intriguing and warm feeling due to its contrast changing to high and sharp lyric. Human Nature is another song with a very tranquil rhythm that is based more on the voices being convoyed with the guitar and drums with the infrequent melody from the bass which is used to add a warm texture to the song in the chorus to the song when Michael sings.

Pretty Young Thing is another composition of the album, the song has been composed well and the excellence of the recording is well to blow everyone away with the tuning. Lastly, The Lady in My Life is a song also comprises a brass horn and a keyboard in the composition that gives the piece an instant counter melody. The song also builds into a slight groove in the pre-chorus and then just combines back into its old rut renowned arrangement until the bridge where the bass shifts to a slap and pop performance giving of a minor breakdown.


From the above discussions it is asserted that the thriller album remains resonate and popular in modern cultures and lifestyles apart from the exemplary prosperity that was achieved from the album. It is asserted that the quality of music coupled with the iconic dances of Michael Jackson as well as his vocals together with genres blending go on serving as an inspiration to the upcoming artists and they as well serve to captivate the audiences all over the world. The artist is credited with having singles that were traced at the top of charts and in the process eliminating the racism barrier by paving the way for the upcoming generation of the artists that are black.


Works cited

George, Nelson. Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson. New York: Da Capo Press,

  1. Internet resource.

Pratt, Mary K. Michael Jackson: King of Pop. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub. Co, 2010. Internet Resource