“Ben” by Michael Jackson (1972)

Really, Mike? “Ben”?

Sure, I love “Ben”. That song meant a lot to me as I was growing up.

And that’s great. You loved a lot of crap growing up. But would you really consider it a perfect song?

Actually, yes.

Dude, it’s so cheesy! It’s a love song to a fucking rat! What is wrong with you?

It’s a love song to a rat, but Michael never explicitly mentions that in the song itself. Separated from the (allegedly awful) movie it was written for, “Ben” could be-well it is-a song about friendship between two beings. Both of whom could, hypothetically, be human.

You’re such a Michael Jackson Stan. 

If I was really a Michael Stan, I’d rate “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” five stars (I didn’t). Or I’d rate “Black Or White” five stars (I didn’t; it’s awful). Or “Heal The World” or “You Rock My World” or “The Lost Children” (awful, mediocre, and OH MY GOD PLEASE STOP I WANT TO RIP BOTH MY EARS OUT OF MY HEAD.)

Whether real or artificial, the sensitivity and tenderness with which Michael Jackson sings the lyrics of “Ben” is borderline heartbreaking. He’s selling this song with every ounce of soul he has in his 14 year old body, and there was already more soul in there than you’d find in 98% of other 14 year olds. Sure, it’s cheesy in a ‘70s soft rock kinda way, but are you gonna tell me The Carpenters and James Taylor didn’t have some jams?

Fine, five stars it is.

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