Somewhere out in the world exists a VHS tape of my friend and me performing a fully choreographed dance to “I Want You Back” in his living room. Were we 11 years old? NO. We were in high school.
Something about this song has always made me giddy and joyful. I could give you a moment-by-moment, running commentary on every awesome thing that happens during “I Want You Back,” from the bass lick (sampled by Kriss Kross in “Jump,” people don’t realize that but it’s one of the all-time great samples), to the four snare shots that bring you out of the bridge, to Tito’s tortured “Let me live again!” I can’t imagine a more exciting pop song.
We’ll let this guy serve as a proxy for everyone who’s ever sung along, danced, or smiled to “I Want You Back.” I love his enthusiasm and exuberance, because that’s what pop music is all about, and that’s what “I Want You Back” has always meant to me, and the Jackson 5 were totally amazing and I used to rock their greatest hits cassette when I was weeding my parents’ garden back in the day.
Also, when Michael Jackson first performed “Man in the Mirror” at the Grammys, do you remember that? Because it definitely wasn’t very incredible. What was that?