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Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel (1987)

  • Video Views 386,420,171
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.42
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“The Way You Make Me Feel” is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic ...

“The Way You Make Me Feel” is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on November 9, 1987 as the third single from his seventh studio album Bad. It was written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones and Jackson.

It received positive reviews from contemporary critics. “The Way You Make Me Feel” became Bad’s third consecutive single to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and charted mainly within the top ten and twenty internationally. A music video for “The Way You Make Me Feel” was released at the time showing Jackson pursuing and dancing with former model Tatiana Thumbtzen. Since the music video’s release, it has become influential on other artists’ material.

Aside from appearing on Bad, “The Way You Make Me Feel” has also been featured on the first disc of Jackson’s compilation album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I in 1995, Number Ones in 2003, The Ultimate Collection in 2004, The Essential Michael Jackson in 2005, Visionary: The Video Singles in 2006 and This Is It in 2009. “The Way You Make Me Feel” has been covered by multiple recording artists.

The song has been performed on all of Jackson’s world concert tours as a solo artist, and was planned to have been performed during the This Is It concerts from 2009 to 2010. Notable live performances of the song by Jackson include a performance at the 30th Grammy Awards.

Critical reception

“The Way You Make Me Feel” generally received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. AllMusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine listed “The Way You May Me Feel” as well as the album’s title track, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Man In The Mirror” as being a ‘track picks’ from Bad. Erlewine commented that out of all of Bad’s songs, “only three can stand alongside album tracks from its predecessor” which were “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”. Jon Pareles, a writer for The New York Times, commented that Jackson’s songs, “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “say nothing more personalized than their titles”.

Richard Cromelin, from the Los Angeles Times, described “The Way You Make Me Feel” as being a “loping shuffle”. Rolling Stone’ David Sigerson commented that “The Way You Make Me Feel” was “nearly as good” as being the third best song on Bad. Greg Quill, who writes for the Toronto Star, commented that “the notion of individual as opposed to institutionalized self-improvement”, a recurring theme for the singer, was present “to a lesser extent in the love songs “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Liberian Girl”, which deal more with surrender than conquest or self-gratification.” The Washington Post’ Rickard Harrington commented that on songs like “The Way You Make Me Feel,” Jackson “sings the way he dances”. “The Way You Make Me Feel” tied at number 22 on The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll of 1987.

Chart performance

“The Way You Make Me Feel” generally charted within the top ten and top twenty positions on music charts worldwide. The song climbed to number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart’s issue date of December 26, 1987. After charting within the top ten for five weeks, the song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 on January 23, 1988. “The Way You Make Me Feel” became the album’s third consecutive single to reach number one on the Hot 100. “The Way You Make Me Feel” also charted on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at number nine, and on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart at the peak of number three. The song also charted at number one on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart and Dance Club Play Singles chart.

The song entered the United Kingdom singles charts at number sixteen on December 5, 1987. The following week the song moved up thirteen spaces to number three, which was the song’s peak position. The song stayed at its peak position for two consecutive weeks, and remained on the country’s chart for ten weeks, before falling out of the top 100 positions, only to re-enter the charts two weeks later.

The song peaked at number two on New Zealand music charts on January 17, 1988, and remained on the chart for a total of eleven weeks in 1987 and 1988. In the Netherlands, the song debuted on the chart at number twenty on November 28, 1987. Two weeks later the song charted at its peak position, at number six. “The Way You Make Me Feel” debuted at number fourteen on Switzerland charts on December 13, 1987; the following week, the song charted at its peak position at number eight. The song charted within the top thirty positions for ten consecutive weeks from 1987 to 1988. The song debuted on French music charts on December 26, 1987 at number 47, and eventually peaked within the top thirty positions at number 29. The song charted within the top 50 positions for ten consecutive weeks on the country’s chart. The song has sold over 2 million digital copies as of August 2018.

“The Way You Make Me Feel” re-entered music charts worldwide after Jackson’s music was re-issued for the Visionary album. The song debuted on the Spanish Singles Chart at number one on April 9, 2006. The song remained on the country’s chart for ten weeks. In Italy, the song debuted within the top ten, peaking at number seven, on April 6, 2006; after two weeks, the song charted out of the top 100 positions. “The Way You Make Me Feel” re-entered Dutch charts on April 1, 2006 at number 24. The song re-entered French music charts on April 1, 2006 at number 59; the song remained within the top 100 positions for two consecutive weeks.

Following Jackson’s death, his music experienced a surge in popularity. The song re-entered Dutch charts for the third time on July 4, 2009, at its peak position at number 40; the song remained on the chart for four consecutive weeks in 2009. The song charted within the top ten, peaking at number six, on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs on July 11, due to digital download sales. The song debuted on Swedish charts at number 30 on July 3, and peaked at number 24 the following week. On July 4, the song re-entered the United Kingdom charts at number 47, and peaked at number 34 the following week.

Music video

The music video for “The Way You Make Me Feel” was directed by Joe Pytka and was filmed in June 1987 at Skid Row, Los Angeles. It was choreographed by Jackson and Vincent Paterson. The short version of the video is six minutes and forty-four seconds long and the full version is nine minutes and thirty-three seconds long. The video begins with a group of men trying to pick up women, but failing. One of the men (Michael Jackson) is told to go home and not to hang around with the other guys anymore. When the man walks home, an elderly man (played by Joe Seneca), who is sitting on the steps of his house, tells him to just be himself. The man notices a woman, played by model/dancer Tatiana Thumbtzen, walking down the streets alone.

Shortly after the man walks out of an alley and stands in front of the woman while she’s walking down the street, although she ignores him and keeps walking. He gets her attention by shouting, and then begins singing “The Way You Make Me Feel” to her while also dancing. Uninterested, she walks away. He follows her, having been cheered on by his friends to pursue her. Another dance routine begins, involving the man’s friends, which leads to the man pursuing the woman throughout the neighborhood. The video ends with the man eventually winning the woman over, and embracing her, while a fire hydrant sprays out water. The videoclip also features an appearance by his sister La Toya as one of Thumbtzen’s friends.

The music video was released on October 31, 1987, and received one nomination at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards Ceremony. The video, alongside Jackson’s ‘”Bad” video, was nominated for Best Choreography, but lost to Jackson’s younger sister Janet’s video “The Pleasure Principle”.

The music video was included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits – HIStory (long version on DVD and short version on VHS), Number Ones (short version), Michael Jackson’s Vision (long version) and the Target version DVD of Bad 25 (long version).

The introduction of the full version of the video also samples the Roy Ayers 1985 song “Hot” (written by Binky Brice, Philip Hunter Field and James Mtume) from his You Might Be Surprised album.

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