SoulBounce’s Top 50 Michael Jackson Songs: #47 ‘In The Closet’

Because there's something about you, baby
That makes me want to give it to you


A whispery spoken word intro by a pleading, sultry woman is culminated by an abrupt slam into the funkiest, most attitudinal New Jack Swing of a beat peppered with staccato hand claps, glass breaking and doors slamming. "In The Closet," written and produced by Michael and New Jack Swing king Teddy Riley and released in May of '92, was the third single released off Dangerous. The title of the song itself is an interesting choice for a man so plagued by rumors of his sexuality and the persecution of other's gender ideals, but this joint is definitely about a man and a woman. It tells the tale of a cat and mouse lovegame; she dares him to make a move and he's disciplined, but game--as long as they keep what's about to go down discreet. Restraint is challenged by and gives way to a heavy dose of good ole lust and temptation.

Now Michael has quite a few songs I'd classify as sexy--"Lady In My Life," "I Can't Help It" and "Butterflies," to name a few. But I'd venture to say that "In The Closet" is the most ostentatiously provocative MJ song ever. It's certainly the sexiest uptempo joint. There are wanton sighs, ecstatic moans, Michael's lusty growl...and then there are those lyrics. "She wants to get it...ah, she wants to get it". Hotdamn.

For awhile urban legend had it that the mystery girl was none other than Madonna. However, although the song was originally intended to be a collaboration between the two mega-stars, it never materialized. Madonna's proposed lyrics were apparently too provocative for Michael (moreso than "Cause if it's achin', you have to rub it"?), so Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, who had a fledgling music career at the time, stepped in as the "Mystery Girl."

The Herb Ritts-directed, sepia-toned video, is in itself legendary. Michael and supermodel Naomi Campbell writhe and grind against each other in a hot, dusty desert. They tease and play off each other. Unlike Michael and Iman in the "Remember the Time" video, there's chemistry between them and it's fun. Naomi's vocals replace Prince Stephanie's, as well, and no doubt the video, in itself an event as many of Michael's videos came to be, helped the song climb to #1 on the R&B charts.

Michael Jackson: "In The Closet"

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13 Responses

  1. One of my absolute favorite Mike tracks ever. This song is straight-up sex.
    I'll definitely be linking to this countdown on my blog (although I doubt y'all need the traffic help).
    I could comment more on the song and video, but you huny's got it all covered.

  2. One of my least fav MJ songs but I'm enjoying the countdown thus far.

  3. 'It's just desire'
    'You cannot waste it'
    'Then, if you want it'
    'Then,won't you taste it'
    I love this song!!!!!!! And the video! So sexy!
    Not nearly as nasty as his royal badness (Prince) but it was a start!

  4. You know it's really early in this countdown so maybe I should hold off on this, but what the hell! I'll just say it. & I'll probably say it several more times throughout this countdown. Michael has the most beautiful falsetto I have ever heard. And obviously that's saying a whole lot when you have Maxwell, Prince, D'Angelo, Phillip Bailey (who primarilly sings falsetto), Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, etc....Maybe thats a debate for another day but Michael's is breathtaking....I mean DAMN!

  5. @Eddie: Is that "what the hell" because this is on the countdown or because of where it is on the countdown? LOL
    @merq: We appreciate each and every link. Definitely hope that you enjoy the countdown, we're just getting started.
    Y'all do realize that we could have honestly done a Top 100 Michael Jackson Songs countdown as deep as his catalog is.

  6. lol.....nah that "what the hell" is because I figured "what the hell," I'll just mention it now even though I know I'll definitely say it so many more times during the countdown..........oh & DAMMIT Butta! Why did you have to go & say that? Now I'm itching, & salivating over a TOP 100 MicJack countdown, cause like you said, his catologue is obviously deep enough.

  7. wait, hold up. Butta did u even read the whole comment? the first one?

  8. @ Eddie Adams
    Yes....100 MicJack countdown!!!
    And so agree with you.

  9. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is beautiful writing. Methinks it should be a bit higher though 🙂
    But with this song at 47, I'm itching to know what you are placing higher. So far, this list is ... let's say...intriguing.

  10. She wants to get it, ah she wants to get it!

  11. @tyler: this is one of my fave MJ songs, which is why I chose to write it up. I wouldn't have minded it being higher up but there are some EXCELLENT songs on this list. stay tuned 😉

  12. I'm late but this one has to be in my top 10 if not higher. The song is pure sex which was out of the box for MJ. The melody change-ups, the exotic whispering, I mean DAMN. Then the video just puts it over the top. I feel like Mike was saying you can leave your girl around me if you want but she'll definitely "get it

  13. lmfao@ Jay