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Jessica Lea Mayfield: Five Essential Michael Jackson Songs

Jessica Lea Mayfield (photo by Ebru Yildiz, PR)

Jessica Lea Mayfield (photo by Ebru Yildiz, PR)


Jessica Lea Mayfield's usual playlist of fave rock and country artists usually skews towards artists like Dave Grohl, Buddy Holly, and even Slipknot. As any discerning fan of Mayfield's knows, she especially admires the late songwriter Elliot Smith — yes, she even has "Elliot" tattooed on her arm. Two years ago, Mayfield released a beautiful cover album of Smith's songs with Seth Avett.

Mayfield's forthcoming album, Sorry is Gone, which comes out on September 29, is an album of original material and again has Avett involved, on backing vocals and keyboards. It's a brutally blunt collection of songs, detailing the crash-and-burn of Mayfield's marriage, and brimming with all that listeners have come to enjoy about her genre-fluid songwriting, from the honeyed country lilt of the title track to the caustic lash of "Meadow."

Chatting with Mayfield after a recent FUV Live session (which airs on October 4), we discovered that she also really enjoys sleek, fun, ebullient pop music — and when growing up in the Nineties, loved the songs of Michael Jackson. Delighted, we asked her if she'd compile a list of her "Five Essential Michael Jackson Songs" for FUV Essentials and happily, she did:

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Five Essential Michael Jackson Songs:

"Man in the Mirror," Bad (1987)
Lately, we all need to hear this song. Just try not cry. Seriously.

"Smooth Criminal," Bad (1987)
It's so good it became a hit twice.

"Beat It," Thriller (1982)
This song and "Bad" remind me of nonstop childhood dancing. Like all Nineties kids, I remember Michael Jackson as the King of Pop — and those dance moves!

"Bad," Bad (1987)
Such a suspenseful song and video. When I hear this song, everything just stops and I have to listen.

Jackson 5, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," Jackson 5 Christmas Album (1970)
It's my favorite Christmas song!

- Jessica Lea Mayfield
August 2017

Read all of FUV's Five Essential Albums and Songs here.