Speed Demon (song)

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"Speed Demon"
SpeedDemon.jpg
Promotional single by Michael Jackson from the album Bad
Released October 12, 1989
Format 7" single
Recorded 1987
Genre Funk rock, dance-pop
Length 4:01
Label Epic
Writer Michael Jackson
Producer Quincy Jones
Michael Jackson (co-producer)
Bad track listing
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
(2)
"Speed Demon"
(3)
"Liberian Girl"
(4)

"Speed Demon" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson from his seventh studio album, Bad. The song was written, composed, and co-produced by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. "Speed Demon" is a pop song[1] whose lyrics pertain to driving fast. The song was released on October 12, 1989, as a promotional single for both the album and the 1988 film Moonwalker. The song received mixed reviews from contemporary critics.

"Speed Demon" was originally supposed to be released as a commercial single, but those plans were subsequently canceled.[1] "Speed Demon" was the tenth, and last, single to be released from Bad. The song achieved minor commercial success, having only received minor airplay in the United States.[1] Despite being featured on Bad, the song was not performed during either leg of the album's world tour.

Background[edit]

"Speed Demon" was written and co-produced by Michael Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. It appears on Jackson's album, Bad. Reportedly the song was originally planned to be released as an official single, but it was instead released as a promotion single.[1] The song's lyrics are about driving fast.[2] According to Jones, Jackson wrote the song after he received a traffic ticket, which caused him to arrive late to the recording studio. Jones told him to write about how he felt, which he did, thereby turning it into a song. Although "Speed Demon" was part of Jackson's Bad album, Jackson did not perform the song during his Bad World Tour, nor any of his other tours.

The song was remixed by electronic group Nero for the 25th anniversary of Bad.

Critical reception[edit]

"Speed Demon" received mixed reviews from contemporary critics. Davitt Sigerson of Rolling Stone stated that the "filler" content in Bad – including songs such as "Speed Demon", "Dirty Diana", and "Liberian Girl" – made Bad "richer, sexier, and better than Thriller's forgettables".[3] Sigerson described "Speed Demon" as being "the car song"..."a fun little power tale in which Jackson's superego gives his ID a ticket".[3] On the other hand, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic commented that the album's "constitute" of "near-fatal dead spot[s] on the record" were "Speed Demon" and "Another Part of Me", "a sequence that's utterly faceless, lacking memorable hooks and melodies".[4]

Richard Cromelin of The Los Angeles Times gave Bad a good review. He remarked that the song "Speed Demon" would "zero" audiophiles on the "race car intro-dimensional recording....".[5] Eric Snider of the St. Petersburg Times described "Speed Demon" as "churning along relentlessly".[6] Jay Cocks of Time noted that Jackson did great "vocal stunts" on Bad's tracks; such as "Speed Demon" and "Dirty Diana", and described the two songs as "nimble and fanciful as any of his dance steps".[7]

Music video[edit]

Jackson filmed a promotional video for the song, which appeared in his 1988 film Moonwalker.[8][9] The video was directed by Will Vinton.[10] In the video, Jackson, in an attempt to avoid overzealous fans (even The Noid), disguises himself as a rabbit named Spike, but ends up taunting the fans into chasing him. During the chase, he morphs into other celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone, Tina Turner and Pee-Wee Herman. After finally losing the fans, he removes the costume, which comes to life and challenges him to a dance-off.

In the end, Clancy Brown tells Michael Jackson he is in a "No Moonwalking Zone", and Jackson turns to point to Spike, and the rabbit has already left. The policeman then sarcastically asks for his autograph (as opposed to "signature") on the ticket. Just as Jackson is preparing to leave, the rocky crag in front of him morphs into Spike's head, who then nods to him, leaving Jackson one-upped by his own alter-ego. Nonetheless, he seems happy enough as he leaves. Dennis Hunt of The Los Angeles Times commented that the clips for Bad (which were featured in the film as "Badder", with children recreating the original clip), "Speed Demon" and "Leave Me Alone", are "slick, well-crafted and expensive-looking," but "they're still just [promotional] music videos". He felt that the videos were "not even strung together in any particularly imaginative fashion".[9]

In 2010, the long version of the music video was released in the box set Michael Jackson's Vision and again in 2012 in the Target exclusive version DVD of Bad 25, along with eight other music videos, from the Bad era.[9]

Credits and personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Michael Jackson – Speed Demon". Discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ Jon Pareles (1987-09-03). "Critic's Notebook; How Good Is Jackson's 'Bad'?". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b Davitt Sigerson (1987-10-27). "Album Reviews: Bad". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  4. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Bad: Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-01-25. [dead link]
  5. ^ Richard Cromelin (1987-08-31). "Michael Jackson has a good thing in 'Bad'". The Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  6. ^ Eric Snider (1987-09-04). "A `Bad' growl with a tender musical bite". St. Petersburg Times. Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  7. ^ Jay Cocks (1987-09-14). "Music: The Badder They Come". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  8. ^ Variety Staff (1988-01-01). "Moonwalker". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  9. ^ a b c Dennis Hunt (1989-01-10). "Video Review 'Moonwalker': A Stroll Through a Super Ego". The Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  10. ^ Jamie Beckett (1989-08-13). "Michael Jackson Will Debut As A Raisin.". Ocala Star Banner. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2010-01-26. [dead link]