(Don’t worry, he probably would’ve, but I called first dibs. He’s still the biggest MJ fan on the planet.)
In 2001, Michael Jackson released Invincible, his first album in six years since the HIStory double album. After a few listens, there were some definite conclusions. Firstly, Jackson could still sing as shown on some of the ballads like Break Of Dawn, Heaven Can Wait, and Butterflies. Secondly, he was still capable of making terrible song choices. The Lost Children and Cry were terrible songs. But the thing that many people walked away thinking was that Whatever Happens, featuring Carlos Santana on guitar, was the best song (or Butterflies based on your taste) and was a surefire hit single. But what happened is that Sony didn’t support the album and pushed nothing except the initial single and no one outside of the die hard MJ fans got to hear Whatever Happens.
He gives another smile, tries to understand her side
To show that he cares, she can’t stay in the room
She’s consumed with everything that’s been goin’ on
She says …
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
Viewers of American Idol will be familiar with the song because Mario Vasquez performed it in his audition that was shown before the season. He also sang back up vocals on the original track.
The song starts with an old fashioned instrumental that you’d hear in Westerns as if to say that MJ and Santana were about to draw on each other and a musical explosion was ready to occur. Just walk ten paces.
It’s Latin flavored, but not too much. Santana plucks the strings ever so delicately which forces MJ to sing with more emotion than you’d think possible.
Don’t you let go baby! Don’t you let go!
Lyrically, the song tells a story about a mysterious relationship between a man and a woman. The woman is scared about what they’re doing. The man is trying to make things right. Perfect even. He doesn’t understand that all she wants is just him and that’s all. The conclusion is that whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand. Forever, forever, forever.
Even though the finale of the song seems a bit corny with two of the greatest artists of our time thanking each other, especially Michael’s, “Thank you Carlos”, which seems like it took 20 takes, but it’s the perfect finish. They go out guns a blazin’. Well, sort of.
Whatever Happens is the song that would’ve should’ve could’ve, but didn’t. But thankfully for you, you can now find it because I know it’s the best you’ve never heard.
More on “The Best You’ve Never Heard” week
The Best Youâ€™ve Never Heard..or Have You?: “Shiver” by Coldplay
The Best You’ve Never Heard: “Hesitate” by The Mysteries of Life
The Best You’ve Never Heard: “Must Have Been Crazy” by Chicago
The Best You’ve Never Heard: “Wheel” by John Mayer
The Best You’ve Never Heard: Introduction