For whatever reason, I’ve always associated “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” with summer heat. It has the groove of a late summer night – a party that won’t end until the sun rises. It’s the kind of song you turn on around 2 AM and let the night take over. And like that party – the song never seems to end, and you’re not sure that you want it to. Because once it’s over, that particular moment is gone. As long as the song goes on, and Jackson yelps and sings in his signature falsetto – it’s about as close as you can come to party nirvana.
It may seem strange now (especially after everything I just wrote) but “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” was designed to be Jackson’s “first grown up record”. It’s the first song where he was really able to present himself as something other than a teen idol. Jackson may have wrote the song himself, but Quincy Jones dripped every ounce of teen idol out of Jackson. The lyrics aren’t really important here: it’s Jackson’s non-verbal yelps, oooo’s, and hiccups which present him as a young man in his prime.
Many of Jackson’s trade-marks are tested out here, and for me that’s part of what makes it so appealing. It’s less calculated and more natural than many of the songs on Thriller or Bad and for me it might be the best song Jackson ever recorded.