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(Un)Covered: I Want You Back

“I Want You Back”
Writers: Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell, Deke Richards
Original Release Date: October 7, 1969

The theme of regretting a breakup isn’t exactly shocking material when it comes to pop songs, but what makes “I Want You Back” so unique is the fact that the singer was all of eleven years old when he was begging for a second chance.

The Jackson 5 shot to fame in 1969 with the release of their first single, “I Want You Back”. It was a strong debut for the young group, and, as it was released on their debut album, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, it also paved the way for Diana Ross’s solo career, since she was credited with discovering Motown’s next big thing. The bold orchestration in the song is one of the things that make it so memorable, along with a pre-teen Michael Jackson’s pure vocals carrying the lyrics with the type of confidence you’d expect from someone twice his age. Numerous outlets have included it on lists of Best Pop Songs, and it’s still used in movies and commercials (including, weirdly, a yogurt ad with a cover by The Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger) to this day.

I’m not sure where I’ve been for the past fifteen years, but I only recently discovered A Loss For Words (just in time for them to release their last album…) through their cover of The Jackson 5 jam (featuring Dan O’Connor and Alan Day from Four Year Strong). It’s pure pop punk right from the start with their power chords and fast paced percussion—and my gosh, it’s amazing. Earnest and enthusiastic, it makes you want to thrash around a room. And the lyrical content fits in perfectly with pop punk’s usual aesthetic. I’m really regretting not getting into A Loss For Words before they called it quits because if their original music is even half as fun as this cover, they’d probably have made it onto my list of Favorite Bands.

Both versions are insanely catchy, so I can’t actually choose which one I like more! Enjoy the sunshiney pop of the sixties with The Jackson 5 or embrace your pop punk heritage with A Loss For Words—either way, your ears will thank you.

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