Don't Be Messin' 'Round

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"Don't Be Messin' 'Round"
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Bad 25
A-side "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
Released June 5, 2012[1][2]
Format CD single
Recorded 1986
Jackson's Hayvenhurst Studio California
Westlake Recording Studios
Genre Funk, pop, R&B, jazz
Length 4:20
Label Epic, Legacy
Songwriter(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s) Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
"Don't Be Messin' 'Round"
"Bad (Afrojack Remix) (DJ Buddha Edit)"

"I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
"Don't Be Messin' 'Round"
"Bad (Afrojack Remix) (DJ Buddha Edit)"

"Don't Be Messin' 'Round" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. The song was originally recorded in 1986 during initial recording sessions for Jackson's seventh studio album, Bad, but was never finished and was left off the album.[3] Jackson reportedly revisited the track for his eighth and ninth studio albums, but it was again abandoned from both. In May 2012, it was announced that Jackson's original 1986 demo for "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" was to be included on a re-release of the original first single from Bad, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". This release marked the beginning of the promotional campaign for Bad 25, a twenty-fifth anniversary re-release of the Bad album.

Background and release[edit]

Michael Jackson wrote "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" at some point during recording sessions for his sixth studio album, Thriller. However, due to an overflow of new material at the time, Jackson pushed the song aside for his next album. Years later, in 1986, Jackson revisited the track with longtime collaborators Matt Forger and Bill Bottrell at the Laboratory, the nickname for Jackson's renovated Hayvenhurst recording studio. According to Forger, the original demo for "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" was nearly eight minutes long, leading to Jackson "brutally" cutting it down to its current 4:20 length. Jackson continued to work on the track throughout 1986; however, once album producer Quincy Jones began working with Jackson, the track was abandoned. Jackson reportedly revisited the song during sessions for both his Dangerous and HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, albums, as well as another revisit in early 2009, but passed on it numerous times.

In early April 2012, unauthorized pre-sales for the "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" CD single began online, prematurely leaking news of the upcoming release of "Don't Be Messin' 'Round." Later in May 2012, the Estate of Michael Jackson issued a statement officially announcing the song's release. They deemed that the song was untouched, being released the way it was left largely after the controversy over 2010's Michael album.


"Don't Be Messin' 'Round" is a funk and R&B-influenced track, along with flavors of jazz and pop, that lasts for four minutes and 20 seconds. The song incorporates cowbells and thick snares into its beat, along with plucking guitars. Because the song is a demo, Jackson often mumbles through sections rather than singing actual lyrics, making an accurate translation of the lyrics difficult. The song opens with Jackson playing chords on an acoustic piano, after which he sings, "Are you ready for a real good time, my love?/Are you ready for a real good treat?/There'll be so much dancing, singing/Ah, you came falling into me." As the chorus follows, Jackson repeats "So don't be messin' 'round, don't be messin' 'round" in a soft falsetto register. The instrumentation infuses digital drum snares over cowbells and shakers. Jackson fans often noted similarities between "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" and "Streetwalker", another Bad outtake. It has also been compared to various Stevie Wonder songs.

Critical reception[edit]

Ray Rahman was proud of the song, highlighting it and praising it: "Noticeably unfinished (refreshingly so, given Bad 25's hermetic polish) numbers like rhythmic earworm 'Don't Be Messin' Around.'"[4] The Morton Report felt more mixed: "It (album) kicks off with the mid-tempo, piano-driven “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round.” Too bad he didn’t finish this one off, it would’ve made a far better duet vehicle for him and Stevie Wonder."[5] Evan Sawdey called this song "feel-good."[6]

Track listing[edit]

  • Worldwide 5" CD Single (88725414922)[7]
  1. I Just Can't Stop Loving You (Album Version) - 4:23
  2. Don't Be Messin' 'Round (Demo) - 4:19

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
Germany June 1, 2012[8] CD single
France June 4, 2012[9]
United States June 5, 2012
Japan June 6, 2012[10]
Austria June 8, 2012[11]
United Kingdom June 12, 2012[12]

See also[edit]