First Hit #1: September 19, 1987
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You is a strange choice for a lead single. The first single from an album should be something that gets people excited about the new release and ready to part ways with their money. I Just Can’t Stop… doesn’t do that. It’s a nice ballad, and it has a pretty great chorus overall, but exciting it isn’t. It’s also kind of a departure from what sold a billion copies of Thriller, which was a certain high energy dance sound that was wholly his own. While Jackson has a distinct vocal – Garrett, not so much, but she’s not the star – this could be a song for anyone with minimal changes. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s a perfectly acceptable ballad, it’s just a song that is easily forgotten and is better suited to be buried on Side B rather than put front and center as the lead single.