Mike Blankenship & Sy Smith’s Reimagining Of ‘I Can’t Help It’ Is Truly Off The Wall

Usually the best thing you can do with a classic is just appreciate it and leave it be. However, if you should be so bold as to cover it, you’d better bring your A game for sure. That goes especially for anything originated by one Michael Jackson. One such bold soul is keyboardist/producer Mike Blankenship, who has — along with the ever-daring Sy Smith — decided to take on MJ’s beloved Off The Wall track “I Can’t Help It.”

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The song, which was written by Stevie Wonder, and its dreamy vision of love has been a quiet storm staple for 40 years and Mike and Sy defer to that tradition. Mike lays down jazzy, dreamy keys to provide the base for Sy Boogie to work her vocal acrobatics. She starts off soft and slow at first, but as the song progresses, she adds in riffs, runs and inflections that color the song with different aspects. But the twosome don’t stop there. Once they really start feeling it, Mike takes off to add his own texture to the track. Sy responds in kind by interpolating other MJ hits — including “Wanna Be Starting Something” and “Human Nature” — making the song a true tribute to the legendary artist’s talent and body of work.

Hearing Sy Smith cover “I Can’t Help It” shouldn’t be new for fans (she’s been doing so in concert for years now), but this new take with Mike Blankenship is truly something special. Hear for yourself by taking a listen below.

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