As someone who is not fond of ''rock music, 'Beat It' is genius.
Aside from it being catchy and full of hooks to stay in the brain, it used a strutting, aggressive beat to talk against machismo. A contradiction that was able to work by being hip enough for the younger ones, yet moral so the adults would approve. I believe it was key in establishing Michael as a positive role model. To a lesser extent, it matched the 'I'm a over not a fighter' attitude of 'The Girl Is Mine'.
The lyrics were very vivid with the story already laid out for the treatment.
It was the first time that Michael used that rougher voice. I loved that he actually sang along to the track in the video!