Friday, June 26, 2009
RIP Michael Jackson
I heard word about the death of Michael Jackson only an hour into my working day at around 8am. They were rumours at that stage and I dismissed them as a hoax, especially considering the number of times it's been said he was on his death bed. Alas, no, it was real and for the rest of the day I have had his music circulating through my head. Yes, he was... troubled (to say the least), but I'm choosing to focus on his music if you don't mind.
That he was an icon, a superstar and an altogether master of music is undeniable. Much like Madonna or The Beatles, almost any pop artist around today owes him something; some debt for his creativity and desire to stretch pop music beyond what anybody thought possible. I remember my first experience of Michael Jackson was whilst watching Video Hits and seeing him dancing around those dark and blue-tinged streets in "The Way You Make Me Feel" in 1989 as he tries to seduce the woman. It was only years later that I even realised the West Side Story choreography had been placed in there! I think I ended up seeing that video over 200 times and it never got tired.
After that I saw each of his new videos as they came around like "Black or White", "Scream" (I still remember the stories about it being the most expensive video of all time and by that stage I was a Janet fiend) and "Earth Song" being particularly memorable. "Do You Remember" became another video that I was increasingly obsessed with. That Egyptian dancing blew my mind and I seemed to be in love with all the clothes, too! I slowly investigated his old work through VHS. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" with its primitive, and yet still quite fantastic, visual effects and one sleeve arm roll. The classic "Thriller" and the bikie fad of "Bad" (Bad is actually my favourite Jackson album), the glowing concrete of "Billie Jean".
"Smooth Criminal" would end up not only my favourite video, but also my favourite Jackson son period. Everything about it is so perfect. Songs like "Human Nature", "Dirty Diana", "Man in the Mirror", "Off the Wall", "Beat It", "Burn This Disco Out" and so many more would all became instant favourites the moment I heard them. I would even go so far as to say that five second synth moment between 0:37 and 0:42 are the greatest five seconds of music ever. Anybody who doesn't get a jolt that those five seconds should just never listen to music ever again. Off the Wall is like the perfect disco album, too.
It is impossible to ignore all the ugly details that consumed his life in his later years, but the music... my god, THE MUSIC! I'll be listening to it on repeat for quite a while. I won't stop 'til i get enough. I know in this day and age it's easy for any one artist to have a hit album and all of a sudden they're the biggest star in the world, but you don't get to be "King of Pop" for nothin'.