Friday, June 26, 2009
long live the king
first off, i am not going to try and convince you all that i am a die hard michael jackson fan. i own thriller, yes, but so do 30 million other people. MJ hadn't had a hit since 2001, and that was barely a blip on the radar (invincible). for the last 15 years or so, most people only associated this man with controversy, turmoil, and embarassment. like most people, i still was rooting for him to go out on top. unfortunately, he did not.
what is extraordinary, however, is that no one seems to be talking about the bad times. no seems to recall the dangling babies, the awkward kisses, or the plethora of surgeries. all people seem to recall is the music. and this man literally changed the face of pop music forever.
before him, there were no black artists on MTV. some could argue, in fact, that MJ literally saved music television. of course this was during the time when they actually played music videos. imagine that!
like many of you, i still recall seeing him moonwalk for the first time. we stayed up late to watch the thriller video for the first time, and it was an event like none other before or since (save peter gabriel's sledgehammer, but that was entirely different). and vincent price's voice still scares me! as the tributes began mounting,however, it became more and more evident that the world really did lose a treasure. as his songs began occupying radio airtime for the majority of the day, i began to realize just how important MJ the artist really was. for my generation, is there really anyone bigger? nope.
currently, jacko albums are holding the top 23 spots on the amazon best seller list, as well as 35 of the top 50. now THAT is impressive. looking back, however, his legacy really lies within 3 albums : off the wall, thriller, and bad. even as a moderate fan of pop music, i must admit that i would be hard pressed to find a greater trilogy of an artist, let alone in sequence. especially a pop artist.
favorite song? again, i am no aficionado, but i always liked "man in the mirror". it just seemed a bit more personal and introspective. of course, "billie jean" is still pretty bitchin. i just finished listening to thriller (on vinyl!) and it all still holds up. i am still trying to figure out they got those sounds in the studio!
not sure why i felt compelled to address this topic, other than it is inescapable. it is everywhere, and will be for many weeks to come. while i am certain that the circumstances surrounding his death are far from being resolved, i do hope that we can all take heart in the lasting music and influence that have been left behind. because when it comes right down to it, i think everyone has the need to moonwalk across their living room floor, let out a scream, and embrace the feel of a single white glove.
i know i do...