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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Jackson

It has all been said over the last two weeks. What will be said below is just some of my thoughts that have been brewing during that time.
  • Dude's albums were spotty, at best. Michael, of course had his success with The Jackson 5 and his various Motown recordings, but for most of us the beginning of his solo career was Off the Wall. It's got some solid songs, and my favorite M.J. track, "Rock With You." It was bested only by Thriller, which with the exception of two songs, is entirely enjoyable. After that, his albums continued to be less consistent in quality, his singles less infectious. All of his albums went to #1, which is incredible considering the length of his career and the various music trends that came and went over those few decades. It says a lot about the man's appeal.
  • That appeal has a lot to do with the fact that he was an absolutely BRILLIANT performer. I would say more than anything, this was his most valuable and entertaining asset. From the early home videos as a child to cheesy videos with Chris Tucker, Jackson f***ing brought it whenever he stepped on stage or in front of a camera. Like many of you, I've spent some time the last few weeks combing over old Michael videos that I hadn't seen in years. Not just his music videos, which are classics in the medium (hell, they REINVENTED the medium), but his live performances as well. Dude knew how to put on a show, and not only that, but how to connect with his fans as well. Such a personal connection to an artist's fans has never been seen, and probably won't be seen again. Which brings me to my next point...
  • Michael loved his fans. This doesn't need to be said, really, but then again it kind of does. Michael lived a very tumultuous life. The paparazzi hounded him, he had multitudes of legal battles, and vas very much a recluse in the latter part of his life. It's not a life that any of us would want to live, but he did it and he endured it for his fans. Michael was a notorious perfectionist in everything that he did, and a lot of that was to make sure that fans weren't disappointed. He wanted to please his fans. Remember, that's why he dangled a baby over a balcony. I bring this up because you really don't see this a whole lot in the entertainment industry anymore, this devotion to your audience. Michael had this from the start he never lost it.
  • Revisionist history will redeem him in the eyes of the public. It has already, and that's for the best. Michael was more than a celebrity, he was an icon. His fame had nothing to do with his bizarre antics or tragic flaws. His legend should have nothing to do with that either! 20 years from now, his music will still be around and still be good (for the most part). Nobody will care about all the other stuff that supposedly happened.
  • The first Michael Jackson album I ever owned was HIStory Book 1. The first tape (1995, remember?) was good ( a greatest hits collection), the second was bad (Shaquille O'Neal rapping) with the exception of "Scream". Nothing really insightful about that comment, just something I thought I'd let you know.
There you have it folks. No unnecessary hype or glorification. Just this way it is for me.

Thanks, Michael.

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