Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson. What can I say? The man was and still is very much an enigma, leaving most people to just postulate his inner thoughts and try to decipher the man behind the machine that executed complex dance moves to perfection on stage to some of the most recognizable songs on earth using probably the most recognizable singing voice on earth. Ever since guy died, as an upcoming artiste I've been doing a lot of research trying to find out who this guy really was and what was his work ethic like to achieve the things he did before his untimely and unexpected passing. I've already listened to his most popular and critically acclaimed albums (Thriller, Bad and Dangerous) and after his death the influence of those songs on popular music is even more glaring. He was the last of an era where super stardom meant that you possessed a plethora of unearthly talents; not just a good body and the autotune plugin. And despite his talents, this guy's work ethic was out of this world.

When I got into Michael Jackson at the age of about 7 or so, he was already white. I'm an 80's babe who didn't possess cable (still don't) so "Bad" was probably the first song from Michael that I heard. The first video I saw of Michael was "Black and White" on Kasey Casem's countdown and it would be quite a while still before I heard his other stuff and be able to reconcile the fact that the black dude who also sounded like him was him, just before that awful disease gripped him (btw, I wish someone could finally shed more light on that scene plese). Looking back I wonder a lot of things, a lot of 'what ifs'. What if he never broke his nose dancing or get burnt doing that pepsi commerical? Would he have participate in as much plastic surgery if he didn't need that first nose job? What if he had a normal childhood? Then he may not have had the robot-like discipline to perfect his complex signature moves and spend repeated takes in the studio with Quincy Jones recording Thriller aka the best selling album of all time or gotten in trouble liming too much with those little boys. The list goes on and on.

Anyways, the most important thing to take from this guy's death for me is the hard work that he put into his craft. Rumors and controversies aside, this guy was a true artiste who transformed music videos into what they are today and crafted some of the most edgy and eccentric sounding popular songs ever created. Songs like "Thriller" and "Billie Jean" are difficult to place in any category of music but the "Michael Jackson" category and are number one hits as well as classic songs. He wasn't just an artiste who wanted to be popular but one who was took risks with his musical choices. Most importantly, even though this guy was blessed with superhuman technical singing talents and range at his peak, he was obsessive about practicing and perfection, a trait that we should all emulate as artistes. Either way, let me know what you thought of the legend. R.I.P. Michael. Face out.

1 comment:

Paula said...

I'm glad I grew up in a house that appreciated music. i think it was my dad who introduced me to Michael Jackson (and Jackson 5). To be honest, I can't remember the first MJ song I ever heard because to me, he's always been around. As a kid, I'll never forget seeing the glowing white socks peeking out from the stack of records (that I wasn't supposed to touch- so much for that)and when I pulled it out there was MJ, smiling and looking cool as ever- He was so cool; it was like a centre fold.By that time I was already familiar with his voice so this added to my education of MJ and music on a whole. The first time I heard "Got to be there" and "Never can say Goodbye", I got goosebumps, literally. I couldn't believe how easily those notes and emotion came out of the then- boy star. His voice was clear, his pitch was perfect and his range, WOW. Wish I could sing like that and those 2 songs are among my favorites from him to this day. Along with the songs from Thriller, Off the wall and Bad-Woooh! nuff said. I don't think there's anything I can say about his dance that hasn't been already said- he was a genius. His impact on the music industry, dance and entertainment on a whole is undeniable. We'll be influenced by his style for years to come, and I hope that we can appreciate and recognize his talent, in spite of all the crazy things he's been through in his latter years. His work is a major part of the soundtrack of my and many of our lives. Thanks for the music Michael.