Friday, June 26, 2009
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.