Friday, May 9, 2008

For Your Consideration: Michael Jackson

Shaaaaamona! (This is how I remember Michael Jackson best.)

I recently purchased 'Michael Jackson Number Ones' from JB Hi-Fi and as ridiculous as this sounds, considering I like to consider myself quite the little pop culture trivia enthusiast, I just found out that that song that I never knew the title of which always annoyed me whenever I hear it on the radio is 'Human Nature'! I feel like an absolute retard, but what else is new?

Listening to MJ's major hits reminds me that behind the myth and tabloid fodder of the freakish persona lies one really talented pop star. When he's got it, oh, he can't stop till you get enough, alright. Personally, I like the guy. I think he's really misunderstood, and as a result of growing up in a non-traditional environment, doesn't always act according to the traditional rules that govern life. I mean, cut the guy some slack. He's been groomed to be a star at the age of us when most of us are only starting to learn the difference between our toes from our arses. All that inappropriate sleeping arrangements around young children at the Neverland Ranch, I believe, he did with innocent and pure intentions. If I had to guess, I suppose the behaviour stems from an underdeveloped sense of right/wrong that comes from the bizarro toxic spotlight of fame acheived at a young age. Drew Barrymore, another victim of that dreaded light, was an alcoholic by age 13! When you pair the excesses of fame with unhealthy mentors or lack of guidance, you get, well, Britney Spears circa 2007 (who by the way contributed to some of the best pop music in the late '90s- early '00s, coincidentally).

It shouldn't matter what skin colour he was/is. Or that he named his kids the awesomely ostentatious, Prince I and Prince II. Hell, it don't matter if he may in fact not have a nose left. We need to take a step back, separate the weird from the talent and realize that when push comes to shove, Michael Jackson deserves your respect for being a total badass and making some of the best damn songs in pop history.

In the disposable arena of pop music, MJ churned out some of the most definitive hits of our entire generation. I'm pretty sure most of us can remember the exact moment we first witnessed the insane 'Thriller' music video and our reaction to it (1994; "WHAT THE FUCK?! WHOAAA" was mine). How about 'Black or White'? As a child of the 90s, my family owned a copy of HIStory on laserdisc and that poor music disc was played to every inch of it's brutally short plastic life. Maybe it's my own bias. I've heard the saying that the music that you end up loving most will be the one that you grew up with. So my memories of MJ are his prime days from the late 80s/early 90s period, which thankfully, was his best.

It kinda was all downhill from there but revisiting Michael Jackson past all the scandals, shenanigans and accusations, I'm happy to report the self-proclaimed 'King of Pop' remains just that.

Verdict: An oldie, but a goodie.

Random trivia: At age 9, I won a trivia contest because the final question was "Which pop singer is infamous for wearing one glove on his hand?"

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