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Friday, June 26, 2009
My Morning in ExileI'm going to spare everyone the big Michael Jackson post I was going to write because (a) it represented mission creep even for me; and (b) it wasn't coming together all that well. Jonah has a good one up if you're curious. I'll just say this: Michael Jackson and his handlers probably spent most of the past decade trying to figure out how to convince people to look past all of his strangeness (and worse) and focus on him as a beloved entertainer once again. They never figured it out. Since yesterday afternoon at about 5pm, however, every single radio station I've turned to -- including the classic rock and college stations -- has been playing old Michael Jackson songs. There's been a pretty obvious fatwa on Michael Jackson on the part of radio stations in recent years, and having it lifted so suddenly has been an almost joyus revelation. I mean, have you listened to "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" or "Wanna Be Starin' Somethin'" recently? Holy crap, those are amazing songs.
I guess what I'm saying is that if Jackson had figured out how to get his 20+ years of outstanding music in front of people earlier, it might have gone a long way towards addressing his massive image problems.
Oh, I'm also just saying Mama Se, Mama Sa, Mama Coo Sa; Mama Se, Mama Sa, Mama Coo Sa.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:40am
I’m sorry for Xavier, but almost prefer John Sterling’s “Swisholicious” over “X marks the spot”
Posted 06/26 at 12:20 PM
Sticking strickly to his art, a couple of comments:
- This may sound cold, but I can’t say I will “miss” him, musically speaking. Although I was a huge fan, he had long ago faded away as an important and influential musical talent. After the Jackson Five he made two of the undeniable all-time great records in Off the Wall and Thriller, and another great one in Bad, arguably a classic. But he did not make another great record, although his later albums contained some bits of greatness (Black or White from Dangerous), or pretty good-ness (Scream from HIStory for example).
- Whether he was still an important live performer (or maker of innovative music videos) is harder for me to discern because I stopped being able to look at him without cringing a long time ago, so i simply have not seeing him do anything in a long time.
- Finally, he was indeed a great dancer, but he also essentially repeated the same dance moves for the past two decades.
Posted 06/26 at 12:35 PM
Ralph Kramden said...
That’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, not the uncomfortably Freudian title you cite. And MJ had been getting his music in front of people since he was 5 years old - how was he going to do it earlier? I guess I don’t quite understand your comment.
Posted 06/26 at 02:59 PM
Craig Calcaterra said...
What I meant was that he should have spent the past 10-15 years—the years in which he had been in the wilderness—to try to use his music as his public face as opposed to himself. More licensing, maybe. A more accessible repackaging of his greatest hits like “Beatles 1” or something. Get people remembering why they liked him so much once upon a time.
Posted 06/26 at 03:03 PM
Warren Hynes said...
The perfect pop song sounds effortless when you hear it, but it’s not an easy thing to pull off. Michael Jackson was the best at it.
Posted 06/26 at 03:27 PM
Actually, Craig, he did put out an album of #1s like the Beatles did. It’s even called “Number Ones”. The problem was that he was a damaged brand and the ick factor was through the roof. I’m not sure there was anything he could do about that.
Posted 06/26 at 03:37 PM
The Rabbit said...
Craig…Thanks for the link to Jonah’s site. This link is a link from Jonah’s to a Slate article that quite logically questions the accusation that Jackson was actually pedophile. There’s a link from that Slate article to another Slate article that discusses the jury trial in some detail.
Posted 06/26 at 03:50 PM
The Rabbit said...
Posted 06/26 at 03:51 PM
joe yogi said...
ONE SYLLABLE MISSING
Mama Se, Mama Sa, Mama MA Coo Sa.
Posted 06/26 at 05:06 PM
The Rabbit said...
Swisholicious? X marks the spot? Thanks, Len…and mlb.com wants me to pay to listen to that?
Posted 06/26 at 05:22 PM