RIP Michael Jackson

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RIP Michael Jackson

Postby Our Kid » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:53 pm

So the King of Pop is gone…

Look, I know about it all. The nose. The allegations of molestation. The insane comments to interviewers. The footage of him dangling his kid off a balcony. The wearing of expensive pajamas to court. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

For a moment, though, step over to the record player, ok? I am listening to 1971’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” by the Jackson 5 over and over and over and over and over and over and over. You hear that? That’s a TWELVE YEAR OLD KID singing on that record, giving even Jackie Wilson a run for his money. His voice is clear as a bell and he’s not holding anything back while his brothers churn away behind him. It’s an absolutely adult song and a Soul Classic and it was laid down by the Jackson 5. It is one of my absolute favorite songs, ever.

I mean, we’re talking about a teen group here - a 1971 teen group in the age of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. There was no crotch-grabbing in those days by anyone, you know? Raunchy was an extra undone button on a patterned shirt and a puka shell necklace. In the midst of that mostly innocent scene, along strolled this little fucker who had every James Brown move in his hip pocket and a voice way beyond his years and he just constantly stood there and cut it all loose. It was breathtaking to watch.

Ultimately, he grew up (sort of) and he made some amazing dance music as the 70s slid into the 80s. “Thriller” dropped in late 1982 and it was, in my lifetime, one of popular music’s greatest tidal waves. There was no stopping that album. I think Epic finally just ran out of songs to release or something. Along the way, MJ’s massive popularity single-handedly crushed the racism inherent on MTV and the station had no choice but to relent to public demands and integrate itself.

I have cringed, like most people, many times in the last couple decades while watching the massive train wreck his life became. I don’t think that the music earns him any kind of pass when it comes to his creepy behavior. I’m just saying that the music, standing alone, was oftentimes really great. I was never a huge fan of his once “Thriller” was in the rear view mirror and his life got increasingly vain and messy, but I think Michael Jackson was an absolutely amazing entertainer when he shook off all the garbage and hit the stage. I have always viewed him as a tortured soul who never really came to grips with his childhood or the life his talent brought him and I have always found the whole thing very sad.

Motown will mourn this one hard. Never Can Say Goodbye, Michael. Your impact was immeasurable.

I hope he rests in peace.

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Re: RIP Michael Jackson

Postby Rob » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:39 pm

Our Kid wrote:So the King of Pop is gone…

Look, I know about it all. The nose. The allegations of molestation. The insane comments to interviewers. The footage of him dangling his kid off a balcony. The wearing of expensive pajamas to court. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

For a moment, though, step over to the record player, ok? I am listening to 1971’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” by the Jackson 5 over and over and over and over and over and over and over. You hear that? That’s a TWELVE YEAR OLD KID singing on that record, giving even Jackie Wilson a run for his money. His voice is clear as a bell and he’s not holding anything back while his brothers churn away behind him. It’s an absolutely adult song and a Soul Classic and it was laid down by the Jackson 5. It is one of my absolute favorite songs, ever.

I mean, we’re talking about a teen group here - a 1971 teen group in the age of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. There was no crotch-grabbing in those days by anyone, you know? Raunchy was an extra undone button on a patterned shirt and a puka shell necklace. In the midst of that mostly innocent scene, along strolled this little fucker who had every James Brown move in his hip pocket and a voice way beyond his years and he just constantly stood there and cut it all loose. It was breathtaking to watch.

Ultimately, he grew up (sort of) and he made some amazing dance music as the 70s slid into the 80s. “Thriller” dropped in late 1982 and it was, in my lifetime, one of popular music’s greatest tidal waves. There was no stopping that album. I think Epic finally just ran out of songs to release or something. Along the way, MJ’s massive popularity single-handedly crushed the racism inherent on MTV and the station had no choice but to relent to public demands and integrate itself.

I have cringed, like most people, many times in the last couple decades while watching the massive train wreck his life became. I don’t think that the music earns him any kind of pass when it comes to his creepy behavior. I’m just saying that the music, standing alone, was oftentimes really great. I was never a huge fan of his once “Thriller” was in the rear view mirror and his life got increasingly vain and messy, but I think Michael Jackson was an absolutely amazing entertainer when he shook off all the garbage and hit the stage. I have always viewed him as a tortured soul who never really came to grips with his childhood or the life his talent brought him and I have always found the whole thing very sad.

Motown will mourn this one hard. Never Can Say Goodbye, Michael. Your impact was immeasurable.

I hope he rests in peace.

Timski

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Postby Jon » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:20 pm

When I was a kid, Michael was as big a child star as there was out there, I suppose, and later on in spite of all the weirdness it was always a wish of mine that he would somehow steer it back on the road and become normal, well adjusted, happy, whatever. More or less like I had remembered him before, that is to say. It seems like we lost him a long time ago, but it sucks now that he's gone for good. I'm sad. RIP, Michael.
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Postby Turk » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:36 pm

Beautiful post, Tim.
.
All the weirdness that will unfortunately be part of Michael's legacy just fell away for me today as I chose to remember the great things about this guy who was so fucking talented and amazing.
.
Rest in peace, Michael.

Gone Too Soon

Never Can Say Goodbye
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Postby keith from ny » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:05 pm

Tim, while I'm in awe (as always) of your eloquence, I feel compelled to say my perspective on Michael Jackson's music is very different. He was obviously an incredible dancer and knew how to craft an irresistably catchy song, and Thriller probably qualifies as the most entertaining video I've ever seen. But to me he represented the triumph of style over substance in R&B music, replacing soul with a vapid and self-conscious sexuality. It seems to me that Jackson's influence, along with that of his feminine counterpart Madonna (who qualified as the Queen of Pop), was largely responsible for the narcissistic wasteland that is pop music today, and my self-imposed musical exile listening almost exclusively to classical and jazz during most of the 80s and 90s coincided with their ascendance. I also don't think much of Jackson's voice as an adult performer, although he certainly made the best of it. Stevie Wonder he was not.

He was apparently a very unhappy person (not surprising in view of his early family life), and I hope his troubled soul is at rest.
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Postby marybeth » Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:51 pm

I really loved him best with the Jackson Five. Watched some vids today of "I'll Be There" "I Want You Back" and "Never Can Say Goodbye!" and his singing gives me the chills. Memories of childhood for sure.
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Postby bivester » Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:43 pm

yes, jackson had his demons, many of them, and they loomed large in his life and his actions. i believe many were self inflicted and many, i believe were inflicted onto him.

as far as many of the claims against him, while probably true, i also question and blame equally parents that would leave their young children alone in his presence. knowing (or at a minimum, seriously suspecting) what they knew at the time. and i also blame parents that would accept huge payouts, basically pimping their children, simply for that "brush with greatness" (and a little cash on the side).

sometimes as a culture, we don't like to take responsibility for the monsters we help create. we worship them as idols and excuse their bad behavior, then as we tire of them or their talents, we turn on them and turn them into a punchlines for stand up comedians. think about it, most of us, if not all, probably told or laughed at a joke about michael's (alleged) pedophelia at one time or another. we didn't help, nor punish...we joked and laughed. shame on us.

while i didn't care for much his music personally, i never owned a J5 or MJ record, there is no denying that michael jackson was a great talent, with a big, yet very flawed and faulted heart. he could have, he should have, accomplished so much in his lifetime. to me, it's very sad that he didn't.

he was obviously a troubled soul, may he now find some peace.
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Postby Little_Kites » Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:45 pm

“But man, and I feel guilty saying this, there’s also just the slightest bit of relief: that a life that had always seemed like a lonely, twisted nightmare filled with suffering had finally come to end. What were the chances of him finding perspective after all this time? And, after chasing Thriller’s sales records for so long, making that his artistic and creative aim, what were the chances of him making music he was happy with again? How does a guy who wants to remain a kid forever, who started an endless course of plastic surgeries while still in his twenties, find a way to be a reasonably happy old man? (…)

Take away the music, and Michael Jackson’s life is just too sad to contemplate. Which is a very good argument for not taking away the music, ever. We’re all going to die someday, too. So let’s live. You start with “I Want You Back” and “ABC” and “I’ll Be There”. You go through the Jacksons years with “Dancing Machine” and “Can You Feel It”, and then a long stop at the incomparable Off the Wall. Jackson sang a small handful of tunes with a legitimate claim as the best pop song of the past 40 years, and “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” is one of them. Then it’s on to “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” and “Thriller” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”, and on through later hits: “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, “Black or White”, “Will You Be There”, and sure, why not, “Gone Too Soon”. Michael Jackson— superhero, cartoon, singer, dancer, supremely troubled dude— made all this music, and it’s amazing.

-http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/7676-michael-jackson-rip/

And a bunch of music and videos here:
http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/ ... and-video/
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Postby TontoBronto » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:49 am

keith from ny wrote:... I feel compelled to say my perspective on Michael Jackson's music is very different.

Well put Keith. My feelings are very similar.
While my interest was high as the story broke, I long ago tired of the endless news coverage of Jackson's career and hope it's over soon.
I was actually saddened more by Farrah Fawcett's death than Jackson's--not that "Charlie's Angels" was any great artistic achievement, but it gave me more enjoyment than almost all of MJ's work.
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Postby Arlene » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:43 pm

Tonto Yoder wrote:
keith from ny wrote:... I feel compelled to say my perspective on Michael Jackson's music is very different.

Well put Keith. My feelings are very similar.

I greatly admire Tim's writing but I'm with Keith and Bruce on this one.
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Postby notalone » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:11 am

Arlene wrote:
Tonto Yoder wrote:
keith from ny wrote:... I feel compelled to say my perspective on Michael Jackson's music is very different.

Well put Keith. My feelings are very similar.

I greatly admire Tim's writing but I'm with Keith and Bruce on this one.


Well, since we seem to be choosing sides, I couldn't have said it any better than Tim. The music is what matters to me, and I have payed little attention to the Princess Di like media feeding frenzy.
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Postby outta » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:24 am

For me, Michael Jackson will always be a musical icon. He was a genius at his art and crafted it well.

I love dancing to his music. When I worked with dementia residents, I often put on MJ, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, etc. Most of the residents, many who had little to look forward to, cheered-up, laughed and danced. It was unlike the mood they were in when I played Perry Como, Bing, or Frank -- all of which I love -- but, it threw many of them into a depressive state, to a time that was no longer theirs and yes, it did spark a memory, but Motown ignited a contagious feel-good vibe.

I grew-up enjoying Jackson Five, dancing to the music of Michael Jackson, and most recently, watching his music give a group of mostly lonely, forgotton and severely memory impaired individuals, laughter and some fantastic dance moves!

Michael Jackson, rest in peace. It was a hell of a life, but it was somebody's life ....
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Postby Rob » Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:25 pm

keith from ny wrote:But to me he represented the triumph of style over substance in R&B music, replacing soul with a vapid and self-conscious sexuality. It seems to me that Jackson's influence, along with that of his feminine counterpart Madonna (who qualified as the Queen of Pop), was largely responsible for the narcissistic wasteland that is pop music today.

I know what you mean, Keith. But I think massive amounts of money are more to blame than any performer. It's true that more than ever, pop music today IS a narcissistic wasteland. But if I'm going to say that Michael Jackson and Madonna, both of whom will always live as superlative talents, represent the decline of pop, I have to start laying that at the feet of Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Nile Rodgers and on and on. And I can't do that.

I think what's happened in "popular" music today is something bigger than any one or two artists or producers. It's about record company greed, giant corporations, technology, American culture and on and on. Today it mass-produces id music: insipID and vapID.

But there was plenty of that kind of trite, pop fluff before MJ and Madonna and there has been after. It's just that now, in the information age, it produces even more lower common-denominator crap than ever before. Elvis was black music mass-marketed to whites. I don't blame Elvis and neither do many of the huge black performers of the day. It was what it was.

And we can definitively say this about MJ: regardless of his personal troubles, the racial divide that Holland-Dozier-Holland battered down in the 60's, he blew the rest of it away with extreme prejudice in the 70's and 80's. Music has that power.
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Postby keith from ny » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:03 pm

Hey Rob, I certainly didn't mean to place all the blame for crappy contemporary music on Jackson's shoulders. I just think he was the most visible and one of the most seminal influences on the current trend of trashy mindless dance pop. But I readily confess to being a music snob, and a bit of an old fogey as well.

I also have a somewhat different perspective regarding MJ's impact as a role model. He broke a lot of racial barriers in the entertainment world and his heart was certainly in the right place, but I have to suspect his personal aspiration to morph from a black man to a white woman following his initial success sent a pretty mixed message about racial pride to his African-American admirers.
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Postby sfboy » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:14 pm

YOu all might want to check this out...

Thanks Karen. You rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IE4a7iKZIk

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