Monday, June 29, 2009

Music Video Monday: Michael Jackson

In honour of Michael Jackson, this week's music selection is a performance he gave in January 1993 for the President Clinton Inaugural Gala. I was hoping to find a music video tribute to Michael Jackson featuring his melancholy song "Gone Too Soon", but this performance will do. It shows Michael Jackson in the face we know best (before plastic surgery turned him into an unfortunate freakshow). This performance was among the last few before things turned really bad.

His Dangerous album was released in November 1991, but faced some competition with a surging Garth Brooks and the much anticipated new U2 sound. A year later, his album wasn't selling the numbers his record company had expected, so at the start of 1993, he began a big promotional push, which included singing at Clinton's inauguration activities and the halftime show at the Superbowl, and a much publicized appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. After all that occured, news hit with the allegations of sexual molestation of a boy he had befriended, and the rest is "HIStory." His career never truly recovered after that. Follow-up albums (1995's HIStory, which featured classic hits on disc one and new material on disc two, and 2001's Invincible) basically featured a lot of angry songs to get back at his "enemies." Gone was the fun-loving, happy Michael Jackson who knew how to laugh and loved to laugh. Though he did have a few good songs from both those CDs, the sound was essentially the same, like they had all been written in this Thriller days.

He was supposedly working on a new album (titled This Is It) along with a final series of concerts in London. Perhaps it was this pressure to be who he was at 25 that truly overworked his body and ended his life so early. He was 50 years old, for Christ's sake! Fans shouldn't expect him to be who he was at 25 or 35. I personally would have loved to have seen a complete makeover with a fresh new sound. But, it's not meant to be.

Now that he has passed, I am lifting my buying ban on Michael Jackson CDs and DVDs. After 1995, I refused to buy any of his stuff because I didn't want to support his lifestyle and possible inappropriate behaviour with children. This meant no DVDs of his awesome music videos or even his complilation CDs that featured some songs with his brothers that I liked. I was especially tempted to buy the 25th Anniversary edition of Thriller (featuring remakes of songs from that album with current recording stars of today), but I held off. Now, he's gone and his music lives on. Hopefully, "his" children will benefit from records sales. According to news reports, Michael Jackson has supposedly left over 200 songs for his children. I don't know if these are recorded or just written. If Michael recorded the songs, then we are in for quite a few CDs of new music over the next decade.

According to the news, itunes and saw sales spike on Michael Jackson music after his death was announced. Yesterday, I went to a couple places that sells CDs to get a copy of Dangerous on CD and was shocked that in both places, all Michael Jackson CDs were cleared out. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought the same thing this past weekend. All I have on CD are the Bad and Thriller albums. I haven't heard Dangerous in years and was looking forward to an evening of listening to the awesome songs on that underrated album.

About his children, I had forgotten that he had named both boys Prince Michael Jackson (the older one is 12 and the younger one, best known as "Blanket" who was held over a Berlin balcony, is 7). I did not know that he had named his daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Weird. Personally, I'd like someone to do a blood test on the three of them to determine who the real father is. I can't help but wonder if any of them ever thought their father was weird...or does growing up that way and living that life for their entire lives to this point made it "normal" to them? Boy are they all in for a rude awakening when they learn what "normal" really means!

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