Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thoughts on MJ

When I saw him do the moonwalk for the first time on TV in 1983, sitting in my living room with my parents in Ohio, I gasped. We all did. Everybody tried it at school the next day, EVERYBODY.

Now it's over and one of the big iconic American storylines of our lifetimes is officially written. So much like the Elvis story it's almost a Joseph Campbell archetype at this point. Uncanny talent. Innocence lost. The self-made prison. Money, high walls, the weirdness, then the curdling darkness. Marries Elvis's daughter! Multiple personas, story lines, periods, myths, rumors, faces, all constantly at odds till the images of the man escape the man entirely, leaving a wretch, a ghost, a bad dream. Felt like he died before he actually died. What remains are his songs, which are like pure charisma captured in sound. They're cultural bedrock now. Feels like a cord to the past was cut today.

The New York Times has a poll asking readers to pick their favorite of MJ's No. 1 hits. In the comments section I said this: "'Rock With You' splits the difference between the innocent years and the evolving adult incarnation of MJ. There's a sweetness to it, pre-weird, romantic, yet still has the sharp, ultra-tight Quincy Jones production that let's MJ's quirky funk angles poke through. Makes me miss him."

Rock With You - Michael Jackson


Lefty said...

Perhaps other members of this blog would like to say something on this subject.

Frankie Lee said...

I didn't know you lived in Ohio when you were a kid.

Django West said...

I like the focus on Rock With You. I think Off the Wall is the most interesting LP he did. My friend Dylan and I used to have a drink and a smoke and listen to it on Friday nights in 1993. It's a good record every time.