Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hello World!

I deliberated over where this entry was to go but it's going here.
In 2009 the specialty arm of Universal Music Group, Hip-O that do direct orders issued this unusual 3 cd set that actually is a coffee table book with enclosed music covering the early Motown era solo recordings Michael Jackson made.
What makes this desirable isn't just the lovely photos and the write up about his time at Motown as good as that is its the fact you get 6 solo albums of which two are currently unavailable anywhere in the world and the original versions of the tracks that came out in 1984 on the Farewell My Summer Love 1984 album in overdubbed form for the very first time.
There are contained across the cds a good many of his early solo hits  such as Ben, Got To Be There, With a Child's Heart, Morning Glow (a personal favourite owning the original '45), We're Almost There and One Day In Your Life, the last two coming from the 'forgotten' Dear Michael album of 1975 (and 'One Day' was a UK #1 single in 1981). The albums do hold up well despite their years as examples of quality 70's soul.
Amazon UK are currently offering this for less than £10 which is cheaper than a number of hairdressers I know charge for a hair do so if you don't have it snap this up while you can cos it's a  limited edition.

Michael in death as in his life remains a mixture of contradictions, intensively successful and yet seeming, lonesome with few true friends, impressively innovative for a period  but failing to respond to the rapid changes in black music from the late 80's onward.
For what it is worth, I feel he had an awful lot of the little boy very much in him which can be evidenced by his many animals that he bought as pets and most famously in the Neverland ranch that became his base and to which he sought to share with others in ways that from an 'adult' prospective may have seemed naive and at best easily misunderstood and ultimately caused him more harm.
The same naivety I feel lay behind the row about the initial lyrics for some of the songs on his Dangerous album of 1991 where he was trying to cop a pose without considering it's impact on the wider audience (and his was a much wider one that any Hip-hop artist). He just didn't see the problem with certain words.
This said I feel in the time since his death many have gotten over the 'Wacko Jacko' tag applied since the mid '90's and have rediscovered his very real abilities.
In some respects he never really 'grew up' being a kid-adult.

Recommended listening:
Jackson Five GOLD UK Motown - The band he was big part of in the beginning.
M Jackson Anthology Motown (1995) - a condensed history of Michael at Motown that sounds marvellous.
Off The Wall (1979) - The solo album that set the standard
Thriller - One of the of not THE biggest selling album in History it broke new ground mixing rock with Funk.
Bad - The last really innovative album by him.

1 comment:

  1. I have had "Thriller" (the song) in my head all day for some reason. Coincidentally, you have posted about Michael Jackson recently -- though I only just read it. :)

    I don't know for certain, of course, but I think Michael Jackson was a Little, before there were other Littles to pave the way. He was way too famous way too early in life, so he never had a real chance to be a child. I don't know how many of them are true, but there are lots of stories about how phobic he was of growing up and growing older: taking estrogen to prevent his voice from changing, sleeping in an oxygen tent to slow the aging process, all the plastic surgery to stay looking young (of course, many celebrities do that). And he created his own amusement park/zoo for himself and invited children to come share it with him.

    And again, there's no way for me to prove what I think, but I don't think he ever harmed any children. From what it seems like to me, he just wanted to be one of them, since he didn't get to be a child for long to begin with, but as you say, that was too easily misunderstood. I think he was what happens when you take away someone's childhood and give him huge bushels of money and lots of fame -- he wanted his childhood back and tried to recapture it in a lot of different ways, and under the public microscope he gradually started to look weirder and weirder.

    His talent for music and dance was undisputable, though. Nobody else will ever be called the King of Pop.