Michael Jackson: Classic or Dud?

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Okay, for many the undisputed "King of Pop" but I don't recall him being mentioned much here. He had many hit singles but I sometimes feel that his legendary status often outshone the quality of his work. What do you people think?

james e l, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

'beat it' is great, obviously

as an aside. i love it, when, in 'earth song', he suddenly shouts 'what about the elephants!?', as though he just remembered about the elephants. he's really upset about the environment and that, and then, all of a sudden, there's the elephants, and its like the final straw...

gareth, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Thriller was, commercially speaking, a bigger success than Off The Wall. However I do prefer the latter. For those two records alone I would rate him classic.

Stevie Nixed, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Michael Jackson is clearly a classic. I'm trying to think of an overall bad album from him and the only one that comes close is _HIStory_, which isn't so much bad as it is ordinary. Pretty much all of his up-tempo singles are great (exlcuding "Black Or White", maybe) and a surprising number of his ballads work, too. Add on top of that the fact that in real life he's such a freakshow that punks and anarchists everywhere shuld curl up and die with envy, and there's really no question.

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Dud, Dud, and thrice fucking Dud. THRILLER has aged more like milk than like wine. Why are people so afraid to admit that his work is well under par? The sky won't fall. The man's best days are well behind him, and he's become a freakish parody of himself. HIS MUSIC IS NOT TIMELESS. Perhaps brief moments of the Jackson Five have earned their place in rock history, and indeed there were handfulls of decent moments circa OFF THE WALL and THRILLER, but let's face facts....they were isolated moments of disposable pop...and not even classic pop at that. He has done precious little in the past fifteen years to sustain his reign o'er all things pop (given his SELF-proclaimed status as the "king of pop"...what an asshole move that was!). The man's a narcissitic creep...why do we reward him? And I'm not even going to mention those allegations of child molestation. I think Jarvis Cocker of Pulp should be fucking KNIGHTED for his brilliant piss-take a few years ago. At least Pulp make listenable records that age well. FUCK MICHAEL JACKSON...and JANET TOO for that matter. May they all rot.

alex in nyc, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Alex:

I would hate to live in your parallel universe of horrifically-dated Michael Jackson songs. Personally, I'm happy here in my world surrounded by "Rock With You", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", "She's Out Of My Life", "Billie Jean", "Wanna be Startin' Somethin'", "Human Nature", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Smooth Criminal", "Liberian Girl", "Leave Me Alone", "Dirty Diana", "Jam", "Remember The Time", "Who Is It?", "Why You Wanna Trip On Me?", "Scream", and "You Are Not Alone". I'm also glad that, in my world, an artist doesn't have to have a good song out right now to be considered a classic.

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Anyone named Jackson should be considered classic for the opening of "ABC" alone. Even Latoya.

The solo stuff... Oh my god. So many great songs. He's certainly one of the few artists who can claim to have touched that many people emotionally.

Keiko, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

With all due respect, Dan, I stand by every single syllable I typed. Are you seriously defending embarassing piffle like "Dirty Diana", "Scream" and "Jam"? We're going to have to agree to vehemently disagree on this one. My problem isn't with Jackson's back catalogue as much as it is with his insistence on *MAINTAINING* a "throne" he had precious little right to claim as his own in the first place. His time has passed. And once again, his sister Janet is crap too.

alex in nyc, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

And two more happy souls dance down Agree To Disagree Boulevard.

I can almost see how "Dirty Diana" could be considered embarassing, but "Jam" is pure rockin' fun and "Scream" may be simplistic sermonizing but DAMN does it make me want to shake my booty.

I will not rise to the obvious Janet-fan baiting. :)

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

My brother and I always sing "What about the elephants? Have we lost their trust" as "What about the elephants? Have we got their tusks?"

Always a source of fun, MJ. Often of late that fun has not been musical but I would probably enjoy his greatest hits a lot more than I'd guess just reading the tracklist. Just for "Thriller" though he'd be a classic.

Tom, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

In my world "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" merits a classic on its own. That song is SOOO over-the-top good. Disco's finest moment, for me. Then tack on another 6 or 7 great songs and this one is a no brainer.

Mark, Tuesday, 24 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Gentech post-racial ubermensch synthpop pierrot, we salute thee!

Jarvis v Jackson: a heterosexual harrassing a homosexual in public and getting lots of right on people's applause for it. Something a little worrying there, no?

Momus, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Do we know Michael is homosexual (exclusively?) Do we know Jarvis is heterosexual (exclusively?). The really annoying thing about that as I once (foolishly) said on a Pulp newsgroup is that "Earth Song" is a better record than "Disco 2000".

Tom, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

For the music: Dud of course. Sorry gotta go with Alex here. Never liked him, but thanks to the zillion times you still hear the music everywhere it all becomes utterly meaningless.

For the social, aesthetic, philosophical, satirical implications of the Man, the Myth: classic.

Omar, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I have to disagree with Alex about the Jarvis incident. Jacko's performance lifted the whole evening from the sorry spectacle of a Britpop backslapping contest into something fantastic. Silly, yes! Preposterous, pompous - you bet! But when Jarvis got up on stage it instantly showed up the Britpop scene as small-time indie losers.

Classic for that. Classic for Billie Jean. Classic for being bonkers.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Along with Tom, I wonder *exactly* where Nick got his information about the sexuality of MJ and Jarvis. I suspect it's a little more complicated than that.

And, for Nick's information, "right-on" people like myself were on Jarvis's side because Jackson, that night, was arrogant and offensive in his presentation of himself as a godlike figure, and of course his proximity to young children would always have seemed creepy anyway. But I'd concur with Tom in that large parts of MJ's back catalogue are classic, as is the man and the myth as a whole, though a lot of the "Dangerous" era now sounds like really embarrassing clock-chasing.

Robin Carmody, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

and nobody's even mentioned the Macca duet "Say Say Say" yet! Are you all quite deaf?

Jarvis hardly confirms to the stereotypical check-shirted homo- baiting jock image does he? It was boorish behaviour, but I'm sure that something other than sex-hatred was on his mind when he stormed the stage. Quite what was, I'm not sure, other than a dislike of bombast.

Peter, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I suspect Jarvis was just drunk. The event has gone down in history as being about 'keeping it real'. But I'd have thought Jarvis of all people would appreciate the splendid fakeness of pop.

Jackson is a shining example of how pop performers can extend this fakeness into the realm of their own identities. Seen in this light, the incident was a culture clash between UK and US values on the question of the mutability of identity. The US, a nation of immigrants and self-made people, has always been more Nietzschean about this.

It was also, ironically, a man who lived in a monarchy attacking a citizen of a revolutionary republic because he'd been enough of an upstart to grab the title 'king' for himself, rather than leave it to Prince Charles or whoever.

If we attacked every performer who's ever styled himself 'Earl' or 'Duke' or 'King' we'd end up harrassing half the black jazz and pop greats.

Momus, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

wow! if only Roland Barthes was still around he could make a little essay on the subject for his next mythologies volume. "The texture of the hooligan"

Peter, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Momus, I do believe you're overthinking this. Jackson was "dangerously" close to being smothered by his own deluded behemoth of an ego until Jarvis healthily took the wind out of his sails (actually, was Jackson even aware of Jarvis' actions at the time of the event?) Based on the way Jackson carries himself and his overall conduct, I'd say it's fairly clear that he *BELIEVES* his own hype, and definetely suffers from messianic delusions.

Regarding Nick's allegations that it had something to do with homophobia, I believe you're projecting your own preconceptions onto this episode.

alex in nyc, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I would like to publicly retract my defense of Michael Jackson on the basis of this article. Absolutely nothing forgives extended the shelf life of Limp Bizkit.

Classic for the past music, but now I hate him with the burning fury of a supernova.

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Alex: A world without the odd messianic delusion would be a pretty dull place, don't you think?

Momus, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Might we expect Jarvo to flash his arse at Jaz Coleman next?

Tom, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Point taken, Momus, but I prefer my Deluded Messiahs to have a bit more substance, merit and meat to their work. If you're going to cast yourself in the image of a deity or even a monarch, you best have something more to say than "Mamma Say Mamma Sah Ma Ma Coo Sa!", "Billie Jean is Not My Lover" and/or "What about the Elephants!"

alex in nyc, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Don't think I didn't notice that one, Tom! JAZ IS WATCHING!

alex in nyc, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Do real monarchs have nothing to prove, whereas pop pretenders have to justify every quirk? Why has Jarvis never thrown eggs at Prince Charles?

The next King Of Britain says stuff like 'Modern architecture is a hideous carbunkle' and 'Genetic engineering is an affront to the Creator'.The American King Of Pop builds Neverland and performs genetic experiments on monkeys and himself while grabbing his crotch and singing about 'keeping it in the closet'.

I know who gets my vote, er, sorry, constitutional allegiance.

Momus, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Nick: I'm not denying the value of self-created personae, I'm not into "keeping it real" and the irony is that my attitude to such things is far more American than British. I just thought Jackson's performance that night was obnoxious and deeply offensive and therefore Jarvis had every right to do what he did. I also find it hard to imagine Nick idolising Tim Westwood, who is at least as much a self-created persona, though maybe I'm wrong.

Robin Carmody, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Possibly oversimplifying, but I think part of the reason Michael J can be such a compelling figure to some (if not to all) is that he can trip out and do all these very strange to himself and with himself without us having to do it. Slow-motion catharsis, perhaps.

Musically, my radio-drenched youth would have been poorer without him. But frankly, over the long term I think Janet ended up kicking his butt.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 25 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think that what Jackson was doing that night was naff, to say the least, and Cocker's response was equally naff. As bad as each other, in a way.

the pinefox, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

just who the hell does michael jackson think he is? that night at the brits jarvis was just doing what every other person wanted to do... jesus, michael was looking as though he was some sort of god attached to the crucifix. sorry for the digression from his music, but that is too shite to talk about anyway. do you not think though that all popstars seem to acquire this celebrity status above and beyond their actual musical ability? take the spice girls for example. Can any of them sing? are they anywhere near as talented as say, radiohead? But who will be remembered in years to come? Exactly. Nuff said.

jane r, Tuesday, 1 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

use other words please

ethan, Tuesday, 1 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people who can make up such false unsubstantiated statements and still seem to keep some glimmer of a conscience. *Michael Jackson gay??? I mean who cares anyway, but ROTFL... no way. For HOW long has he been in the media spotlight? Don't you think it would have become apparent by now... oh and whats that?... Michael Jackson has been married twice and has two kids to his second wife!!!! *The 'self proclaimed' King of Pop? *sigh* If you had done your homework you would actually find that it was Elizabeth Taylor who coined that phrase, and the fans stuck with it. *...and another thing, isn't it amazing how many people can pull apart MJ and say his songs mean nothing and aren't timeless... but they know the names of the albums and the songs... and are such classics that they are used as covers by other artists... and they go down in history pretty successfully also... OFF THE WALL (1978) - 14 million copies THRILLER (1982) - Still the world's best selling album of all time with 52 million copies sold to date. BAD (1987) - With more than 25 million copies sold, Bad became the second biggest selling album of all time. DANGEROUS (1991) - With 26 million album sales HISTORY (1995) The best-selling double album of all time with 14 million sales - the equivalent of 28 million discs. BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR (1997) - The best selling remix album of all time with five million copies sold

Kylie, Saturday, 17 August 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Classic. if michael is the most famous person of all time, there MUST a reason. Surgery ? Music ? Dance ? Video ? Talent ? Beauty ? Singing ? Perfect shows ? Kindness ? Generosity ? All of those ones ? Maybe...

sansselorus, Wednesday, 21 August 2002 17:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

And he's a Grecian now. Classic.

Tim (Tim), Thursday, 22 August 2002 10:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
Clearly, he's a classic. His songs have staying power, period. I defy you to find a song that gets people moving better than "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" or "Billie Jean." "Who Is It", "Stranger In Moscow" and "They Don't Care About Us" are three of the best songs to come out of the 90s, too. Even his new charity anthem (that Sony squashed), "What More Can I Give" in undeniably catchy. The man is a genius and anyone who fails to recognize this is just deluding themselves.

Josie, Monday, 28 October 2002 06:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I have "Rock With You", "Beat It", "Don't Stop Till Get Enough", and "Billy Jean" on non-stop repeat. Anything after 1987 = DUD.

Dan I., Monday, 28 October 2002 08:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
CD80 'portable' MJ go!

I Want You Back
A.B.C.
The Love You Save
I'll Be There
I Wanna Be Where You Are
We Got a Good Thing Goin'
Shoo Be Do Be Do Da Day
Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Don't Stop Til You Get Enough
Rock With You
Off the Wall
Workin' Day and Night
Billie Jean
Wanna Be Startin' Something
P.Y.T.
Thrilller
Bad
The Way You Make Me Feel

(80:54 - chronological, It was difficult to cut "Dancing Machine" since it really shows the midpoint of his voice change. I know there are a lot of great latter day tracks missing here that would be good on a MJ solo stuff only disc).

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Friday, 7 November 2003 22:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was gonna say! This list is seriously missing some "Smooth Criminal"/"Who Is It?"/"Remember The Time"/"Scream"/"You Are Not Alone"/"They Don't Care About Us" action.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Friday, 7 November 2003 22:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Classic, obviously.

Shaun (shaun), Friday, 7 November 2003 22:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

classic
i only got around to getting some michael jackson albums recently...
i wish the video version of thriller was on the album though,its much much better

robin (robin), Friday, 7 November 2003 22:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

God he sucks now.

Mr. Snrub, Saturday, 8 November 2003 04:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

He's always sucked.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 8 November 2003 04:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

madam you go too far!

stevem (blueski), Saturday, 8 November 2003 13:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Absolute classic.

HIStory and Dangerous are ridiculously underrated. Sure, they're a big departure from Off The Wall and Thriller, but they sounded distinctive and considerably more courageous than a lot of other pop pap out at the time. Forget Black Or White or the execrable Childhood, listen to Jam, She Drives Me Wild, In The Closet, Who Is It, Scream, They Don't Care About Us, Money, Tabloid Junkie, 2Bad, HIStory, even the remix album had high-calibre tracks like Morphine and Ghosts, and none of these sounded remotely like anything else on pop radio at the time. I happen to think they sounded mighty funky.

The most recent album is a total dud though, mostly because (apart from 2000 Watts) it's full of songs that sound like they really really care about being hits, and really really want to sound like all the other songs that have been hits recently. For the first time ever it is Michael Jackson trying desperately to sound like something other than himself, and it fails miserably.

Almost everything else is CLASSIC, CLASSIC, CLASSIC.

syntaxfree, Saturday, 8 November 2003 14:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I liked him better when he was a cartoon.

Brandon Welch (Brandon Welch), Saturday, 8 November 2003 15:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Jackson Five anno 1970 and his 1979-87 solo output is classic, classic and nothing but classic. No denying that, even though he is a weirdo and the quality of his output has dropped considerably lately.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 November 2003 01:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Stranger In Moscow, Scream and Money are the keepers for me off of History. I'd add They Don't Care About Us, but the "jew me/screw me/kick me/kike me" stuff is pretty rank.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Sunday, 9 November 2003 01:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Stranger In Moscow" is definitely a strong track. However, I feel like the general quality of his 90s material was a bit below par (better than most of his latest album though)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 November 2003 03:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't hate his music.
True, for the most part, nothing else sounded anything like it.
But it's boring, guys.
Just dull, watered-down stuff that was already being done better, by other people.

Even Off The Wall and Thriller are just PRETTY GOOD despite getting the collective nod from most sides as being the over-exposed weirdo's golden era.

But he's a hands-down classic for his legacy as a freakshow media juggernaut alone, ongoing as it is into it's fourth goddam decade!

Whoever saw such a public spectacle than this ageing, trans-racial, trans-gendered, trans-humanist effigy - shyly, yet boldly parading himself through the media hoisted upon his own shoulders?!?

Stephen Stockwell (Stephen Stockwell), Sunday, 9 November 2003 09:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Let me take a wild guess - you are about 22 years old or younger. Am I correct?

Broheems (diamond), Sunday, 9 November 2003 10:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hi

waht, I am true black metal worrior (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:48 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh hey.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:50 (one month ago) Permalink

pomenitul otm

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:52 (one month ago) Permalink

wait Neanderthal is Alex in NYC?!? how was I unaware of this

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:52 (one month ago) Permalink

Lol i am not

waht, I am true black metal worrior (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:53 (one month ago) Permalink

I couldnt fill those shoes if i wanted to

waht, I am true black metal worrior (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:53 (one month ago) Permalink

haha ok nm

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:55 (one month ago) Permalink

gr8 b8 m8, as they say.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 16:58 (one month ago) Permalink

I miss Alex in NYC.

MJ has always been a talented dud—no more, no less. The fact that critical institutions have canonized him in the wake of poptimism's Orwellian victory is a blight upon the musical landscape.

usually professionals will notify your relativs after you've been Baker Acted.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Omg

waht, I am true black metal worrior (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:02 (one month ago) Permalink

Seriously, though, I never got into the Killing Joke but I always enjoyed Alex in NYC's curmudgeonly contributions. At least he tried to uphold some basic standards, which is an infinitely more interesting approach than the "it's all subjective anyway except when it gets political in which case Anglo-American pop music rulez all lol" circlejerk that so much of musical discourse has devolved into in the past, say, 15 years.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:03 (one month ago) Permalink

From 2001:

For the music: Dud of course. Sorry gotta go with Alex here. Never liked him, but thanks to the zillion times you still hear the music everywhere it all becomes utterly meaningless.

For the social, aesthetic, philosophical, satirical implications of the Man, the Myth: classic.

― Omar, Tuesday, April 24, 2001 8:00 PM (fifteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Now here's a position I can actually respect, because it does what so few are still capable of nowadays: it dissociates the celebrity from his music.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:07 (one month ago) Permalink

The impression you are currently giving off is that you only respect opinions you agree with.

ornate orchestral arrangements (DJP), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:08 (one month ago) Permalink

Now here's a position I can actually respect, because it does what so few are still capable of nowadays: it dissociates the celebrity from his music.

― pomenitul,

You are talking an awful lot of shit for someone who hasn't read what people have written about his music.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:09 (one month ago) Permalink

Liking MJ, much like liking Beyoncé, is no longer an 'opinion' in 2017. It's a requirement.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:10 (one month ago) Permalink

show us your draft card

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:10 (one month ago) Permalink

You are talking an awful lot of shit for someone who hasn't read what people have written about his music.

― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, March 1, 2017 12:09 PM (forty seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

There are better ways to waste one's time.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:10 (one month ago) Permalink

show us your draft card

― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, March 1, 2017 12:10 PM (twelve seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

First off, I'm not American. Second off, assuming you're at all serious, thank you for exemplifying the attitude I'm denouncing here.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:12 (one month ago) Permalink

well, you step into a thread annoucing with the clarity of the addled that MJ is a talented dud and imply that admirers are bedazzled by his celebrity – I'm sorry your feet are hurt from getting stepped on

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:14 (one month ago) Permalink

I quite like it when others prove my point, so please, no need to apologize.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:16 (one month ago) Permalink

this is like watching a tetherball match where one dude wraps the ball around the pole every time and the other guy curiously insists he's the winner

waht, I am true black metal worrior (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:18 (one month ago) Permalink

paedophile

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:21 (one month ago) Permalink

I would think my opinions about MJ are well known around here but if not... he's got some good tunes up through Off the Wall, p much everything after that I have no interest in. I'm not impressed/engaged by his singing style, tics or mannerisms, the lyrical subject matter, the melodies, the production or really anything at all, and so much of it is over-exposed to the point that I actively never want to hear it again. Like Star Wars, over the course of my lifetime my reaction has progressed from infatuation to active loathing, due in no small part to the religious fervor surrounding his celebrity and the constant drumbeat of "YOU MUST LIKE THIS" from all corners. But setting that circus aside and focusing on the material itself, imo his discography is middling - some early on highs (ABC, I Want You Back, Dancing Machine, I Want to Rock With You, etc.) followed by a preponderance of ridiculous, silly and depressing lows, and it's maybe telling that the majority of stuff I do like all predates his assuming full control of his music; the quality of the input from collaborators like the Motown machine and Quincy Jones is undeniable, I have no reservations about attributing a lot of the things I like in MJ's music to people other than MJ. Generally I don't find his singing engaging, esp not as he got older and it primarily alternated between scat-exclamatory-nonsense and his paper-thin tenor. Post-QJ I don't care for his taste in drum and synth sounds at all, everything way too thin and glossy. And most of the time I don't care at all what he's singing about, about his trials and tribulations as a tortured man-boy fantasist just dgaf.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:39 (one month ago) Permalink

Οὖτις otm

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 17:59 (one month ago) Permalink

salthigh, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 18:12 (one month ago) Permalink

probably mentioned upthread but John Jeremiah Sullivan's MJ essay is great
http://www.gq.com/story/michael-jackson-john-jeremiah-sullivan-tribute

niels, Saturday, 11 March 2017 20:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Ok, for one thing

The fact that critical institutions have canonized him in the wake of poptimism's Orwellian victory

Lol no. Off the Wall and Thriller, at least, have been in the canon since well before I started reading music criticism in the mid-90s.

Futuristic Bow Wow (thewufs), Saturday, 11 March 2017 21:25 (one month ago) Permalink

Of course taste and all but I guess someone who doesn't find any joy and pleasure in anything he did, at least, from "I want you back" to "lady in my Life" simply doesn't enjoy the same things in music as I do.

AlXTC from Paris, Saturday, 11 March 2017 21:32 (one month ago) Permalink

nobody has to like anything obv but the idea that anybody who likes...you know...music recorded in recording studios that isn't Estrus/In the Red style live-to-tape stuff...wouldn't find Thriller absolutely breathtaking strictly from an engineering standpoint...is pretty weird

it's a lot like Steely Dan or Fleetwood Mac. you ain't gotta like it, but if that doesn't sound amazing to you, I'm a little curious about your aesthetic priorities, because from a mixing standpoint alone, Thriller is a total masterpiece. the chord walkdown after the chorus of "Human Nature," sure that's fucking breathtaking and there's a reason jazz acts started covering it immediately as soon as the album hit the streets, but who knows, maybe Quincy Jones at the peak of his game isn't your thing. but the production on Thriller? gtfo w/any take other than "of course that's great"

though the tempest rages, (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 12 March 2017 02:25 (one month ago) Permalink

love the demo recording of "Human Nature" by Steve Porcaro. imagining Quincy Jones listening to it for the first time and getting the lightbulb over his head.

example (crüt), Sunday, 12 March 2017 02:29 (one month ago) Permalink

the walkdown with the alternating major and minor 7ths is missing from the porcaro demo, which is kind of shocking, because for me & for people I've talked to about it that's the hallelujah moment, just so lush

though the tempest rages, (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 12 March 2017 02:53 (one month ago) Permalink

Quincy Jones' whole crew were fusion guys, not just Toto but Louis Johnson, Ndugu Chancler, Greg Philliganes. That's one reason why Thriller plays like the pure-pop realization of Earth Wind & Fire's late 70s run. I doubt Maurice White ever got $800,000 and 10 months of studio time to make a record. He didn't have Bruce Swedien, either.

Futuristic Bow Wow (thewufs), Sunday, 12 March 2017 04:00 (one month ago) Permalink

That's not to take away anything from those great EWF records or suggest they're anything less than fully realized, btw.

Futuristic Bow Wow (thewufs), Sunday, 12 March 2017 04:01 (one month ago) Permalink

oh yeah but I totally hear you. EWF is one of my favorite bands of all time and their records are perfect, but Bruce Swedien breathes rare air. His work with Rufus, some of the best-sounding music anywhere ever. put that guy on an EWF record and something magic would happen, I don't doubt.

though the tempest rages, (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 12 March 2017 04:05 (one month ago) Permalink

nobody has to like anything obv but the idea that anybody who likes...you know...music recorded in recording studios that isn't Estrus/In the Red style live-to-tape stuff...wouldn't find Thriller absolutely breathtaking strictly from an engineering standpoint...is pretty weird

Whatever Mr. I-Hate-The-Beach-Boys. I could say the same thing to you about Pet Sounds. We just prefer different emotionally crippled manchild schticks.

Οὖτις, Sunday, 12 March 2017 05:09 (one month ago) Permalink

I am a massive fan of both the Beach Boys and Michael Jackson, for whatever it's worth.

Futuristic Bow Wow (thewufs), Sunday, 12 March 2017 05:49 (one month ago) Permalink

And I don't begrudge anyone for their personal revulsion towards MJ given what we know or have reason to suspect about the man. But I also don't think it has fuck-all to do with the music itself. Lyrics are another matter, probably.

Futuristic Bow Wow (thewufs), Sunday, 12 March 2017 05:55 (one month ago) Permalink

some people dont like slick music, big deal. beach boys / pet sounds is total Estrus style in-the-red production, come on now

a but (brimstead), Sunday, 12 March 2017 19:56 (one month ago) Permalink

e just prefer different...schticks

I think I've explained several times that there's something timbrally going on in the BB harmonies that has always, since childhood, made me feel physically ill, so no, this isn't about giving a fuck about any "narratives." it's just about sound. (I also don't like the songs the Beach Boys write, lyrically or musically, so I struggle to listen to the production afforded to the songs I don't like, lyrics I don't like, and the weird dog's-ear thing that happens when they do the soaring-sliding thing and I always feel like I'm going to vomit)

though the tempest rages, (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 14 March 2017 03:56 (one month ago) Permalink

i appreciate the Beach Boys but i'm kinda the same way. and ugh i'm a giant Cubs fan but JCLC do you remember the song i believe the BB remade as a Cubs jingle? they'd play it on every WGN radio broadcast and it made me want to die.

nomar, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 04:04 (one month ago) Permalink

Barbara Ann...I think that was the one they redid.

nomar, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 04:05 (one month ago) Permalink

beach boys prolly diddled waayy more kids than MJ

sleepingbag, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 05:04 (one month ago) Permalink

And I don't begrudge anyone for their personal revulsion towards MJ given what we know or have reason to suspect about the man. But I also don't think it has fuck-all to do with the music itself

Would you say the same thing about Gary Glitter?

heaven parker (anagram), Tuesday, 14 March 2017 09:56 (one month ago) Permalink

so I struggle to listen to the production afforded to the songs I don't like, lyrics I don't like, and the weird dog's-ear thing that happens when they do the soaring-sliding thing and I always feel like I'm going to vomit
)
cool, we reach. you *do* get why I don't care about post-OTW MJ after all (although swap out "soaring-sliding thing" for "bowchicka-ah-jamawnit-cha")

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 15:19 (one month ago) Permalink

beach boys prolly diddled waayy more kids than MJ

this is a weird thing to say but I guess it hinges on how you define "kids"

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 15:20 (one month ago) Permalink

lol at ppl pretending that not enjoying anything mj did after off the wall is somehow an iconoclastic opinion

dyl, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 16:45 (one month ago) Permalink

or the fiction that liking beyoncé is now a requirement under the new authoritarian state of music criticism. i guess getting ppl like this is the inevitable side effect of having so many polls based on the 'acclaimedmusic' trashheap

dyl, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 16:47 (one month ago) Permalink

#allgenresmatter

nomar, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 16:50 (one month ago) Permalink

Please explain, dyl.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 17:01 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

here's my rambling take on Michael in the disco era, looking his underrated (imo) work leading up to Thriller plus a peek at the pre-MTV music video "scene"

https://medium.com/@markcoleman57/dancing-with-michael-jackson-remembering-music-video-before-mtv-a0c18b063581"> https://medium.com/@markcoleman57/dancing-with-michael-jackson-remembering-music-video-before-mtv-a0c18b063581

Dogshit Critic (m coleman), Friday, 21 April 2017 17:17 (one week ago) Permalink


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