MJ

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Flavium’s post on Michael Jackson below is a perspective I hadn’t really thought about, expecially the comment on gang violence.

There are two things that come to my mind with Michael Jackson.  First, he had passed into that room in my head that won’t allow a view to him as an entertainer anymore.  He joins Woody Allen, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Roman Polanski and a few others whose performance is lost on me, simply because I can’t keep from thinking about their screwy life.  “Breaking Mimesis” as they used to say in the IF world, that moment when you suddenly realize you’re not following a story but rather watching a film.  When there is a boom mike above that actor sobbing his heart out, and a whole film crew surrounding him.

Second, before the freakiness, he was one of the performers who made me realize that music is completely about what you like, not what you hate. Sure, when I was a kid I blathered on about how “disco sucks!” and how I hated Michael Jackson and country music.  But at some point I realized that the people who liked that music were getting the same good vibe as I did when I listened to Harry Nilsson, or Dave Matthews, or Jimi Hendrix.  I don’t have to like what they like to be glad for them when they get that smile on their face.  And once I stepped back from that childish attitude, I began to appreciate some great musicians in that mix.  I don’t really like country to this day, but I can hear the talent.  I never would have bought a Barry Manilow record growing up, but the guy is incredibly talented and his jazz recordings are great.  Same for Paul Anka.  His standards aren’t really my thing, but two of my favorite pieces are his covers of  Oasis’ “Wonderwall” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.  It didn’t seem to me that he did them as novelties or because someone talked him into it against his better judgement.  He really brought something to his interpretation.  To be honest, I like them much better than the originals.  And when I was 18, I would never have given them the first listen.

Bottom line: “Thriller” may be one of the best albums ever, and MJ made me like it.  But I can’t listen to it any longer.  But that’s my loss, and I’m glad Flavium still feels the same way he did 20 years ago when he first heard it…

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