he could play

Michael Jackson was a real musician. He had talent out the ass. Amazing time, tone, phrasing, energy, and style, not to mention pitch, range, projection, and every other musical gift that a pop singer needs or wants.

He personified big budget mega stars. The musical world that he dominated so utterly was disappearing before his eyes. The new one demands warmer and more intimate personas, the opposite of his grandiose narcissism:

Michael Jackson -- HIStory

He was a joke.

He was a sentimental fraud. Songs like “We Are the World” are terrible rock bottom drech. You cannot suck worse.

At the end he was not as rich as he used to be.

He personified self-loathing.

But he was an untouchable musician. The guy could play.

13 thoughts on “he could play

  1. “The new one demands warmer and more intimate personas”

    I guess you’re right that the 80’s was the peak era for rock-god aloofness, and especially, when compared to the relationship between web-savvy musician today and their audience it is a new world – one in which a musician who made short movies about themselves as *savior* to entire civilizations would be incomprehensible – although, of all the things I think may be on the wane, I don’t that celebrity aloofness is in any real danger in world where having a Twitter account passes for “intimacy”

    but yea, fucking circus-freak joke is right.

    ftr, we don’t how much of “World” was him vs. Ritchie.

  2. “Fun is the new cool” –Little Boots

    Though obviously the intimacy she projects is as much an illusion as the bling that rappers usually project.

    Him vs Ritchie… Harsh choice. Reverse Sophie’s Choice — if you could rid the world of only one of MJ and Lionel Ritchie, and it’s 1988 or so, which would you allow to live?

  3. hey, I like LB – or, er, the 35 sec. of video I could sit through.

    ’88 was a particularly toxic time. For all the chops he had from the womb, seems it was all over by then. Put those two, + McCartney (and, god help me, Stevie) in the “wtf happened??” file.

  4. I remember being in a constant state of seething hatred for the pop. It was so profoundly awful.

    In retrospect all is always forgiven for a pop star. Once listening to them is optional you can keep their music out of the way until it fits the moment.

  5. easy there cowboy.
    “You cannot suck worse” …. really?

    I remember being a kid in New York and actually holding hands to show support and solidarity for Africa. Memorable.
    From Wikipedia : “Hands Across America was a project of USA for Africa. USA for Africa produced “We Are The World” and the combined revenues raised by both events raised almost $100 million dollars to fight famine in Africa and hunger and homelessness in the United States.”

    maybe I like cheese…

  6. In that Commodores video it’s weird to see a live drummer in a dance band. Feels like it was *before* the dawn of time.

    tim, I’ll be damned but I remember holding hands across the america too. What’s really inspiring is that if everybody in america just held hands with one another then there would be a hell of a cold going around. It would be better if things started out as Washing Your Hands Across America.

  7. well, I was thinking more of the sharing hands and contact aspect of the whole event. If everyone were washing their hands, it wouldn’t really create the human chain that they were going for…. but if everyone was washing other people’s hands, you could keep it clean and still have human contact across the country.
    Funny how people are scared of shaking or holding hands these days…
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/25/national-handshake-day-more-like-national-barricade-yourself-in-your-house-and-dont-go-outside-day/

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