Sunday, June 28, 2009

But was Michael Jackson any good?

Does Michael Jackson's music begin to justify the extraordinary degree of attention that has been paid to his death?

I think not.

He was clearly outstandingly talented as a boy, and next to the Osmonds the Jackson 5 sounded like the Amadeus Quartet. But they were pretty much in the Motown mainstream, and if you like late Motown then Stevie Wonder is greatly to be preferred.

I liked his Off the Wall album. It was at the time the best-selling album by a Black artist ever. And it showcased Michael Jackson as good-looking, stylish young Black man.

But after that something terrible happened to his music as well as to his face.

Thriller was simply not an album for grown ups. Aided by the rise of MTV and the pop video, Jackson's music was from then on aimed principally at children.

The former child star Mark Lester is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: "He always told me he wrote his songs for the age group of ten to 14."

It showed.

Certainly, it seems that those most affected by Michael Jackson's death are those who were children when Thriller came out.

Still, de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est, as they say on Radio 1.


Bernard Salmon said...

You know your saying that if you wait a bit someone else is going to write something you intended to? Well, I was thinking of doing a similar posting to this since Friday, but didn't get round to it. I agree that the Jackson Five were among the blandest of Motown acts. And I can also think of at least 20 groups and artistes who have made far more of a musical contribution than Jackson, including the likes of The Kinks, Blondie and the Bee Gees.

Paul Evans said...

I was one of those children who endlessly listened to my dad's vinyl as a child - but I disagree that it's not an adult album, it's playful, inventive and extraordinarily well produced, but not childlike in itself. And it may have been MTV aided, but it wasn't produced with MTV in mind (they had a real battle to get it in on the station).

Unknown said...

There are two words that are most important to me when remembering Michael Jackson:

Benevolent: "characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings"


Devine: "of superhuman or surpassing excellence"

In addition to his unique talents as a performer, I believe these characteristics will have the most lasting affect and move many future generations to hail him as godly.

We should all thank the lord for having blessed us with this blissful child that never grew up!


Anonymous said...

But was Michael Jackson any good?

No, like he told himself, he was bad. And therefore he is going to hell.

Sir Sven said...

It is pretty dismal that Buckingham Palace has nothing to say on it.

Oranjepan said...

As a big fan of Quincy Jones I'm loathe to criticise his magnus opus, or indeed any of the great trilogy he co-created.

However, without a performer of equal greatness to transmit the work to the audience I find it hard to believe any of them would have been as popular.

Over the past few days I've caught snippets from various bits and pieces and it is impossible to argue that Jackson was a fantastic dancer, innovative singer and employed tons of top-quality artists at all levels from choreography through to design and styling and recording.

So even if it isn't all to my taste it's still to be applauded, if only for all the other unrecognised talents which supported his headlining authorship of the work.

Paul Walter said...

On a matter of personal taste I liked "Off the wall" also, particularly "Don't stop til you get enough". After that, I didn't really like any of his tracks. (Some of late Jackson Five stuff like "Can you feel it" was great). Then I have never liked Madonna either.

I think you have to be objective and say that Thriller is, and always will be, the best selling album. Also, you have to bear in mind the live performances and video performances of Jackson.

Yes, I would be a lot more distraught if Stevie Wonder had an untimely end, and his oevre is far more deep and wide, but then again, I don't think Stevie Wonder, please God, is going to have an untimely end. Also I believe that Stevie Wonder has written a lot more of his own hits than Jackson who relied on someone in Cleethorpes for his best words often.

But you also need to look at this through the prism of the untimely death. Look at Elvis Presley. He did some great tracks at Sun and a few brilliant ones at RCA. He was then thrashed to death by Colonel Sanders making crap films and crap records and ate far to many marshmallow sandwiches than were good for him. He was however, at the time of his death, the biggest selling solo artist.

Then there was John Lennon. His death blew his whole life up into an enormous thing, but then again, in my humble opinion, he deserved it. So did George Harrison, whose death wasn't particularly earth shattering in its manner, so he got a bit of a soft landing.

But as they say, the Beatles are dying in the wrong order. Warf Warf.

If I might carry on at the risk of breaking some sort of word limit, it comes back to what my mother says. If you die at forty or fifty the church is full. If you die at ninety there are about two people at the funeral because everyone who remembers you has died.

Anonymous said...

I think Michael Jackson Is a very nice person have you seen any of his videos not MUSIC VIDEOS just reguler videos.I'm a BIG fan of Michael Jackson.He only went to jail cause a little boy said he was hurting him.If I was the boy who was said he was hurting me I would NOT tell on Michael.He was lying.Michael made some mistakes in his life but it does not mean he mean.We'll thanks for reading this comment bye...

Anonymous said...

I understand but Michael Jackson LOVED CHILDREN THO...