Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Leave and Celebs Drop Like Flies

So, I had a great time overseas. Spain is one of the coolest, most beautiful countries I've seen. If you have the time and the means, I recommend going on a van tour. I didn't get to see Valencia like I wanted to, Sevilla is amazing and I was unable to get to most of the stadiums I wanted to. Just gives me an excuse to go back. More on Spain later.

The last day of my trip was marred with a bit of sadness. Michael Jackson passed away. I was unaware of his health problems, so it all came as quite a surprise to me. Yes, I'm like 2 weeks late here, but I was out of the country, give me a bit of a break. Jackson wasn't even in my top 20 favorite artists of all time. When Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash, two artists I hold far closer to my heart, left us, I was sad to the point of taking the day off work. However, I felt no need to revisit their entire catalogs and bludgeon myself to death aurally. Jackson was a different case, I felt the need to listen to his work again and remember funny things from childhood they accompany. I remember seeing him do the moonwalk on the stage at Motown 25, "Thriller" scarred the pants off me when I saw it as a kid, my cousins and I all, embarrassingly so, imitated the moves at my parents' wedding in 1985 and I will always remember the first conversation I had with my mom's new husband (my dad). I was sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table in Dukes of Hazard pajamas, listening to Thriller on a walkman and telling him how good it was. I think my mom or grandmother gave me cookies there at some point as well. It's sad he's gone, but probably some form of relief can be drawn here too. I'm not going to go into it, but a cloud can have a silver lining. At least he gave us some truly great music, videos and moves that will be remembered for a long time. I'll hold on to his work and champion Off the Wall, Thriller and much of his work with his brothers as I've done for as long as I can remember.

One thing, no matter how crass or ignorant, that I do want to say is this: Farrah Fawcett dying was sad, but Michael Jackson dying the same day saved her from a bunch of mindless exploitation. If I hear or read someone or something talking about, "Why couldn't Michael give her a day?" I'm going to scream. I say that with utmost respect to those who know and loved her work when she was doing it. I personally can't stand Charlie's Angels, Logan's Run is one god-awful shit fest of a movie, but somehow watchable, and Myra Breckinridge was just terrible. Of course the primate male in me finds her attractive in 'the poster', I can't lie about that. She meant a lot of things to a lot of people, that can't be denied. But the media overblowing Michael Jackson is a different than everyone coming out talking about how her contributions were under-appreciated. She was a central figure in one of the most dominating TV shows in the 70s, but that never really took her anywhere else. She will probably always be remembered for 'the poster'. I apologize if I offend anyone with these remarks, but it's just not a fair fight no matter how you slice it.

In closing, I'll be publishing a feature via mxdwn tomorrow about Jackson contributions to the music video. It's a long one, but I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting all his clips again. Please check it out.

My Jackson Faves:

10. Songs

1. "Billie Jean"
2. "I Want You Back" - The Jackson 5
3. "P.Y.T."
4. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
5. "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough"
6. "Can You Feel It" - The Jacksons
7. "We Are the World" - USA for Life
8. "Thriller"
9. "Remember the Time"
10. "Rock With You"

5. Albums

1. Off the Wall
2. ABC - The Jackson 5
3. Thriller
4. Dangerous
5. Bad

I'm not going to do a countdown for his videos because I feel the best way to see them is as one complete evolution rather than one being better than the other. If there's one I have to pick above all others it's "Smooth Criminal," but if you can find a way to watch everything from "Can You Feel It" up through the film Ghosts including Captain EO and Moonwalker, it's worth the time for both the aesthetic and entertainment value.