We have people like Queen. Every note was thought out and nothing was incidental. No guitar riff was there without premeditation. To them music was not just joy, it was important. Then we had people like GnR, to whom music was fun. It was more important to make it sound good and yet it was heartfelt because they loved what they did. They loved having fun with their instruments, their voice, the notes.
And then there were some musicians who fell somewhere in between. To them music was a medium - a way to show their true selves, their ideas, and so it was important. And then again, they experimented with their music and played with it. Into such category was Michael Jackson. Irrespective of when he came to lime light, irrespective of which era he was born in, he was one of the greatest singer/writer/dancer - in short, performers. If the Moonwalk had been showcased in 2009, it would still become the rage. Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, Bad, Blood on the Dance Floor, etc would have been hits even today. Perhaps the videos would have been more cutting edge. No. Make that definitely more cutting edge than what we see now. MJ was known to push boundaries while making his videos. Perhaps modern day music videos would be totally different were he not there in the picture.
Unlike many modern day pop artists, music by Jackson was not dismiss-able. Whether one liked it or not, it was undeniable that there was a catch to it, which made it irrepressible. You could not forget a song once you'd heard it. The energy with which he sang was infectious. It is apparent just how much time he must have spent fine tuning a song before turning out the record. Exactly where the creak of the door should be heard and exactly when he should give on of his famous shouts was very well thought out. It was not a whim. At least, I refuse to believe that - they were all too well timed for that. He cared about his every move.
And then his dancing. There simply cant be a parallel. And it is not just about the moves. When he danced, he had a palpable aura of repressed energy. Like a man who is straining against the leashes, waiting to just break free yet reigning himself in and doing a few very difficult but very elegant dance moves. His moves were not just graceful, they were, and are, a delight to watch. His feet barely touched the ground, and his hands and body were almost-shaking, always, but not shaking. In a world where stage shows are common and talent springs up on every TV channel, it is rare to come across anyone as talented as him, as true a performer as him.
That slight man, terribly screwed up in his head by a lifetime of strife and troubles, made a place for himself all over the world, in every village of distant countries, in a time when there was no internet, and barely any television. Now thats talent. I shall not call him a star or a superstar. When Paris Hilton is a star, MJ does not deserve to be called one. For all his personal problems, to me he was, and is, an unmissable part of History of Music. He has given a couple of full generations hope in music, addiction to music videos and high expectations from their artists. I guess many wannabe stars would have had it easy if Michael Jackson had not made his appearance. For a man who was pushed into his career by his father at a very very early age, he did remarkably well.
Show me one person from my generation who has not at some time sat open-mouthed, idolising the man dancing and singing away on-screen. A few months ago I went through as many music videos of his as I could find on youtube with a frnd. And we wondered where the man had vanished. How bad he had it that a complete part of the world had forgotten his undeniable contribution to Music and Dance and Performance and instead cared only about his looks, his estate, his lawyers. MJ was not a media man. He was good at what his job was - making music. Not exactly a sweet talker to a talk show host.
Upon the news of his death, I was surprised, yet in a way relieved. Michael Jackson did not deserve to live as thoughtless and respect-less life as he had been living. For all his hard work, his fights for causes, and his talent, he had to give everything up, one by one. I never thought Ill write a Eulogy for him (for anyone in fact) but here I am, dedicating a whole post to Michael Jackson. The hearthrob of so many girls my generation and older and younger, and as many men. May his music be remembered, his dancing be remembered, and not the latter 25% of his life. One thing however, is for sure. With Michael Jackson, there has never been moderation. Super success and a Super downfall. The downfall was personal, the success touched everybody who cared to be touched. May the success be remembered. A frnd of mine mentioned had he died while performing, he would have been more legendary. I however think the man deserved a quiet respectable death, and he got it.