Must We?

Thriller sucked.

137 Comments

Yes, we must. And in honor of em-jay, you should let us post pictures and videos in this thread. Such as. For the children.

Gravatar sucks.

ADD: Um. No. It’s me.

Imagine the armies of people who are going to appear now with stories about how MJ raped them when they were 3-year-0ld boys. It’s gonna get weird.

Let the Emmanuel Lewis jokes commence.

And Sharpton is giving a press conference on MJ – who the fuck is he?

Annals of Discomfort: Keef’s anchoring live coverage on MSNBC.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t decided whether to forgive Quincy Jones.

@nojo: Don’t. He wrote some crazy bullshit I was forced to scream every morning in Black Power Summer Camp.

Can anybody name ten good MJ songs? I’ll be generous and allow “Thriller.”

How quickly can Michael Eric Dyson lose my respect? I’ve clocked it at two minutes.

@nojo:

Human Nature (shut it)
Ben (ahem)
uhhhhh…am I allowed to Google? Just for titles.

@nojo: Well, they were catchy and you could dance to them.

Jr’s 1st girlfriend is in the “Black or White” video the morphing part. Her brother is in Pink’s “Get this Party Started.”

@JNOV sing sin: For comparison, can you name every track on “Innervisions”?

@Mistress Cynica: You are generous! Human Nature has this part that gave me goosebumps.

@nojo: Jackson could not carry Stevie’s gym bag.

I loved Billie Jean, PYT & Smooth Criminal. I’m sure there’s others that will come to me.

Honestly–and unsurprisingly to you all, I’m sure–I’m more of a Janet fan.

Give me Nasty anytime, anyday.

Breaking: Fans placing flowers on Michael Jackson’s star.

Only it’s the star for radio host Michael Jackson.

The real MJ star is covered by a red carpet right now.

For the premiere of Bruno.

Thank you, Lord.

Oooh oooh! And Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.

One of the greatest disco songs of all time, no question!

Correction — she’s dancing on the steps for a nanosecond in BorW.

This is her brother: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BMIJka7iZM

1:09

More comparative catalogs: Prince.

But I doubt Prince and Stevie will get the Sinatra-level coverage I’m seeing.

@JNOV sing sin: Human Nature is AWESOME. @Original Andrew: And so is Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.

Rock With You is also a decent song.

@nojo: Good LORD! I’m glad I don’t live off Hollywood Blvd anymore!

@RomeGirl: I do like Rock with You. Was gonna add it but got all scared of nojo’s jazziness.

@nojo: It’s almost enough to make one believe in a higher power/karma/justice or something.

@JNOV sing sin:

Control was like the first album I ever bought (no surprises there, right?).

I must’ve worn out the tape listening to Control, Nasty, What Have You Done For Me Lately, The Pleasure Principle, When I Think of You, You Can Be Mine, and so forth.

Ah, such wonderful memories!

I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

OMG WANNA BE STARTING SOMETHING! Cheerleading song of the ages!

I hope you realize that the coverage will be as omnipresent as that of Ronald Reagan’s funeral. This will be Gerald Ford awful. It will take them forever to get him into the ground. This is going to make the James Brown episode seem like a 15 minute informercial. I may have to hide in the bathroom.

@Dodgerblue: I understand Nojo’s cynicism, and agree with you on lil Stevie, but I’ve already confessed my lurv of the young Michael…he’s raising the roof on “Rockin’ Robin” (Tito ain’t half bad, either).

@nojo: Prince is like Keith Richards, a survivor, Jackson like Elvis.

@JNOV sing sin:

O.M.F.G.

I found the complete, original version of the video for Control.

LUUUUUUUUUUUVVVVV IIIIIIITTTTT!!!!

@blogenfreude: And I spent the day in a media cave today, only to emerge to this madness. I would have been happy with La Chalupa’s videos.

@Original Andrew: That’s when Paula Abdul found some rhythm for Janet. She did not dance much in “Fame.” For good reason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrZoa3MPINU

OMG — I knew most of these moves. Robot Cabbage Patch, hand thingy. Jesus.

I loved 3:35 (thought is was artsy)

@blogenfreude: This will be Gerald Ford awful.

It already is. Keef was just talking to an Access Hollywood hack, and Hack is amazed how quickly the news spread around the world.

Via Twitter and Facebook.

He didn’t make the obvious comparison. And I’m not sure he would know to make it.

A beautiful dancer who invented a whole new way of moving.

Note to self: You try growing up under that kind of pressure and see how well you do.

@blogenfreude: Meh. We’ve moved on to Miss Janet if You’re Nasty.

“See Tr. pp. 316-320.”

– That’s what I’m doing right now.

@Original Andrew: Watching now. I did skip the key earring thing. Thought it might stretch out my earlobes. God.

@JNOV sing sin:

I swear that I will do every single one of those Control dance moves with you on command.

Name the time and the place ; )

After all the love that we’ve been through…

@Original Andrew: Backflip? Cuz I don’t have the backflip.

Did he still own the Beatles catalog, or did he sell that off to pay for the lawyers?

@Original Andrew: GOOD LORD! She wanted to move to Westwood! I werked there!

@Original Andrew: And WHY did she get werk on her nose? Boo!

Oh, and I do like “Ben.” But only because I really liked “Willard”. Ernest Borgnine made me cry.

@JNOV sing sin:

I’ll probably break something, but hayll yes, I’ll attempt the back flip, too!!

@JNOV sing sin:

Watching Nasty now.

Can’t tell you how many times that exact same thing happened to me at the movies.

For the record, Cronkite’s safe: Ed McMahon and Farrah.

@Original Andrew: Okay. Best Dance Music Ever!

GO!

(Please give links)

@Original Andrew:

I’ve got my own mind.
Gonna make my own decisions…

She smiles a lot in that video. :-D

My knees can’t take the dancing, but I’m singing my heart out.

@Original Andrew: Okay — last Control comment: It’s a shame they overdressed her cuz she was, oh, shaped like a woman, and made her run around and dance like mad.

Man in the Mirror
Thriller
Be Startin’ Somethin’
Off the Wall
The Way You Make Me Feel
Beat It
Billie Jean
Ebony and Ivory
Black or White
She’s Out of My Life

He was very talented, Nojo. Which is the only reason I am holding back all the delicious, delicious snark that is bubbling up like sarcastic crude from my sick brain….

@Original Andrew: Haha! Paula!

ADD: THE SNAKE! And another backflip. Think that’s really her?

@Original Andrew: Rhythm Nation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk7i_EPxTlY

ADD: And all that vogueing is PRE Madonho and borrowed form the AWESOME NYC drag queens.

@Benedick:

Imagine being looked at, all the time, scrutinized and hunted, every day, no matter what you did…

@nojo:

His fans are another story altogether. Have you seen this?

It is totally fucked up to post that now, but what the hell.

I used to work out to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiWB6S4YfOM

(Don’t worry — the meds will kick in soon.)

@Tommmcatt doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene: He was very talented, a possible pedophile, a lunatic and worthy of mocking on many levels. Let loose the hounds!

And the only one who seems kind of sane, Rebbie.

And know that I’m all 80sfied, The Diva. Original video

ADD

Ain’t Nobody.

Last Chaka thing — I have her hair.

He lasted what, 16 years longer than Elvis? Career trajectory similar, too. And I bet the autopsy lab results reveal similar prescription drug patterns, too. Poor soul. Fame devours many of those who seek it, or have it forced upon. At least, our societies version of fame.

Sad thing is he was the last gasp of Rand B and soul, along maybe with Prince, both melted down in the late 80s, and I am sorry, black culture’s musical inventions and contributions to popular culture devolved to gangsta rap and the glorification of misogynistic thuggery.

I blame Reagan.

@blogenfreude: I’m already dreading it. I know he was talented, I know he had a dreadful childhood and all kinds of problems, but I just can’t bring myself to care that he’s dead. There, I said it.

@Mistress Cynica: I feel no shame whatsoever — especially in the face of wall-to-wall cable coverage. He had a moment in the Eighties, and since then his reign over pop culture has had nothing to do with his music.

What is it we’re mourning here? The loss of go-to punchlines?

@Promnight: Seriously?

Let’s see how long I can fight the Xanax…

@Tommmcatt doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene: Couldn’t agree more. In years to come, when the dust has settled, the MJ story – how he turned from an amazing black kid who could really dance and really sing ( the top of his voice was something) – into a white denatured Disney royal person – anyhow it will be quite a story. And very instructive about what race and class meant here in his time.

@nojo: We’re mourning our youth, darling.

@Promnight: Ray J, Aliyah, Donnell Jones, Queen Latifah, Monie (Moan-ee) Love, MC Lyte, Beastie boys (since MCA went Buddhist), Jill Scott, Beyonce, Mos Def, Black Eyed Peas, Teena Marie…

ADD: Justin Timberlake(!) MISSY ELLIOTT!! R&B is alive and well.

Ludacris (just saw Crash last night). His music, meh.

Where is Mark Lisanti when you need him? Oh, on Twitter:

It’s hard to be too sad about Michael Jackson knowing that his bones will be so proudly displayed in the foyer of God’s Neverland.

Thank you, Mark, for not letting your afternoon tryst with Michael Bay’s latest blow-shit-up epic interfere with your responsibilities.

@Benedick: But Zappa’s already dead. And Jim Henson, for that matter.

Breaking: Post Office announces Black Michael and White Michael stamps.

@JNOV sing sin: Re: Luda, I think he got it right with “Runaway Love.” (Of course, with Mary J. Blige backing you up, it’s hard not to.)

nojo sez: “For the record, Cronkite’s safe: Ed McMahon and Farrah.”

Seriously — I just got home from a nightish out with friends, and Keef is on with his glasses in the newsroom, in shirtsleeves with no jacket. The only thing missing was him taking off his glasses dejectedly and looking up at the clock.

[That comparison does a real big favor to Keef. Yes. Carry on.]

And then you’ve got people taking hip hop and R&B all sorts of new ways. It’s not Bollywood, Benedick, but it’s so lovely.

Crowds outside UCLA hospital demand recount.

@mellbell: Tens times better than Runaway Train! Yes, and I left out Ms. Blige.

Oh, and who can forget Mike Myers rendered speechless?

That dude there, Promnight, he’s a little full of himself, but he raps about blood diamonds and such.

@nojo: Dude, we do need to compare birth certificates.
@Promnight: Prince is still a genius, a beautiful morph of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. Unhinged, sure, but as I said above, he’s a survivor who still cranks out an incredible amount of great stuff.
@nojo: He bought the publishing rights to what was owned by Northern Lights, which included almost all of the Beatles catalogue (a handful of the early ones like “Love Me Do” pre-dated Northern Lights). Not sure if he sold those rights, but Lennon-McCartney as songwriters never really lost their royalty rights (which is serious change, obvs), and they must have had enough control to do all of the re-mastering and new releases that will culminate with the 9/9/9 release of their entire catalogue in re-mastered digital.

Now Lennon’s death I mourned deeply. Jackson? Just allows reflection on good gone bad.

Tony Blair calls Obama, advises him to address nation before matters get out of hand.

Brazil scores in the 87th minute!

My main memory of him was the premiere of his long-form “Black Or White” video. It was after the Simpsons one night on Fox — built up with unbelievable hype. My sister and I were basically slackedjawed, and then laughing eventually, stunned at how silly it was.

nojo: John Thune (R – S.D.) calls on Obama to stand up for the people, vocally and immediately. (He’s been kind of out of the loop on the whole Iran thing. Now is his chance!)

@chicago bureau: College buddy of mine joined MTV in the early years as an accountant. I visited him in Manhattan and he showed me “Billy Jean” before it had aired. Catchy, I thought. Then we watched some Hendrix video from Monterrey that had never been seen, and it was a good night.

Nabisco: Yeah, yeah. Beating Spain was nice. Our ass-kicking from Brazil (a repeat performance, yet) is surely in the mail.

@chicago bureau: Keef’s been non-stop since 8 Eastern (probably at least 7, since I tuned in late). Interview count includes two lawyers so far.

But since I have the Comedy Central East feed, time to switch over to some real entertainment for the next hour.

JNOV, I am ignorant, for sure. Yes, there is vitality and good in the black music scene, but I am old and don’t listen to pop anymore, I will remember that my opinion is completeley uninformed.

Rap and hip hop have cast a shadow, for me, I just viscerally recoil.

Though I have often noticed that it is precisely the same thing Twain described in the bragging contest among the riverboatmen, in Huck Finn.

@Nabisco: Ugh. They are going to slaughter the U.S. ‘Meriken men.

@nojo: He was batshit crazy and molested little kids but before he totally lost his shit he was an amazing musician who was a trailblazer. And while listening to some of the songs replayed on the radio and videos played on MTV (videos played on MTV? That hasn’t happened since 1989!) I realized that he really was a big part of my youth. First album I ever bought, etc. So it’s sad to see all that talent ultimately crash down into weirdness.

That said, I’ll certainly go there with the snark.

Yeah, I must. Understanding all that he became in the last twenty years of his life, I still cried listening to Billie Jean and Remember the Time on the drive from my office to the bar convention this afternoon.

It’s not really so much about him as it is about lost innocence. With all his money and fame, no matter what he did, he never got it back. We never will either.

@Mistress Cynica: Oh great. The Patrtridge Family now? Point me in the direction of Albuquerque.

/off to shake martini.

@Tommmcatt doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene: Hey ‘Catt, this T 10 is pretty good.

@redmanlaw: If Danny Bonaduce kicks, this site shuts down for a day.

(Add: Albuquerque? Dude, I couldn’t pull that out of me arse, and I have the album.)

All this stuff, Michael Jackson, Janet etc. is just disco cabaret, ephemeral dance crap. There is more musicality and mastery in the 8 bar bridge of Dionne Warwick’s ‘Alfie’ than the entire catalog of Janet and Michael. Hopefully, satan is taking a monster crap on Michael’s face right now after a nice feast of rancid bar-be-que of hounds-of-hell meat. . .

@Jamie Sommers: Exactly. This. I felt like a total fucking moron this evening when I got choked up hearing “I Want You Back” followed by “Off the Wall” on the radio this evening, but damn. Even my cold black coal nub of a heart softened for a minute of two for the memory of the boy he was before the plastic surgery and craziness and the girl I once was before the cynicism and craziness and Republican regime.

@nojo: “If Danny Bonaduce kicks, this site shuts down for a day.”

Well, fuck yeah. It’s the least we could do.

@SanFranLefty: Some of the Jackson 5 stuff worked. Sinatra or Annie Lenox could have sung ‘I’ll Be There’ and it would have just worked.

@SanFranLefty: It doesn’t help that Farrah passed the same day. Even now, I want a white Ford Mustang Cobra, I don’t give a shit what Consumer Reports says.

@nojo: It’s gonna have to. It’ll take forever to round up transvestite hookers in tribute.

@FlyingChainSaw: I guess I’m too old to have ever been interested in his music. Seemed like glossy, overproduced pop stuff to me. You want somebody who can write songs, try Stevie Wonder or Lucinda Williams.

@Jamie Sommers: Jon & Kate picked the wrong week to make a spectacle of breaking up.

@nojo: Or Sanford, Fawcett and Jackson picked the right week to overshadow insipid reality stars.

@Jamie Sommers: Good point.

@Dodgerblue: To be fair (moi?), Billie Jean was a mesmerizing video when it came out, even if everyone was joking about how unlikely it was that Michael Jackson would find himself in that situation. But the Thriller video was very stiff, very overrated.

The album itself — yes, I have it — is full of pap filler. And that includes PYT and Tell Her That It’s Human Nature.

Nothing wrong with overproduced pop as such — plenty of classic examples from the 60s. But if you’re gonna lure me with hooks, make them sharp.

@Dodgerblue: I agree Stevie and Lucinda are the bombs in the writing and singing categories, but if you want to talk about songwriting, and not fall back on stale Dylan cliches, let’s talk about some of the poetry that comes out from singer/songwriters like Tracy Chapman, Lyle Lovett, Bruce Springsteen, and Pete Townsend.

@FlyingChainSaw: Annie Lennox could sing the Minneapolis phone book and it would be beautiful. Not to take away from her by saying that, but she has amazing pipes and pitch and range and could be singing Hungarian funeral dirges and we would weep. Or at least I would weep.

“Smooth Criminal” – the way the kids like it now (cover by Alien Ant Farm). Son of RML otherwise has no point of reference for MJ.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDeFYDk8atg

@Tommmcatt doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene: Yep. Mrs RML pointed out that it’s like Cap Rock (but way less expensive).

/sip

@redmanlaw: Loved it — got tooooo much airplay, but still love it.

ADD: Couldn’t even escape it in Cairo…

@SanFranLefty: Oh, yes, she is very competent. I remember, traveling somewhere, there was a clip of a Lord of the Rings sound track rehearsal and she was in one sequence, standing behind a stand, sight-reading the chart, “Into the West” I think, and every few bars glancing up at the conductor, just another kid in the band in her sneakers at work. Nice to see someone like that just be a ready and competent ensemble player, given the complete bizarreness of vocal performance that is portrayed in shows like American Idol. I had one young lady assisting with some projects who was an operatic soprano, written up for modern opera performances in the NYT. Fearless as a performer but also extraordinarily hard working, really a band kid who had started out on baritone horn in junior high, jumped to choir and began serious study of voice only at the end of high school, receiving her undergrad in voice performance and finally mastering at a conservatory you know about. I remember attending one of her recitals, a sequence of songs based on Neruda poems and being moved from sorrow to quaking fear to confusion to revulsion to ecstatic shock in a handful of songs. The place, chockablock with her contemporaries, went nuts. I always remember that performance when I pass by a TV with American Idol on it, featuring yet another narcissistic bar room belter being jeered at by the halfwit judges.

@redmanlaw: Right, even she couldn’t make it sound that bad.

@Dodgerblue: Quincy Jones knew what he was doing and played to Jackson’s strengths. The heavy production obscured the fact that Jackson actually had a very limited range as a musician. In a very real way, Jackson was invented by Quincy Jones.

@FlyingChainSaw: You can’t compare a vocal artist with pop singers. It’s like comparing movie stars with actors. Or pop songs with real music. I remember when I was acting in a Gershwin musical – filled with some of their best songs – and having a bad time personally the music was worthless in terms of offering any kind of sustenance. One had to go to real music for that. In my case Britten or Handel.

And re the MJ fuss (I would never buy any of his records but that wasn’t really the point: he was an artifact of his time), I remember when Presley (another artifact of his time with a ‘voice’ so limited it was hardly more than pub singing: but quite a good actor in the early movies) died my father raged for days about all the hoopla, asking where was everyone when Ellington died? That is some of the best American music written in the 20th cent – whether by him or Billy Strayhorn is/isn’t relevant – and his death was barely mentioned in passing.

NYC is full of brilliantly talented people who can’t, for one reason or another, get a hearing. And then the riches of the earth are laid at the feet of one who has some kind of trick that catches the imagination of the time. Whether he or she is worthy is hardly the point. Some are. Some, however, are not. Madonna is famous in the business for not being able to sing two notes in tune. Does anybody care?

@Benedick: Oh, I wasn’t making a comparison, just in narrative illustrating the ‘riches of the earth’ rewards that accrue to the comparatively incompetent phenomenon you pointed out. The point is that the culture has allowed people to become incapable of understanding why they should care if their performers can sing in tune – or to understand why they should have any aesthetic sensibility at all, or a sense that they are responsible for cultivating it on their own. It wasn’t so long ago that you could pick up a popular record and enjoy fine performances by talented, studied musicians and, yes, it was Top 40 stuff.

@Benedick: True story, and apropos of nothing more than a reference to Presley dying? First time I had teh sex was in the night before we learned Elvis died. Fumbling, inexperienced and very very brief, but memorable because it was our first mutual infatuation, and because Elvis gave us an eternal marker.

When I visited Graceland a decade or so later, I thanked him for that.

@FlyingChainSaw: My idea of heaven is playing guitar in a big band led by Q. Nothing fancy, just the Freddie Green kind of thing (with Count Basie). Maybe Joe Williams out in front. “I’m going to Chicago, sorry but I can’t take you . . . .”

@Nabisco: That’s right though, isn’t it? that’s what those figures are about. They act as markers for the rest of us.

@FlyingChainSaw: I didn’t think you were making comparisons, I was agreeing with you.

There are still wonderful musicians working in studios in NYC and LA. The styles of the front wo/man have changed but not much else has. I find rap as corny and old-fashioned as Lawrence Welk. But that’s just me. In a funny way there are almost more performers today with even more formidable technique than in the past. The kids trained at NYU musical theatre school are phenomenal. They can do anything. What they’re gonna do with all that technique is another matter. I’d rather die than be in something like Shrek and I can’t sing like they can. And I’m not actually devoted to musical theatre I just don’t know the opera or concert world. There is a tiny overlap but it’s usually from musical theatre to concert. Singers, for the most part, can’t do the talking thing. It blows out their pipes because they don’t know how to mix talking with singing. Plus, they’re appalled at the prospect of 8 times a week.

Meantime I do listen to Caetano Veloso among others. And I’m not surprised that it’s all Michael all the time today and probably for a few days more. What really surprised me was the hoohah over Diana. That totally mystified me and does so still.

@Dodgerblue: I grew up with jazz. Used to go see the Basie band and Ellington in London when I was a kid. I wanted to be Philly Joe Jones when I grew up.

@Dodgerblue: You ever play any of Bucky Pizzarelli’s stuff?

@FlyingChainSaw: Play, in sense of put on a CD. Don’t confuse me with someone with real musical talent.

MJ update from the local fishwrap:

The top Los Angeles Police Department official on the Michael Jackson case says police so far have no information that Jackson was injected with Demerol or other painkillers — an allegation that has been widely reported in Britain and the United States.

Claims that Jackson collapsed after an injection of painkillers “are coming from outside the investigation,” said Lt. Gregg Strenk, head of the LAPD’s Homicide Special Section 1, which is assigned to the Jackson case.

Strenk confirmed that his detectives were searching for Jackson’s physician, standard procedure when investigating a death of unknown causes. Law enforcement sources have identified the physician as Conrad Murray.

The doctor, Strenk said, would be questioned about Jackson’s medical condition and any treatment the physician was administering. He would also be asked to sign the death certificate if it were determined that the death was related to some condition for which he had been treating Jackson.

Strenk said detectives were not searching for anyone else in relation to Jackson’s death.

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