Last night I was having dinner at Flat Top in the west loop (you know, the one right across the street from Oprah). For some odd reason, they decided to forgo their usual eclectic mix of music for one full album, beginning track to end. This is one CD that I actually own, but haven't listened to in quite a long time. The album playing that night was Dangerous. The memories that it brought back though are definitely worth reminiscing about. I started watching some of the videos and was reminded of a man that we all once loved, and all once admired. The King of Pop himself, Mr. Michael Jackson.
This is a man who once told stories.
I remember the first time I saw Thriller. I was five. I couldn't wait for the premier. I had been talking to my mother about it for weeks. The second those zombies popped up, I ran behind the couch and hid. I had nightmares for weeks, but I was completely mesmerized by the imagery, the story line, and that amazing dancing. You and I both know that anyone reading this has done the Thriller shuffle about as many times as they've brushed their teeth in the morning. It swept the nation (and still impacts us to this day).
The sad thing is though that what sweeps his reputation now is his outlandish, erratic behavior and a private life so thoroughly publicized. I do not condone any of what he has done. I do not judge him. But I miss him. I miss the story teller. I miss the performer. I miss the quality of music and lyrics like no other.
Because of this over-sensationalism of his personal life, we've all but forgotten about the amazing contributions he made to pop music. His full length videos told us stories about equality in our racial differences (Black or White), they pushed sexual boundaries and secrecy (In the Closet), and even took us all the way back to ancient Egypt (Remember the Time). There was never a dull moment. At the root of it all however, was wonderful music and amazing dancing.
These videos have withstood the test of time, as will MJ's unfortunate reputation. But it's good to reminisce about a love we all once shared. (Click on the links above for the videos mentioned)
And now, the full length video for Smooth Criminal from the Bad Album (9:36)
What I love most about this video is its' film noir feel and attention to detail. There is not one single feather out of place, no dance steps missed, and it is chock full of references to other videos and personal affects belonging to Michael Jackson. Be sure to watch it a second time and ignore him. Watch everything that is going on around him. You'll be amazed.