Posts Tagged ‘Music’

As you probably heard, Michael Jackson died yesterday. The proclaimed “King of Pop” suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be revived. Flowers and memorials crowd the Hollywood Walk of Fame near his star and headlines around the world pay him tribute.

But why all the fuss? I liked Thriller, too, but let’s face it, Michael Jackson was a mess. The biggest surprise, for me, was that he didn’t die on an operating table getting yet another cosmetic surgery of some kind. For the last decade or so he’s looked like death warmed over and, I don’t care what his fans say, there was something inherently wrong with him.

I never wished him harm, and certainly never wished him dead, but I honestly don’t think it’s that great of a loss. He recorded some good songs and… Well that’s really all I can come up with on the “pro” side of things. As for the “con” side, well, that’s a little easier, isn’t it? He was so emotionally and psychologically unstable that he bleached his skin, had numerous cosmetic surgeries on his lips and face, and changed his nose more than a Mr. Potato Head toy. He was implicated in molestation cases, endangered his own son by dangling him over a balcony railing, and perhaps worst of all, married Lisa Marie Presley.

If not for his singing career, if he were just a “normal” man wandering the streets of say Topeka, Kansas, he would likely have been institutionalized. I’m sure a lot of people called him a freak, a pedophile, maybe even an abomination … but whatever your thoughts, it is clear that he had serious issues. And it was perhaps his very stardom that kept him from getting the medical treatment he needed. He was too accepted, too revered, his sometimes grotesque eccentricities too quickly disregarded. The news reported that Michael Jackson had recently passed a thorough physical in preparation for his planned tour, but when was the last time he passed a thorough rundown with an objective psychiatrist? When did he last speak with a psychologist or therapist who wasn’t star-struck or paid to not make waves? Never, I would venture. I don’t think he could have spoken truthfully to any decent medical professional in the last thirty years and not been hospitalized or committed.

And now he’s dead. His heart stopped. And, you know, it’s probably better for him that the CPR didn’t work, that the hospital couldn’t revive him. He’s been killing himself for years anyway. If anything, it’s probably overdue. But maybe wherever he ends up will finally satisfy him, comfort him, and he’ll find peace without screaming crowds and flashing cameras.

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I’m somewhat ashamed to admit I watch VH1 JumpStart almost every morning as I get ready for work.   I find it much more invigorating to roll out of bed to than, say, the weather or local news (both of which I often find depressing and more likely to make me want to stay in bed).   And since I don’t own a radio anymore (my last was donated to my employer so we could have tunes to work by) VH1 is the next best thing.   Some of my favorite vids on repeat include the following:

“Chasing Pavements”  —  Adele  —  a beautiful song about the choices we make in life and where they ultimately lead us, and one of the more remarkable videos I’ve seen in a while.  I was really blown away the first time I saw it, not only by Adele’s pipes but by the innovative ideas behind the video and how beautifully executed they were.  Interpretive dance lying down, mixing shadow partners with real ones, all backed with beautiful lyrics.  The premise is quite simple –- a very honest question of ‘where do I go from here?’ –- but the results are so much more intricate and interesting.  This was my introduction to Adele, a British songstress, but I hope we hear a lot more from her; she has a great voice and obvious songwriting talent.

“I Kissed a Girl”  —  Katy Perry  —  let your liberal streak run wild and forget the hullabaloo about girl-on-girl action, this is pop song perfection: it’s catchy, it’s memorable, and it’s both totally irrelevant and irreverent.  Perfect.  The imagery in the video is beautiful (think burlesque, not Debbie Does Dallas) and compliments the frank but playful nature of the song.  It’s not to be taken very seriously -– this is hardly an overt declaration of lesbian love –- but is meant to push some buttons because that’s half the fun.  Dig it, baby.  I know you secretly know the words; crank Miss Kate and belt it out with her just for the hell of it.

“Viva la Vida”  —  Coldplay  —  okay, despite the cheesy video bordering on painfully awkward at points, I really like this song.  I’ve liked Coldplay since I first heard them and think they just get more interesting with time.  In the lyrics I love the imagery of a fallen king (“I used to rule the world…”); I mean, who hasn’t felt that jolt of euphoric power at least once in their life.  But I think my favorite part is the betrayal (“It was never an honest world…”), the loss of innocence, the painful awakening.  As alluded to in the song, I think it’s amazing how we define our lives by those we allow into it and how it shapes us when things turn unexpectedly.  It’s a very good song; just close your eyes when the music video comes on.  🙂

My “honorable mentions” for this list include the newest metal-rific release from Metallica, “The Day That Never Comes,” as well as the loose, beachy tune “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.  M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” Pink’s “So What,” and Rihanna’s graphically gorgeous “Disturbia” also come extremely high on my list.  It may not be the best line-up I’ve ever heard but it sure beats New Kids on the Block.  (Sorry if you’re a fan.  I hated them in the 80’s and I don’t like them any better now.)

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