Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson in the Thriller video
Due to the nature of my job, it’s usually a few days after a huge event until I start to really reflect on it. This weekend I (along with probably a lot of other people on the planet) I’ve been thinking about Michael Jackson.

My mom reminded me that as a kid I really loved the “Thriller” video. I’m sure I loved it for roughly 50% music and 50% the awesomeness of the video. The song basically defined my Halloweens throughout childhood. There was something so dark and haunting about the video — yet it was a huge pop song.

My other childhood memory inspired by Michael Jackson was the video for “Beat It.” The setting for that video somehow inspired a reoccurring dream that haunted me throughout childhood. I’m not sure of the significance, but it’s definitely one of my top Michael Jackson memories.

Music-wise, I can’t deny that while I was never a huge fan of his music, I know a lot of the musicians I love were greatly inspired. From Justin Timberlake to Surkin to Don Diablo, not to mention all of the DJs I love who have remixed/sampled/used his work: Moby’s remix of “Beat It,” Boys Noize’s remix of “Beat It,” etc. etc. etc.

So where do I stand on my favorite Michael Jackson songs?

  1. “Thriller” (best remix: the recently-“released” Louis LaRouché remix)
  2. “Off The Wall” (best cover: Sébastien Léger)
  3. “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” (best sampled-by: Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music”)

It’s also worth noting how sci-fi/surreal Michael Jackson was. io9 looked at Michael Jackson’s Science Fictional Life, but really all you need to do is watch some of his videos (start with “Thriller” [zombies = sci-fi!] and “Leave Me Alone”).

And finally, for some of my previous thoughts on Michael Jackson, see my “Off The Wall” post from June 2005. If you don’t want to read it, I’ll leave you with what I think is the most important thing to remember when remembering Michael Jackson:

… Michael Jackson is a sexually ambiguous and racial ambiguous person. Of course he is going to be a target of criticism. If you ask someone what type of a person Michael Jackson is, 11 out of 10 people will say, “He’s a freak.” Of course he’s going to be a victim (yes, sorry for using this word) of accusations of the worst kind — he is an easy target. Since he blurs the boundaries of gender and race, which we tend to assume are static definitions, he makes people uncomfortable and therefore we need to continue kicking him down. …

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