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Lunch » Tags » Celebrities » Reviews » Michael Jackson » User review

Love Him or Hate Him his Influence is Undeniable

  • Jul 3, 2009
Rating:
+5
Like most of the world, when I heard that Michael Jackson passed away, I was in disbelief.  Surely it must be a hoax, I thought.  Then the radio announced it (after they played Billie Jean) and I still coulnd't believe it.  Then his music videos and about a million specials played on television and I was STILL in disbelief.  

If there's one thing Michael Jackson has showed us for sure, it's that you never realize how much you miss someone until that someone is gone.  Before June 25, 2009 the lot of us probably weren't popping in a Michael Jackson CD.  In fact, some of us didn't really care where he was or what he was doing.  Turns out, he was actually preparing for his final set of concerts.  A tour which he called "This is It."  Some of us were probably making jokes about the man.  Either because he looked and sounded like a woman, or (as is often a favorite) about him and some little kid.  Then suddenly Michael passed away and before you knew it... you were probably finding yourself in shock.  A world without Michael Jackson?  Until the reality hit it was actually quite hard to imagine.  Who among us actually thought the King of Pop would pass so suddenly?  And at the tender age of 50?  Not very old at all.

Michael Jackson was born August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana.  At just the young age of five, Michael Jackson was starting a career of his own with his brothers as a part of the Jacksons (later known as The Jackson 5).  He became the lead singer, in part because he had such a good voice to sing with.  And as a member of the Jackson 5, Michael was adorable.  As many have speculated, though, Jackson often spent a lot of time singing and dancing with his brothers.  He was usually rehearsing for long streatches of time.  As a result he never really got to go and play with others.  Michael Jackson, for almost his entire life (or pretty much his entire life) was an entertainer.  It is Michael Jackson the entertainer that most of us got to know and love.  The entertainer that most of us grew up with or knew of in some way. 

1979 was when Jackson released his first solo album.  Off the Wall with Quincy Jones.  It was quite an album.  Even though it isn't his most popular album, nor has it sold the most, it is often labeled as his greatest work by fellow singers and songwriters.  Despite that, however, it never won an album of the year.  But it's the album that has songs like "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Rock With You," "She's Out of My Life," and other classics.  As usual, the album has a title song, and most times the title son is awesome.  This is no different with "Off the Wall."  It's one of the best tracks on the album.  The album itself is very good.  There isn't a single dud on it.

It was in December of 1982 when Jackson released Thriller that most of us came to know him.  It was because of Thriller that Jackson became the mega-huge star most of us know him as.  With this album, Michael Jackson would change the industry.  Despite Off the Wall being quite an effort and probably his best, Thriller has some of the most memorable songs and spawned some of the greatest music videos ever made.  Thriller, unquestionably, was Michael Jackson at his creative best.  With this album, Jackson showed us that Music videos were art.  "Billie Jean," which is probably the most popular song Michael Jackson ever made (it was still played regularly on the radio even before he passed away) was the first video to showcase some of Michael Jackson's awesome dance moves, as well as show us just how artful music videos can be.  While there have been many to make some great music videos, Michael Jackson's are still among the best.  It was just a masterful music video.  And he only went higher as he released videos for "Beat It" and "Thriller."  To this day, "Thriller" is still considered the greatest music video ever made.  But it isn't so much that as it is a good video.  It's a short film of sorts.  Yet perhaps what most of us remember from the video is the dazzling choreography.  And yet, despite the fact that you're watching a bunch of zombies dance, it's more entertaining than hilarious.  Most of us could probably enjoy the music video for the dancing alone.  And while those are perhaps his three best known songs from that album, Thriller went on to spawn seven singles total.  These include "Wanna Be Startin' Something," which is just a good song to jam out to, as well as other songs such as "The Girl is Mine" (which is arguably the weakest song on the album) "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" and "Human Nature."  Yet, no matter how you slice it, "Billie Jean," "Beat It" and "Thriller" are the most well remebered (though quite a few remember "Wanna Be Startin' Something").  Thriller solidified Jackson as a man of the eighties.  The album went on to become the bestselling album of all time worldwide.  It remained like that until Jackson's passing.  And will probaly stay there for decades to come.

I'd certainly love to go into his whole history, but we don't have too much time.  The album Bad came in 1987 and Dangerous followed in 1991.  While both albums never achieved the success of Thriller they are also among the bestselling albums in the world. 

Yet, there is another side of Jackson that most of us would come to know.  The controlversial side.  And it would begin sooner than most like to admit.  There was, of course, the color of his skin.  His skin got lighter and lighter.  In his last few years he was almost ghastly.  And there was also the idea of all those plastic surgeries.  While Jackson denied having that many, most of us couldn't help but think that no one would naturally morph before our very eyes the way Jackson did.  For the first half of his life, Michael Jackson was on top of the world.  At one point he was the most popular man in the world, amounted a vast fortune and pretty much had everything he ever wanted. 

If anyone's life could be described as a tragedy... it might well be Michael Jackson's.  He rose so high... only to fall.  The years following Thriller were his peak.  The years following Dangerous became a descent into more controversy after another.  When most of us heard the name Michael Jackson, it was often associated with controversial moments.  In fact, for the last half of his life most us can remember Michael for just about anything but his music.  The first, of course, was the allegation of child molestation, a dispute settled out of court.  And after that moment he went back to music, but even his talent seem affected by that.  His music seemed a bit angrier and grittier.  The HIStory album had two discs.  One filled with greatest hits and another filled with new material.  Despite selling well (though not well for Michael Jackson) it wasn't exactly a well remembered album.  Then in 1997 he came out with Blood on the Dance Floor which was merely just a remixed album of HIStory.  Again, an album that most fans don't usually bring up when talking about Jackson.  Blood on the Dance Floor, however, is far darker than anything Jackson ever did... before or after.  And there wasn't much after.

2001 saw Michael Jackson celebrate 30 years in show business as well as the release of his first album that had nothing but new material in ten years: Invincible.  It's great that it wasn't just some ego trip of an album, but it was most certainly not his best.  While it still sold well, it was considered a disappointment for Jackson.  

As time went on it was revealed that he lot of financial troubles as well, not to mention that the plastic surgery was really starting to show.  To make things even worse, in 2003 he was accused of child molestation again... and no one had forgotten about the first spat.  This time, it went to court.  Jackson was acquitted.  Regardless of what anyone thinks they know regarding Jackson and child molestation, the fact is that most of us don't know.  We can only speculate.  He wasn't convicted in either scenario, but many people always like to pass judgment.  In truth, however, none of us know.  All we can go on is what we see on television.  And since we weren't in that court room, I don't think we really know.

In his remaining years there would be even more criticism.  From that famous "Living with Michael Jackson," interview to other instances of contraversy.  Jackson, once the King of Pop, spent the last half of his life dethroned and unable to pull himself back up.

However, in spite of how far he'd fallen in the public eye, his music still continued to be some of the most popular and entertaining music around the world.  And while he became a walking joke in America, he was still far more respected and beloved in other countries.  In spite of what happened--the pastic surgeries and allegations of child molestation and financial problems--Jackson continued to draw an enormous crowds, and people still listened to his classic hits immensely.  As an entertainer he never really lost our interest.  It was that he garnered attention for other reasons in the second half of his life.

Most of us will only be able to remember Michael Jackson as that very entertainer.  The man who gave us "Thriller," and who could put on a hell of a show no matter what state he was in.  Michael Jackson became so synonomous with entertainment that I can't think of a single person who could separate what we heard about Jackson in his personal life from what we saw as an entertainer.  In fact, those moments where we saw Michael Jackson as a person are so few and far between they're almost non-existent.  And for most of us those moments were.  Jackson was in the public life so much we often forget he had a personal one.  

Within that second half of his life we all still remember the first half.  We all still remember the huge dent he made in the music industry and how he revolutionized the music video.  Despite his controversy, it's safe to say that Jackson left behind a legacy.  Almost any R&B artist you can name was influenced by Michael Jackson in some way, shape or form.

I spent a long time browsing Youtube for a video that I wanted to put in as a tribute to Michael Jackson's legacy.  I figure most people would probably put in Thriller or Billie Jean or something like that.  Instead I wanted to dump in the first moment that Michael Jackson moonwalked.  It became his signature dance move, and no one could do it better.



Michael Jackson
August 29, 1958--June 25, 2009

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July 03, 2009
Well said Sean. Michael might not have been the best man that ever lived, but there is no question about his contribution to entertainment. Very good review.
 
July 03, 2009
I was going to make a write up myself but yours just said it all. outstanding job, Sean! Despite the stuff he didn't or may have done, NO ONE should deny that he is an awesome entertainer... Let's not forget about Farrah...R.I.P.
 
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I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Died on June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson was unquestionably the biggest pop star of the '80s, and certainly one of the most popular recording artists of all time. In his prime, Jackson was an unstoppable juggernaut, possessed of all the tools to dominate the charts seemingly at will: an instantly identifiable voice, eye-popping dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and loads of sheer star power. His 1982 blockbuster Thriller became the biggest-selling album of all time (probably his best-known accomplishment), and he was the first black artist to find stardom on MTV, breaking down innumerable boundaries both for his race and for music video as an art form. Yet as Jackson's career began, very gradually, to descend from the dizzying heights of his peak years, most of the media's attention focused on his increasingly bizarre eccentricities; he was often depicted as an arrested man-child, completely sheltered from adult reality by a life spent in show business. The snickering turned to scandal in 1993, when Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy; although he categorically denied the charges, his out-of-court settlement failed to restore his tarnished image. He never quite escaped the stigma of those allegations, and while he continued to sell records at superstar-like levels, he didn't release them with enough frequency (or, many critics thought, inspiration) to once again become better known for his music than his private life. Whether as a pop ...

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Details

Filmography: Men in Black II, The Wiz
Nationality: American
Bands or Musical Groups: Jackson 5
Instruments: Vocals, piano, drums, beatbox, guitar
Genre: Pop
Debut: 1964
Country: United States
Birth Date: August 29, 1958
Birth Place: Gary, Indiana, USA
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 11"
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