Band: Michael Jackson
Album: Dangerous
Best song: “Remember the Time” still holds up pretty well.
Worst song: “Dangerous” isn’t all that good.

This isn’t a particularly timely blog, by any stretch of the imagination, but I made the mistake of doing another write on Meat Puppets II, before realizing that I’d already written it. That was dumb.

Anyway, I’ve already done a bit of writing on the now-deceased King of Pop. Jackson had three albums on the Rolling Stone list and all three are classics.

I saw somewhere that Generation X lost two of its icons yesterday, but Farrah Fawcett — who died of anal cancer, which is really rare — isn’t much of an icon for people of my age. She was a face — and a hint of a nipple shaft — on a poster that occupied the background scenes of That ’70s Show and other such post-modern media. Michael Jackson, for better or for worse, was in our consciousness for our entire lives.

Thriller came out when I was just over a year old and some of my earliest memories are of my parents showing it to me — my sister was a huge fan — and my being scared shitless as a toddler (it almost certainly fostered a love of zombies). Bad came out when I was six, with my sister and I imitating the dances. Dangerous came out when I was in late elementary school and I learned all the words to “Black or White” and the ill-fated Michael Jordan collaboration “Jam.” And that’s just the music.

Jackson’s presence later was entirely tabloid-based. The wheels came off — publicly, at least as I remember it — when the rumours started swirling about his sleeping in an oxygen chamber and his owning the Elephant Man’s bones. Then, the chimp. Then Neverland. Then, the children.

Dangerous isn’t anything of particular hateability, as an album. It holds up surprisingly well, though it does sound dated. “Jam” is ridiculous. “Why You Wanna Trip On Me” is horrific in its attempt at grabbing slang. “Give in To Me” is good, one of Jackson’s better late-era tracks. “In the Closet” is nice, though, it certainly brings up questions about Jackson’s public image.

“Black or White” is, after “Man in the Mirror,” Jackson’s most famous do-gooder track. It’s got a nice groove and a video that was revolutionary at the time — however stupid it’s turned out to look. “Remember the Time” is actually a really good song with a nice chorus and a sweet lyric. It’s one of Jackson’s better songs.

Make no mistake about it, Dangerous has Jackson running on creative fumes.

I was going to quote myself liberally about my feelings on the King of Pop, as I don’t totally disagree with anything I wrote 18 months ago about him. I have tremendous sympathy for Jackson. To play armchair psychologist, it seems like Jackson had no ability to relate to other adult human beings. He was a tiny adult from the time he got into show business, a shy kid who was babied his whole life. He was rich beyond his wildest dreams — though he died in debt — and was able to do anything he wanted, essentially.

I have this theory about famous people. Let’s call it the George Lucas theory. I’ve written about it before, but I wanted to write a little more about it here, in that it’s not just an artistic situation. Lucas is the meal ticket to everyone and he hasn’t heard “no” since 1983, but that’s all about his work. Lucas doesn’t appear to have tried to fight dogs or molest little girls or whatever.

Michael Jackson, at some point, was the meal ticket to so many people. When he thought it a good idea to build his own compound/theme park in 1988, no one told him not to do so. When he bought a chimp, no one told him not to do so. When he got all that plastic surgery, no one stopped him. When he get involved in a morphine addiction, no one told him no.

Here’s the question: Who could’ve done this? The sycophants and yes-men were, most assuredly, employed by Jackson or were benefitting from him. They would’ve lost their own income.

So, who? Jackson was so rich, he could certainly pay anyone for anything he wanted. He seems to have hired unscrupulous doctors to prescribe various painkillers to him later in life, it appears. He hired people to take him around the world to do these concerts with tons of fans screaming for him, not a one worried for his own safety.

Maybe his family could’ve helped him out, but what type of people are we talking about here? Janet is the most normal of the group and she’s clearly nuts. Jermaine, for Christ’s sakes, named his kid “Jermajesty.” This family is crazy.

I don’t know the answer; it appears that Michael Jackson never saw himself as strange or sought help for his wide variety of problems. No doubt, his foundation did a world of good. But, he should’ve, indeed, looked at the man in the mirror more often.

And, of course, for shits and giggles, here’s the worst concept involving Jackson:

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  • About Me

    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

    My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Gazette, The Atlantic, Sno-Cone and a bunch of defunct zines.

    You can contact me at rjgianfortune at gmail dot com.

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