It’s weird to find out that the “King of Pop” had passed away while I was watching a semi-dark Korean comedy at the IFC Center for the New York Asian Film Festival.
There was no real response from my end, I know just how much of an impact this out of the blue news will mean to people around the world. Sure, his “off the wall” antics and mediocre albums from the last almost two decades may have deteriorated his pop icon-ness. But that’s not to say just how much his aura has left a mark in history. The performance of “Billie Jean” in 1983, the coming together for “We Are The World” and his debut as a star with “ABC.” The hits are relentless and countless. He was a gifted performer and his natural vocal mastery was untouched.
With the news just coming in will soon have a gauge how much that mark will remain. Oddly, street interviews only seem to recall how Thriller was an impact on their lives. Maybe today’s youth will not recognize how much he was an influence on today’s pop icons such as Justin Timberlake, Akon, Kanye West, Usher and even across the planet in Korea’s Rain. I am sure that his touch has graced numerous artists that have come out of the recent nu-disco revival and record labels such as DFA. Indie pop acts such as Lykke Li and Little Boots all owe their roots to the “King of Pop.” Dancing? Let’s not even go there.
But alas, the “off the wall” antics that sent him into a reclusive figure for almost two decades may have tarnished his legend. Only time will tell.
Lastly, I’d like to take the time to comment about my favorite album. The realization for this was recent. A few months ago Michael Jackson was playing in the background at a venue in the Lower East Side. Everyone song delivered perfect blends of disco, funk and pop. The tracks playing were from Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall. Sure, everyone knows Thriller and Bad. But as a solo artist, Off The Wall really displayed Michael Jackson’s gifts in the forefront. His work with Quincy Jones highlighted the natural born talent that he possessed. This album transcends numerous generations with songs such as “Rock With You” “Working Day and Night” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” But my favorite is the album’s title track “Off The Wall.” The funk guitar and killer chorus is just so memorable and hip thumping. Just a perfect song to twine the 70s and 80s together. Enjoy it below.
I’ll always remember dancing my ass off as a kid in the 80’s to “Bad” at my uncle’s house. Just sweet sincere dance madness.
Take care Michael.