Friday, June 26, 2009
There are a mix of emotions I feel when I reflect on the life of Michael Jackson. I think John Mayer put it best by saying "a strand of our cultural DNA has died." It's a profound statement that illustrates exactly what Michael Jackson was to our generation. He transformed popular music the way that Elvis Presley did for the earlier generation. By illustrating the very beat of the music and sculpting a new definition of pop, he became a strand of our cultural DNA. Could you imagine the 80's without Thriller, one sparkly glove and the moon walk?
His choreography and music set the stage and paved the way for nearly every artist in the industry. Think of artists like Justin Timberlake, Usher and Chris Brown. Even alternative bands have covered such tracks as "Smooth Criminal." I think that when we mourn Michael Jackson, we're not only mourning for the person and family for the loss, we're mourning the first time we saw Thriller, perhaps our first concert or audio tape, and the memories that were founded by trying to do the moon walk and the theme of nearly every Halloween party.
It's weird to think that my son will never understand what an impact Michael Jackson had on pop culture. Sure, I say that I see how Elvis transformed music with those gyrating hips, but I don't really know first hand... I couldn't tell you how music was before Elvis first swung his hips on stage but I could tell you how Michael Jackson's music served as a growth chart of sorts. I grew up to his music.
It's sad to think about the brilliant artist he was and how his eccentricities overpowered the illuminate musical genious he once was. I watched a documentary a couple years ago about Michael Jackson. It was very sad. He had been in the spotlight since childhood. No breaks. Never got to grow up. His childlike persona with Neverland Ranch and the slew of accusations against him consumed the man who gave us "Black or White." He's dancing in the stars now. Away from the hurt of fame. Rest in Peace.