23 things about Michael Jackson (but really about me) all anchored to this music video:
1. This video is fucking awesome. Even by 90s standards, even by any standards at all, it just is. Take a moment. Be reminded. Reflect. Respect.
2. As just a wee little kid, my mind was fucking blown when I saw this 14 years ago.
3. I got into a random conversation with a group of strangers today about MJ while waiting around in a line for something. We touched upon why a lot of people will miss this artist, who hasn’t been “relevant” in years: It’s like when you were growing up and your parents would track your growing height in notches against a wall.
This is you, 3 years old, one notch would say. This is you, 6 years old, another would say. This is you, 10 years old. This is you, 15 years old and awkwardly tall.
I can make the same metaphor with notches on a bed post and tales of your life as a sexual conquistador if that helps.
Michael’s career was your marking post. Dangerous evokes memories of a certain part of my life. Bad another. Even Invincible brings back certain memories. And with HIStory it was me entering high school, free from the stagnant shackles of junior high, and possibly going on to become a person, with questionable results, but who knows.
But that’s where a lot of people come from. If you didn’t like the man or his music, that’s cool, that’s even understandable, but respect that that’s where a lot of people are coming from.
Lisa, it’s your birthday. Happy birthday, Lisa!
4. I even remember the first time I saw this, while waiting for it’s big mega massive world premiere on MTV. I can vividly remember the house of the two dorks I was at when I saw this. It’s directed by Mark Romanek, and cost $7 million, then unheard of amazingly. I can even remember my friend’s mom who walked in during the middle of the song and just stayed to watch, mesmerized by the whole thing. When the song ended, she said, “Wow, Michael’s pissed, isn’t he?”
5. I wish Michael had stopped the evolution of who and what he was, at least appearances-wise, around here. I mean, look at him here, he’s practically a living, breathing anime character.
6. Watching this back then, I realized – if I somehow hadnt’ realized it before – that Janet Jack was fucking hot.
8. In the past, MJ usually came up with the premises for his videos and then let the directors flesh them out, but this was the first time he let a director give him the premise, with Romanek did.
9. The premise is amazing, to me, at least. Michael and Janet, on an expansive, luxurious looking spacecraft, speeding away through the constant nighttime of space. They should be happy, but they’re not. They’re furious about something! Are they getting away from the press, or from persecution? Or are they prisoners? Are they rebels? Are they escaping or being sent away?
10. Are they traveling through the uncanny valley?
11. I totally want to do that futuristic raquetball/smashing vases thing. That would be so cool.
12. I have to say, I really don’t have a problem with people not liking or attacking Michael now. Checking just a small sampling of the reporting of his death, I’ve noticed that the praisers and mourners are (understandably) being met with equal measure by the detractors and demonizers. On both sides, you’ve got normal people and zealots and idiots. I guess there’s too much to not be upset about still. Michael was almost living, breathing contradiction in some cases, victim of circumstances at some points, I feel, but also pushed the limits of his own weird constant child thing a little too far.
13. Speaking of walking a fine line:
I love that picture. Michael Jackson and Woody Allen at Studio 54 in 1977? Ha ha. Perfect.
14. The rights to the Beatles’ catalog goes back to Paul McCartney, according to Michael’s will, supposedly. That’s nice. Macca just got a whole lot richer, which is lovely (thankfully it’s after the divorce to Heather Mills), but it’s nice closer to that riff/beef.
15. Someone said to me, “I’m so sorry that you’re upset about Michael Jackson’s death.” It was both serious with concern for me and “my loss,” but also undeniably condescending, though not intentionally on their part. I don’t think I’d say that I was all that broken up. Mostly still in a, pardon the pun, state of shock. At one point I was so weirded out that maybe I wanted to scream out, pardon the pun again, but again, it was just so werid. I didn’t know the man, thankfully, and the music isn’t going anywhere, and no matter how much I held out hopes, I knew he was never going to put out a comeback album (that’s where my hopes lay, not in a new tour, but in more music). To me, it just feels like… An assessment of our world now. It’s right here, it’s right now, and there’s a tiny little hole in planet Earth.
But if you are truly broken up about MJ’s passing, I’m sorry to hear that. Go have a good cry and a scream, okay? No pressure, but seriously, a good scream will be very catharctic for you.
16. God, I would love to have my own supersexy getaway spacecraft for when times are hard. Stop pressuring me, you. It makes me want to scream. In space!
17. HIStory is a really great collection, both as retrospective and as a standalone album. The original material on it is pretty much all hits, I’m happy to say. Of especially poignant note other than this track is “Stranger In Moscow,” which is perfect in a lot of ways.
There are no more real pop stars after yesterday.
18. It was reported that around the time of making this video, that Michael Jackson had bought the ones of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man. It’s not true, but he didn’t fight that rumor very hard.
19. This is the first time that Michael and Janet had worked together on a song since she did backing vocals for “P.Y.T.” and it was MJ’s first time working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, though Janet would go on to work with them several more times. With so much of the hip hop and r&b radio and landscape sounding like The-Dream (not so bad) and Timbaland (kind of getting tired), I’d love to to hear some more Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, for real.
20. If you were concerned, don’t be. This is most likely the last I’ll say on this subject, here or probably anywhere. This song, this artist, and HIStory all need to slowly start taking their place in history.
21. I’m a simple man: I’ll say it again. Space. Spaceship. And Janet Jackson. And those weird morphy art machines. So cool. Those things are all I need to be happy.
22. One last thing about the video specifically: He moonwalks! At one point, while passing the actual moon. It’s so self referential, I love it. Also, part of me still wishes I could moonwalk. I always see people who can kind of do it, you know? Kind of, but not totally. Not for real. I guess you’d have to be the King of Pop to do it for real.
23. This song is a living breathing entity practically, especially compiled with the video images, but not dependent on them. Turn it up, watch it, listen. It’ll crawl inside your brain and stay with you for a while. You’ll be humming it while waiting for the elevator or the guy in the line in front of you at the liquor store or whatever you tumblr folk do. Michael Jackson will be dead, but you’ll still be alive and so will this song, inside of you.