Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Timeless Music of MJ

My parents loved music. When we were still in Cavite, we had this turntable that played vinyl records. My sister, Lina, who was around 4 0r 5 years old then, loved impersonating Karen Carpenter singing Stop, Mr. Postman, waving her hand in front of her face. She also impersonated the young Michael Jackson singing Happy, turning around while she sang.

This was the picture I had in mind while I was listening to Happy in 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Michael Jackson CD. I loved this song and I still know the lyrics by heart. I just wonder why it has sort of a sad melody when it is about Happy.

Sadness had been close as my next of kin
Then happy came one day, chased my blues away
My life began when happy smiled
Sweet, like candy to a child
Stay here and love me just a while
Let sadness see what happy does
Let happy be where sadness was

Some of my favourite songs in this CD are Ben, One Day in Your Life, and Music and Me.

I bought The Best of Michael Jackson CD and Michael Jackson Greatest Hits History Volume 1 when Michael Jackson was all over the news due to the child molestation case. I’m keeping my opinions on this to myself. But I remember Ryan, who was about 9 or 10 at the time, couldn’t look at the TV when MJ’s face is on the news. MJ just looks too scary to him. My youngest son, Ryland, would keep asking me if he was a girl because he had long hair. “No he’s a boy,” I would say. “He’s ugly,” he’d say. “Hey, you shouldn’t use that word,” I’d say.

These two CD’s were on the music rack and I couldn’t help it but buy them. I grew up listening to his music. They just bring back memories. And in order not to confuse my kids, I explained to them that it’s MJ’s talent that I admire, not the person that he has become.

Between the two CD’s, I enjoy listening to Greatest Hits History Vol 1 better. I know most of the songs, some of which became popular during my high school and college days – the days when I discovered love and heartaches. Besides most of the songs in this one are more upbeat than the former.

The slow rhythmic beating of the drum in the intro of Billie Jean always makes me shake my bum even while I sit in my desk. And he gives us a couple of advices in the lyrics.

People always told me be careful of what you do
And don't go around breaking young girls' hearts
And mother always told me be careful of who you love
And be careful of what you do 'cause the lie becomes the truth

And I like the catchy refrain.

Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

The faster beating in the background of The Way You Make Me Feel makes me move my shoulders back and forth. The lyrics remind us how it feels when we are attracted to somebody. I love it when he says…

Go On Girl!
Go On! Hee! Hee! Aaow!
Go On Girl!

The creaking sound of a door opening, the foot steps and the howl at the beginning of Thriller is very clever. I didn’t see a video of Thriller until I came here in Canada in late '89. I didn’t own a TV in the 80’s and I had to rely on my imagination for the visuals of his songs. Beat It is more upbeat than Thriller. And I think this is the reason why I like the former better than the latter.

All I can say about Bad is that it makes me tap on the keys of my keyboard faster. I pretend like I’m tapping the keys of a piano instead. No, I don’t play the piano.

I used to sing along whenever I would hear She’s Out of My Life on the radio. I was still pining then for a love that I have lost. I could relate to the lyrics.

So I've learned that love's not possession
And I've learned that love won't wait
Now I've learned that love needs expression
But I learned too late

I could just feel the pain when his voice quivers at the end of the song.

Damned indecision and cursed pride
Kept my love for her locked deep inside
And it cuts like a knife
She's out of my life

And don’t you just love the lyrics of Man in the Mirror.

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

And also that of Heal the World. I like the timber of his voice here and the melody.

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for
You and for me.

In Black or White, he sings …

It don’t matter if you’re black or white.

Why then, oh why, did his skin colour turn from black to white?

I think he really did want to make the world a better place but he just got messed up for some reason or another.


K. said...

I too love Michael Jackson, I've been a fan ever since Thriller and I was three when that came out!! I agree with you when you said the Michael started out wanting to make the world a better place and just got messed up along the way. Being born into a Jehovah Witness practicing family with a sadistic father and silent mother while the entire world is clamoring for more, more, more of you is enough to make anyone go insane. Even though we no longer have the Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5, Off the Wall or Thriller, at least we still have the amazing music. Music so powerful that it has circled the world several times over and has managed to connect people of different races, cultures and languages. I know I will always love MJ for that!

niceheart said...

Thanks for dropping by, K. Can't access your profile.

mong said...

i also like the music of MJ, i visit this site to read positive news about him bec. the media is only reporting the scandals: Compared to his achievements in the 80s and 90s, MJ album sales for the past few years were low. but they still reach platinum levels, especially outside the US. My favorite MJ song is Man in the Mirror and She's out of my life

Abaniko said...

I used to think of great songs and performances when I think of MJ. Now, I can't help equate him with purely sexual scandals. Tsk.

myepinoy said...

This post one for the memory lane. Time passed by so fast.

I guess we grew up with MJ music. From Jackson 5 till he became a solo artist. At that time, everybody sings MJ, everywhere your turn, they play MJ. Everything then was MJ.

Remember the "New Generation" commercial? That was us then.

earthember said...

I like MJ, but only his earlier stuff - Billie Jean, Thriller, Bad, Heal the World. They were tunes I listened to, while growing up. It's really sad the way he has ended up now.

I like the way you explained to your kids, about admiring his talents, and not the person he has become. My daughters wondered about the same thing, when they saw MJ on the news. They thought he looked weird.

Anonymous said...

MJ also did a Xmas hit - Give Love On Xmas Day - in 1970 which had become the modern day signature song for the Xmas season. Considering that Xmas hits are pretty tough to come up with, this makes him a complete artist in what he does.

Hsin said...

I think everyone must've been a MJ fan at one time or another in their lives. His career spanned such a long time. It's just so sad the way he's crashed and burned in recent years, but there goes my theory that there aren't many who can handle celebrity at a young age and end up with their heads screwed on right. I don't necessarily think he's guilty, but he's definitely screwed up.

Sidney said...

He lost touch with the real world. Probably too much money, success and fame than he was able to bear.

Senor Enrique said...

I remember the night he blew everyone away with his performance of Billie Jean on a tribute to Motown TV special. As I sat there riveted, all I could think of was his strength, intelligence and power to have conquered the music industry. He literally had it on its knees. And by the time he went out to conquer the world, the music industry was hailing him as the King of Pop. He was a master strategist. A genius.

From that night on, as he went on to captivate the public on a global scale, that same power that catapulted him to greatness, unfortunately, also intoxicated him. Madness ensued.

There are many great songs he has, but the most poignant and haunting, as well as the one that reveals his inner self, his soul, his alienation from the world that once adored him is "Human Nature."

MJ is a true but mad artist.

Dee said...

I admire his talents but not him.

TK said...

I separate the man from his music. I have reservations about the man, but I love his music unconditionally.


I was a Michael Jackson fan when I was in my early grades, singing and dancing to Thriller and Beat It. I was surprised that after 20 years my daughter would ask me to buy her the CD of The best of Michael Jackson and sing and dance the same music as if she was born during our times. How could she sing to Beat It and Thriller and know the excat tune and dance?

jonty said...


Erisac suggested on my blogsite that we check out your MJ entry. I have been a fan since I was in kindergarten.

This is an awesome entry!