Part 1: Michael Jackson and the Most Depressing Form of Procrastination
Well, I’ve certainly had a rough few days. I’ve felt sapped of motivation to do anything, my moments of joy were brief and fleeting, and everything I cooked turned out kinda crappy. My sorrow had many causes: The return of regular water cuts in my neighbourhood (though so far without any accidental flooding!), too much isolation, and my ambivalence toward my imminent departure were some of the reasons. But as is so often the case, much of my sadness was the result of reading dumb stuff on the Internet.
It all began, as all things in life do, with Michael Jackson. Like many people, I jumped on the MJ bandwagon soon after his death: I think the outpouring of grief over the death of someone who I had thought of as a washed-up joke helped alert me to his true stature as a pop musician. (Or I really just wanted to pile onto the bandwagon – either way!) In spite of the baggage surrounding him – the insane fans, the Elephant Man’s Bones, and not least of all his insecurely blackmailing the media to force them to refer to him by the unfortunate title of “The King of Pop” – I realized that he was an artist with an amazing, one-of-a-kind voice, loads of songwriting talent, and some pretty snazzy dance skills and fashion sense, to boot. In the course of a four-decade career he managed to release a handful of classic albums, as well as some inconsistent ones that nonetheless featured some pretty impressive highlights.
That said, he’s one of the biggest pop stars of all time, so I’d rather introduce him with a non-album demo track:
Like many pop music-loving sheeple, my interest in MJ was recently renewed by the really-quite-good Love Never Felt So Good from his posthumous Xscape (ugh – that title) album, especially in the gloriously pandering, modernized (because the ’70s are modern again) remix featuring guilty pleasure Justin “Offensive Wedding Video” Timberlake. (It’s certainly a few notches above Timberlake’s maddeningly anodyne Can’t Stop The Feeling, a bloodless piece of prefab pop whose #1 success eradicates any faith in humanity engendered by the success of credible artists like Beyoncé, Adele, or… Justin Timberlake in a better song.)
So last week I was doing my part by giving the song its 65 millionth Spotify play (dance… lemme see ya move…), and a few clicks through the Spotify wormhole led me to Jackson’s first posthumous release, the creatively-named Michael, an album I had somehow overlooked – probably because my life was more interesting at the time than it is now!