Friday, June 26, 2009

don't stop till you get enough, or till you have a heart attack

Marvel once again as I use exciting current events as a hook from which to hang some tenuously linked nonsense that's been rattling around my head for a while.

Michael Jackson died yesterday, as I'm sure you know. I'm not going to launch into any in-depth career analysis here, as I'm not really qualified to do so, his music not really being my sort of thing, though of course I recognise the merits of much of it. Instead I will launch into some brief, superficial, ill-informed analysis instead. Well, it's easier, isn't it?

Few would dispute that he'd become increasingly frail, eccentric, and, well, mental in recent years. Which means that anyone who bought tickets for his 50-date O2 arena residency in the expectation of ever actually getting to see anything was deluding themselves, as the whole project was clearly doomed from the outset. I would place the point at which Jackson jumped the shark at somewhere between 1982's ludicrously successful Thriller and 1987's Bad. Listen to (and watch the videos for) the singles: I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Bad itself, Man In The Mirror (more on this in a minute), Dirty Diana and the rest. The vocal tics have become weirdly intrusive (and ripe for parody), the attempt to look a bit dangerous and sexy with the bondage-y straps and buckles is laughable, and the physical transformation from reasonably normal-looking black guy to weird freaky white space alien with a completely different-shaped nose is, well, weird. The downward trajectory after that, personally as well as artistically, was pretty much inevitable.

Anyway, the actual point of all this is that by way of a tribute Chris Moyles played Man In The Mirror on his radio show this morning, and the toe-stubbing key change towards the end put me in mind of a conversation we (Doug, Anna, Hazel and me) were having about such things in the Forest Inn in Ashurst back in May, inspired by a particularly hair-raising example in something played on the stereo - probably Leona Lewis or something a bit older like Celine Dion, I forget the exact song (actually on reflection I think it may have been this one). I recall using the phrase "truck driver's gear change" at the time, having read it somewhere - it turns out it was here, and Man In The Mirror takes pride of place as one of the canonical examples of the genre.

Coincidentally the TDGC site appears to be run by the same guy who wrote the entertaining "pub facts" book Bears Can't Run Downhill, which can be found in, among other places, Doug and Anna's bathroom.

Note also that this is the second Michael Jackson whose death I've commemorated in a blog post. Spooky.

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