Friday, June 26, 2009

(Another) Day The Music Died.

The career of being a pop or rockstar can be rewarding, but it is also one that is susceptible to short life expectancy. As you know, Michael Jackson died today (our time, Thursday their time) at the age of 50, a young age for these times.

This man, the icon of those who grew up in the 70s and 80s, is perhaps the most influential person in the pop/lifestyle/entertainment scenario. His popularity back in the 80s here in Malaysia was immense. People who usually do not listen to Western/English pop song were suddenly listening to him.

I remember well, that it was the day my grandmother passed away. While the adults were in mourning, we kids were outside discussing the new Thriller album. That’s how big he was at that time.

True, fascination for his music slowly turned into fascination of his personal life, but no matter what crazy thing he does, no matter which court he had to appear, no matter which woman he decided to marry that week, we know that this man gave us, if not more than, three of the most important albums ever, and inspired the entire generation of kids worldwide to, if not picking up, but to gawk at those cool dance moves that were his trademark.

His music videos became the prototype for future artistes to tell story while hawking their music-wares. They were big budgeted affair with elaborate script and extended moments and were mostly very, very entertaining. In fact, it was so important that Jackson roped in one of the greatest film directors in US, Martin Scorsese to direct the single, Bad, from the album of same name.

More than anything his stage shows were stuff that legends are made of, except that they were real. True, rockers, in particular the likes of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd and Kiss (among others) took stadium performance into one step higher in terms of sheer spectacle, but Michael, just one man, one star, rather than a band, took it further. To have been to his concert is to have witnessed miracle too difficult to be detailed. I was unfortunate to have not been any single one. But watching them on TV, I can feel, perhaps, 10% of what it’s like over there.

As for the albums, Dangerous, released in 1991, took a tumble in quality and sales as well. There were few good tracks. Then 2001’s invincible triggered the question: Is the King of Pop now a burnout case? Not the right moment to answer that.

As saddened I was to hear of his death, I was not that shocked. He has been in and out of the hospital several times and he already looked like he was staring at the grim reapers face. The clock was ticking. As I said, the higher you are in the stardom pedestal, the possibilities of shorter lifespan abounds. You know what happened to all those great stars in the past.

He was going to do a series of concert, mainly to pay back the mounting debt he had amassed over the years. Ironically, now, it is his death, with ongoing surge of album sales, future compilations that the recording company would milk dry, and royalties from other merchandises that will help to settle the debt and take care of his kids.

As a forum member (mi6.co.uk) said, Michael the human being is gone, Michael Jackson the artist will rock on. Goodbye Michael. We will miss you.

1 comment:

Feline said...

He'll be missed ... he helped change the face of music and probably defined the way many people feel about it.

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