Tuesday, June 30, 2009
***12. Michael Jackson, Thriller. Please note the series of asterisks next to this pick, which signify that it was made under duress. The man, and this album, just have a legacy, and the weight of it is crushing right now after last week's tragedy. I do respect Michael Jackson as an entertainer and a songwriter, and I felt sympathy for what he endured during his show-biz upbringing under an abusive father. Truly, for reasons probably no one completely understood, he was a messed-up guy; and it's a shame that he couldn't have enjoyed his fame and fortune a little more.
It's just that ... I was never really into Michael Jackson. I liked the video for "Billie Jean," but that was about as far as it went. Oh, and I guess I like "Wanna Be Startin' Something" and its great first verse:
Wanna be startin' something
Why don't you be startin' something
What's up with that startin' something
Get out of here with that startin' something
Great stuff. But I guess I also liked Weird Al Yankovic's "Eat It" more than the original. And me and the other cool kids in the school used to regularly taunt, harass, intimidate, and disparage any open Michael Jackson fans that we came across. But 100 million copies sold ... on that basis alone, I guess I've got to include MJ on the list. And his vast influence on pop culture and people around the world, which I suspect few people fully appreciated until last week. And the fact that he could sell out 50 shows in London more than 20 years after his prime. And finally, I miscalculated again about how many more albums I needed to complete my list, so this fit in rather nicely.