It’s been a few hours since the news broke, and I’m still trying to process just what it means to me that Michael Jackson is suddenly dead at age 50.
I feel like, honestly, no one expected him to have any sort of comeback fueled by anything but nostaligia. The London shows would have sold out, but any new music would have been met with a collective shrug. I don’t think there would have been a place on contemporary pop radio for him today, and certainly not on the music channel he helped make into a cultural phenomenon.
But no one thought he’d be gone so soon.
Around the time the Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition came out, I wrote this piece over at my other blog; it pretty much says everything I would say here.
I also thought I would leave five tracks you might not be as familiar with.
1. Heartbreak Hotel – from the Jacksons’ 1980 album Triumph. When that trademark ‘hoo!’ comes in, the jam becomes unstoppable. I first heard this song played on a live-to-air old school night on Detroit radio giant WJLB. I tracked it down like a bloodhound in the week following.
2. Baby Be Mine – track two from Thriller, and arguably the most RnB song on the album, edged out only by P.Y.T., and that’s a maybe. I had totally forgotten this song until we started playing the disc at work and I detected a dangerously high level of funk coming from the speakers.
3. I Can’t Help It– forgotten Stevie Wonder-penned ballad from Off the Wall. You might recgnize it as the sample for De La Soul’s ‘Breakadawn’.
4. Butterflies – The only good song from Invincible?
5. Never Can Say Goodbye – Superior to the Gloria Gaynor disco version in every way.