06 July 2009

Make the math

From everything I could read on the net about Michael Jackson since he died, nothing felt as touching and sounded so fair than the All Music blog tribute written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. When I watch countless You Tube videos showing people all over the world dancing in the streets to the sound of 'Billie Jean' or of 'Don't stop till you get enough', I can only relate, because like everyone else my shoes grow wings as I hear those tracks, there's no way to resist the temptation. Which is exactly why in any party I've been to or hosted, you couldn't get people on the dancefloor - especially the ones that linger on forever in the kitchen - before you inevitably resolved to play an MJ or a Jackson 5 classic. And only then could you think of leading the crowd to a maybe more adventurous pick. It's like a magic trick. The only time in my life when I didn't use it was when my friends and I were having a post-adolescence dismissal of anything mainstream - so of course our signal song for kicking-off the dancing time would be 'Smells like teen spirit'... before its tiny acknowledgment beyond our circle (then) made it even too mainstream for us (this from a girl whose favorite band ever is The Beatles)...
Well it's been a while I don't care about being mainstream - at least regarding music. I actually find it pretty comforting to feel the same mix of sadness, nostalgia and musical bliss as millions of people. Not only do we keep listening everywhere for groovy and hyper emotional music since ten days, but we listen to it "together". That must be the closest I've been to a true religion experience.
Which brings me back to the All Music tribute and its last paragraph : "But Michael Jackson was never meant to be a cult artist, which is one of the many reasons his music of the last two decades often struck a dissonant chord: he belonged to the masses, providing a soundtrack to billions of people around the world, from the millions that made Thriller the biggest album ever to those who never owned one of his records and yet knew all his hits. That is the Michael Jackson that has been absent for 20 years and that is the Michael Jackson that is being mourned today. His sudden death gives us all an opportunity to appreciate the enduring genius of his art but to realize that we have no musician that speaks to all of us … and that we haven’t for some time now."

Michael Jackson or the last common music denominator.

--Joëlle