No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer

Michael Jackson

I coincidentally turned on CNN right after their initial discovery of the hospitalization early this afternoon.  In the hours following, I’ve received dozens of text messages from friends apologizing for potentially “breaking the news” of the death of one of the most important musicians of my childhood.

Succinctly, Michael Jackson introduced me to pop music.  He ironically led me out of a life soundtracked with nursery and Disney rhymes into a world of dance beats and catchy melodies.  One of my most vivid early memories is the day my dad surprised me with my first ever cassette tape (Dangerous) the night before our move to Pennsylvania. Unaccustomed to receiving gifts on any date that wasn’t my birthday or Christmas, I happily spent the rest of my lonely summer in a new home blasting “Black or White” from my bedroom in a similar fashion to the single’s comedic introduction. That summer marked the first of many relocations accompanied by specific albums to pull me through a new transition.

Dangerous opened the door to Bad and Thriller and Off the Wall, and acquainted me with a MTV and VH1 that still believed in music videos. Listening to “Man in the Mirror” as a second grader showed that pop music can have a stronger social message.  “P.Y.T.” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” provided quintessential shower singing tunes, while watching “Smooth Criminal” videos and “Billie Jean” Motown 25 performances made me wish I had better moves:

As confirmations of his passing dominoed across media outlets, I realized that today would be one of those cultural moments I’d remember the rest of my life as many before me will never forget December 8, 1980. I strongly doubt there will ever be another international superstar of his magnitude.

I don’t care whether it’s cool to like him these days.  Regardless of the disturbing personal/legal problems that have overshadowed his image the past decade, Jackson will always be the King to me and his significance cannot be denied. After spending essentially his entire life under constant public scrunity, I’m happy and hopeful that Michael can finally rest in peace.  Thanks for the memories, Mr. Jackson.

One Response to “No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer”

  1. Tracy Says:

    Well said… I too am sad for this loss. I am sad for the world. Michael Jackson is the truest form of the title Icon that our generation will ever know. My thoughts keep going back to the death of Elvis. Although I have watched the documentarys of his dealth many times, it is only now that I can understand the magnitude of it. Michael will never really die just as the other greats before him…. Kurt, Johnny C, Otis, Croce, Stevie Ray Von, Bon Scott, Freddie M..etc. It is our duty as music lovers to listen and remember the all time greats! Michael has now joined that honored group. I wonder…. if MJ could really have made a come back or if somehow he knew he could never compare to before. Either way…. he will be missed.

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