Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Man in the Mirror"

I just had to post something today about the death of Michael Jackson. Like many of us, he and his music was a special part of my childhood that I will never forget. I remember when my aunt Joy got my sister and I the "Thriller" album. We were so "thrilled." We went right home and pulled out our little blue and white record player on our bedroom floor and my sister, my mom and I listened to it all evening. Mom would tell us stories about how she would anticipate watching the Jackson 5 cartoon on Saturday mornings. She loved the Jackson 5 and would try to copy their dance moves (she always loved to dance too). I was never a super fan or anything, but I did have a little purple purse with a picture of MJ on it. And I remember a poster of him in a preppy yellow sweater that hung on my wall. My husband had the red jacket he wore in "Beat It," and an MJ doll (that he still has). It's amazing how a kid from Indiana could, with his talent and charisma, connect with people all over the world, including us kids in rural Appalachia!

As a singer, I marvel at Michael Jackson's vocal ability. He's famous of course for his "heehee's" and "whooo's" and "shamone's," but he could convey a variety of emotions in his songs like no one else. From tenderness, to anger, to angst and frustration, he had the ability to portray those emotions through song, and make us feel what he was feeling. One song that always makes me cry is "Man in the Mirror." He sings with such conviction and passion, I really feel that he means it when he says, "...if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change." I feel the desperation in the song, "Leave Me Alone," as he sings about the lies people tell and his lack of any kind of private life. He truly was an amazing and original singer.

I believe his quirkiness, eccentricities and poor choices involving his strange relationships with children, alienated those of us who were early fans. He kind of fell out of favor with many of us. But when it all comes down, I can still appreciate and admire his talent, his gifts, his generosity, his struggle, his art, his love for his family and most definately, his music.

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