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Kick In The Nostalgias

January 26, 2009

So it’s another year, I’m a little older, a little wiser. 20 years on the planet – sounds young until your friends slap you in the face with ‘halfway to 40’ eh?
Anyway, to mark such an occasion I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. The key moments in life so to speak: the highs, the lows, and the previous birthdays (for my 15th I decided to not tell any of my friends. I was 14 for the good part of 2 years.) etc etc.

During this stroll I came across the memory of my 6th birthday present: Michael Jackson’s ‘History’ album. I vaguely recall sitting in the front room watching VH1 and the “Earth Song” video, and asking my dad who he was. I guess now it’s not his best song, but the video was pretty strong.His reply was to give me a listen to his old Michael Jackson collection, in which I jumped around the house like a muppet on E. Et voila, birthday present sorted.

As it turns out, I somehow managed to make a huge scratch down Disc 1 (the one with Billie Jean, Thriller, Beat It, the classics). Maybe it was through guilt or just plain enjoyment, but as a result I glued my ears to the stereo with Disc 2 on loop from that point onwards.

Now, I realise everyone has their opinions on the guy; yes, he did that colour change trick; yes, he dangles babies over balconies with less thought or caution than normal people who litter in the cinema. And there was also that guy Martin Bashir.

But be honest with yourselves: the guy sweats talent. No question. Call him crazy, but if insanity is the price to pay for genius, then so be it. The only thing that separates him from legends is purely that he’s still alive. Look at The Beatles, Hendrix, Pastorius, Cobain. If he released ‘History’, then walked in front of a truck the week after, there’s a strong argument that he’d be bigger than all of them.

And when his last day finally arrives, he’ll be one of the last to grab a seat upstairs next to the Big Man. In today’s diluted world of talent thanks to the likes of MySpace, Big Brother and (Big Man, give me strength) X Factor, the chances of causing such an impact on the music world deteriorates by the minute.

I’m drifting away from my original point. After finding the album, I discovered that even after 10-15 years of not listening to the songs, I could still recite every word better than Obama could manage at his Inauguration. I can’t get my head round it at all. I started questioning why I listened to it so much at such a young age. Listening now, I understand the majority of the album revolves around some controversial topics: racism, solitude, accusations of paedophilia, money, fame. At age 6, who cares about that stuff? Most 6 year olds’ biggest worry is the reason behind why Barney isn’t playing on the big square box in the living room.

I remember ‘Tabloid Junkie’ being a particular favourite, a song based on the idea that tabloid newspapers create lies and rumours to make a story. I was hooked from the use of the safari stampede sample at the start of the song.

Looking back, I realise the album was my welcome into the life that I lead today. My whole life revolves around music. It’s the reason I live where I do, the reason I have the friends I have, the reason I’m writing this very sentence. I’ve now started questioning what I would have been now if I didn’t receive that present for my birthday. Maybe the exact same person, maybe a polar opposite.

The point of this post is not to encourage readers to listen to Michael Jackson (if you have sense, you will have already), but to encourage you to go back and fetch that album your ears first paid serious attention to, have a listen, and remember why you are where you are after all. It’s very refreshing, however old it does make you feel on the outside.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 30, 2009 11:34 am

    This is a solid post, holmes.

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