Artist Su Blackwell


She uses a scalpel and glue to cut out pages from books and make scenes from them. Pretty enchanting.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 29: When he told everyone how dirty they are.


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28.

Hold onto your fedoras, we're going to 1995 (so actually, let them go. Hold on to your...wigs). A time of controversy. A time of victimization. A time of lesser appreciated Michael Jackson music (...with good reason).

The HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I album has two discs: one of hits, the other of new material that Michael chose and wrote for its 1995 release. At best, the new material is bitter, angry, and miserable in lyrical content, and mostly under-produced to the point of demos or over produced to the point of anything Barbra Streisand recorded from 1990 on. But I don't want to get into why I feel like I'm being charitable whenever I listen to the majority of the album, but rather to talk about one of the songs off it I really do enjoy listening to.

Sometimes when you're angry there's nothing better than rocking out to a song that provides a furious catharsis for you, creates a mood and a tone to match your own. It's not necessary for the cause of your anger and the cause of the song's to be the same. But if they're too different, you can have issues. "Money" is a song that is angry at anyone who is willing to act unethically for a buck. Now don't get me wrong, I know that those people are out there, and I don't like them, but I don't find myself needing to sing about their greed. I'm just not that passionate about it. And it's hard when the singer--no matter what his financial hardships might have been--was known for his own tendency toward materialism.

The point of the song is that people give up their values for money, and I don't think Michael could be blamed for that. And he did have a lot of experience with tabloids and exhortation cases, so he definitely had more brushes with money-grubbers than most. Who knows who he's singing to at any given point in this song? His family? His 'people'? Politicians? It could be anyone. But that's just it. Even though I enjoy listening to this song for its beat and cadence, it feels very inaccessible and exclusive. I don't feel invited in by Michael to join with him in the music, but instead I feel he wants to push everyone away.*

So! Who still wants to hear the song? Who's still even reading this? Ok! "Money" is almost a rap, half-sung, half-spoken (something that he's good at, but I believe tended to over-do towards the 90s and on. Ok, seriously, I promise to stop with the criticism now). The beat is great. I couldn't tell you anything about it beyond that. Tambourine? Snare? Who can say? But there is this cool deep swishing sound that's great for dancing to. The chorus almost sounds cheerful and melodic, but don't be deceived. The background vocals are probably Michael, but they're awfully deep and gruff, so if it was him then kudos. The real winning combo is the beat with the timing of the lyrics (does that make sense?). They're just cleverly spaced to create memorable moments throughout the song. Listen to it and I'll share some of my favorites.

- At 0:57 he sings a stripped down verse that sounds like a piece of perfectly punctuated poetry (alliteration, whee!):

You're saluting the flag your country trusts you
Now you're wearing a badge you're called the 'just few'
And you're fighting the wars a soldier must do
I'll never betray or deceive you my friend but

If you show me the cash then I will take it
If you tell me to cry then I will fake it
If you give me a hand then I will shake it
You do anything for money

The transfer between the "I'll never betray" line and the "if you show me the cash" line lies in the but. Snorfl! But seriously, the way he says it. His pronunciation of the 't' puts Julie Andrews to shame. Plus it immediately ushers back in the rest of the instruments. Love it.

- 1:37 has the same kind of thing, and instead of the 'but' he ends it with a I don't think so. The sound of someone breathing out happens right before it. It's pretty sick.

- The ultimate of these moments though (can you tell they're my favorite?) is at 1:55.

Are you infected with the same disease of lust, gluttony and greed?
Then watch the ones with the biggest smiles, the idle jabbers
'Cause they're the backstabbers

He almost whispers the last line, but gives a full punch to each syllable. I hit repeat over this section again and again.

- And then towards the end of the song he just keeps singing you're dirty over and over, hence the post title.

Sometimes in the song I hear a little guitar or bass line reminiscent of his 80s songs. But the thriller's gone, you know? (Sorry.)

*I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Obviously later in his career Michael was obsessed with the hounding media and his mistreatment by...hell, everyone it probably seemed. But it's clear that he still had fans--so was his music really the best place to take out his aggression and paranoia? In interviews, sure, spread the word that you're pissed and hurt and want to be left alone. But when you create music, guess who's going to listen to that? People who support you. And by making songs that sound so defensive and unique to his experience, I think he kept so many people out. But is that not the point? Does an artist need to create art that people will want to be a part of and connect with or do they create out of their own deepest issues, not caring if (or at least hoping that) it will still have a personal impact on listeners? Because I felt for Michael and what he went through, but I also didn't relish always being me and him against the world.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 28: When he went girl shopping. To an EXCELLENT beat.


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27.

I can't stop listening to this song. Can't. Stop. It's like a drug (my own personal brand of heroin). The way it is musically crafted and sung is perfect to me. The lyrics, I could take or leave. But the sound, and Michael's voice... I believe this one is going on my Life Soundtrack. If I make you a mix CD anytime within the next 6 months, you can probably guarantee this number will be on there. Unless I become horribly sad about something. But I won't! Not with a song like this to listen to!

It's from the Jacksons lowest selling album, 1977's Goin' Places. It was their second and last record for CBS before moving onto success with Epic. I don't know what went wrong, maybe it was marketing, because the album is fantastic. The brothers weren't allowed to write most of the songs, but this one, "Different Kind of Lady" was one of theirs. And ooh, baby you can tell.

Favorite parts just because of how Michael sings them:

I'm here to please you in every way I can, prove to you that I'm the only man

Well, I love you in case you'd like to know, you're a lady, and that's a different show

She's so fine, she's all mine

They sound like they're having so much fun. And Michael's so sassy-classy. Love, love, love. Try not to dance. Try!

Music to have an MRI to


According to 88.5 KPLU, the station I chose for the procedure, songs like:

1) God Bless the Child
2) The Man I Love
3) But Not For Me

It's my own fault for picking a jazz station.

You asked for it (well, two of you)


Well it's that time of year again. The time of year when Maryann puts her mild cases of musical OCD to work for you!

Two--two!--separate people have asked for a playlist of the more under-recognized Michael Jackson music that I am all too familiar with, in the hopes that they might know it as well! (Or by asking me to do this, they know they are giving a much better gift to me than I am to them. They thought, 'You know, I bet Maryann would love to put together a playlist of Michael Jackson songs. And I'd get some free music out of it, so everybody wins!')

So this is a playlist for those of you who already have the greatest hits of the Jackson 5 and Michael himself. I'm operating under the pretense that you already own the following mega-hits (all of which can be found on The Essential Michael Jackson--37 songs for $13.99, surely a deal if there ever was one. But whoever put this collection together has a definition of 'essential' that tends to differ from my own):

-Jackson 5 Era: I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, Got to Be There, Rockin' Robin, Ben-The Jacksons Era: Enjoy Yourself, Blame it on the Boogie, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
-Off the Wall: Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Rock With You, Off the Wall, She's Out of My Life
-Thriller: Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, The Girl is Mine, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Human Nature, P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
-Bad: Bad, Smooth Criminal, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, Dirty Diana, I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Leave Me Alone, Another Part of Me
-Dangerous: Black or White, Will You Be There, Remember the Time, Heal the World, In the Closet, Who is It, Dangerous
-HIStory: You Are Not Alone
- Invincible: You Rock My World

If you want the following mix and are missing any of the above songs, just let me know and I will happily add them. If you're dying to know what I think of them, either search for them in the blog or wait until I get to writing about them here, as we all know I probably will, because this is my current vocation in life.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the lesser known songs of Michael Joseph Jackson. (And his brothers! Who are forever doomed to be relegated to parentheses in light of their superstar brother!)

Where to begin, where to begin? I the beginning. (Chronology will not be closely adhered to. You were warned. Also, no Christmas songs. For now.)

Maryann's Almost No Song Left Behind Exhaustive Michael Jackson Playlist 2009: Music So Good, You Might Just Grab Yourself

Disc One: Gary, Indiana, That's The Town That 'Knew Them When'

1. "Mama's Pearl" by the Jackson 5, Third Album (1970)
- Favorite part: Let's fall in love, let's fall in love
2. "Sugar Daddy" by the Jackson 5, Greatest Hits (1971)
- Favorite part: Brand new boots, I bought ya; fine, fine, blew your mind
3. "One More Chance" by the Jackson 5, ABC (1970)
- Favorite part: Now since I'm alone, talking to myself
4. "Maybe Tomorrow" by the Jackson 5, Maybe Tomorrow (1971)
- Favorite part: You are the book that I read each day, you are the song that I sing; you are the four seasons of my life
5. "Who's Lovin' You" by the Jackson 5, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (1969)
- Favorite part: When I had you I treated you bad and wrong, my dear
6. "It's Your Thing" by the Jackson 5, Ultimate Collection (1996)
- Favorite part: I can't tell you who to sock it to

7. "Never Can Say Goodbye" by the Jackson 5, Maybe Tomorrow (1971)
- Favorite part: Tell me why is it so, don't wanna let you go
8. "Lookin' Through the Windows" by the Jackson 5, Lookin' Through the Windows (1972)
- Favorite part: Just remember whatever makes you feel that way, don't you worry cause I'm
gonna stay right by your side

9. "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5, Third Album (1970)
- Favorite part: You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back
10. "Doctor My Eyes" by the Jackson 5 (originally by Jackson Browne), Lookin' Through the
- Favorite part: Without crying now I want to understand
11. "Little Bitty Pretty One" by the Jackson 5, Lookin' Through the Windows (1972)
- Favorite part: Little bitty pretty one, I've been watchin' you grow
12. "Corner of the Sky" by the Jackson 5, Skywriter (1973)
- Favorite part: And don't you see I want my life to be something more than long
13. "Hallelujah Day" by The Jackson 5, Skywriter (1973)
- Favorite part: Love is on its way, sing Hallelujah
14. "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" by the Jackson 5, Lookin' Through the Windows (1972)
- Favorite part: I've got your picture, hangin' on the wall...I realize it's just a picture in a frame
15. "Get it Together" by the Jackson 5, G.I.T.: Get It Together (1973)
- Favorite part: You better get it together or leave it alone, if you don't want my lovin' I'll be gone
16. "Forever Came Today" by the Jackson 5, Moving Violation (1975)
- Favorite part: It came today, forever came today
17. "The Life of the Party" by the Jackson 5,
Dancing Machine (1974)
- Favorite part: You're a sexy mama, such a dancing dream
18. "Dancing Machine" by the Jackson 5, G.I.T.: Get It Together (1973)
- Favorite part: She's a dance, dance, dance, dance, dancing machine
19. "Body Language (Do the Love Dance)" by the Jackson 5, Moving Violation (1975)
- Favorite part: Body language, body language, let you move it
20. "It's Too Late to Change the Time" by the Jackson 5,
G.I.T.: Get it Together (1973)

- Favorite part: It's too late-ta, a-too late to change the time
21. "Whatever You Got, I Want" by the Jackson 5, Dancing Machine (1974)
- Favorite part: Girl, you got a one-track mind
22. "All I Do is Think of You" by the Jackson 5, Moving Violation (1975)
- Favorite part: Hey, that's the girl for you so what are you gonna do

Disc Two: Teen Idolesence

1. "Music and Me" by Michael Jackson, Music & Me (1973)
- Favorite part: don't make me choose, you jerk! The whole damn thing.
2. "I Wanna Be Where You Are" by Michael Jackson, Got to Be There (1972)
- Favorite part: You don't have to worry, 'cause I'm comin' back to where I should have always stayed
3. "When I Come of Age" by Michael Jackson, (unsure!) Michael Jackson: Gold (2008)
- Favorite part: Will you still wanna marry me when I come of age
4. "Who's Looking For A Lover" by Michael Jackson, (unsure!) Michael Jackson: Gold (2008)
- Favorite part: Somebody older, somebody bolder, wants to get hold of me
5. "Ain't No Sunshine" by Michael Jackson, Got to Be There (1972)
- Favorite part: ain't no sunshine when she's gone (of course)
6. "Love is Here and Now You're Gone" by Michael Jackson, Got to Be There (1972)
- Favorite part: The spoken bits are adorable but I like into your arms I fell so unaware...
7. "Greatest Show On Earth" by Michael Jackson, Ben (1972)
- Favorite part: spinning carooouuussseeeelllls
8. "That's What Love is Made Of" by Michael Jackson, (unsure!) Anthology: The Best of Michael Jackson (1995)
- Favorite part: You take snakes and snails, some puppy dog tails
9. "You Can Cry On My Shoulder" by Michael Jackson, Ben (1972)
- Favorite part: Big girls ain't supposed to cry, if you do I'll understand
10. "Melodie" by Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson: Gold (2008)
- Favorite part: Melodie, you're a symphony
11. "Morning Glow" by Michael Jackson, Music & Me (1973)
- Favorite part: Morning glow, fill the earth, come and shine for all your worth
12. "We're Almost There" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: Do it for me, do it for me
13. "Take Me Back" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: I want you to take me back
14. "One Day in Your Life" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: Just call my name and I'll be there
15. "Cinderella Stay Awhile" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: Now that you are here, stay awhile
16. "Just A Little Bit of You" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: Just a little bit of you every day will surely keep the doctor away
17. "We've Got Forever" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: And forever is meant for so very few
18. "Dapper Dan" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: Let's dance, dance with me
19. "Dear Michael" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: You'll probably never get this letter, Michael
20. "I'll Come Home to You" by Michael Jackson, Forever, Michael (1975)
- Favorite part: Wherever I go, I will be loving you
21. "Don't Let it Get You Down" by Michael Jackson, Motown Legends: Michael Jackson (1993)
- Favorite part: Don't it seem like I know what I'm talkin' about
22. "Farewell My Summer Love" by Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson: Gold (2008)
- Favorite part: Your grandma's house was next to mine, we were together most of the time
23. "Touch the One You Love" by Michael Jackson, Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection (2009)
- Favorite part: You got to touch the one you love if you want to the one you love to touch

Disc Three: Can you feel it? Can You Feel It? CAN YOU FEEL IT?*

1. "Can You Feel It" by The Jacksons, Triumph (1980)
- Favorite part: All the colors of the world should be loving each other in harmony
2. "Different Kind of Lady" by The Jacksons, Goin' Places (1977)
- Favorite part: I'm here to please you in every way I can
3. "Walk Right Now" by The Jacksons, Triumph (1980)
- Favorite part: I don't care what you're sayin', walk right now I ain't playin'
4. "Lovely One" by The Jacksons, Triumph (1980)
- Favorite part: Now the first time that I saw you walkin' down the street so pretty, gone with your bad self
5. "Show You the Way to Go" by The Jacksons, The Jacksons (1976)
- Favorite part: Please, please let me show you, let me show you the way to go
6. "State of Shock" by The Jacksons feat. Mick Jagger, Victory (1984)
- Favorite part: She put me on my knees, please, baby, please
7. "Torture" by the Jacksons, Victory (1984)
- Favorite part: Tell me what's your pain or pleasure
8. "Everybody" by The Jacksons, Triumph (1980)
- Favorite part: I love the way you shake your thing, you make me want some more
9. "Things I Do For You" by The Jacksons, Destiny (1978)
- Favorite part: I start screaming, shouting, and acting mad; no one can help me but myself
10. "Goin' Places" by The Jacksons, Goin' Places (1977)
- Favorite part: Michael in the beginning AnIanIanIanIanI!
11. "Do What You Wanna" by The Jacksons, Goin' Places (1977)
- Favorite part: Also the beginning with the Dananananadananananadanananana
12. "Think Happy" by The Jacksons, The Jacksons (1976)
- Favorite part: Isn't that blues guitar awesome? Yes it is.
13. "This Place Hotel" by The Jacksons, Triumph (1980)
- Favorite part: We walked up the stairs still concealing gloom, there were two girls sitting in my room.
14. "Destiny" by The Jacksons, Destiny (1978)
- Favorite part: The guitar intro, but also I want destiny, it's the place for me, yeah yeah
15. "Blues Away" by The Jacksons, The Jacksons (1976)
- Favorite part: You can't take my blues away, no matter what you say, what you say
16. "That's What You Get (For Being Polite)" by The Jacksons, Destiny (1978)
- Favorite part: Thinks he can't get out, somethin' deep inside of him, eatin' up the pride of him

*If you like this disc, please ask me for The Jacksons: Live (1981). I generally prefer studio album versions of songs, but if you like those then you'll love the blood, sweat, and tears that will burst through your speakers from The Jacksons: Live.

Disc Four: The Peak, The Pinnacle, The Practically Perfect (Well, the Also Awesome Songs Surrounding It)

1. "Say Say Say" by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, from the latter's album Pipes of Peace (1983)
- Favorite part: Standing here baptized in all my tears
2. "Ease On Down the Road" by Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, The Original Soundtrack to The Wiz (1978)
- Favorite part: And the steps you're taking leave you three, four steps behind
3. "You Can't Win" by Michael Jackson, The Original Soundtrack to The Wiz (1978)
- Favorite part: You can't win child, you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game
4. "Brand New Day" by Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, The Original Soundtrack to The Wiz (1978)
- Favorite part: Skip to 50 seconds in, and let it get under your skin. SO GOOD.
5. "Baby Be Mine" by Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982)
- Favorite part: Warm you in my arms and melt your fears away
6. "Girlfriend" by Michael Jackson, Off the Wall (1979)
- Favorite part: Tell him what you do to me late at night when the wind is free
7. "Working Day and Night" by Michael Jackson, Off the Wall (1979)
- Favorite part: You got me workin' day and night, and I'll be workin' from sun up to midnight
8. "Just Good Friends" by Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, Bad (1987)
- Favorite part: Before you make a big mistake remembahh that looks can fool you
9. "It's the Falling in Love" by Michael Jackson and Patti Austin, Off the Wall (1979)
- Favorite part: It's only gonna happen's the falling in love...
10. "Get On the Floor" by Michael Jackson, Off the Wall (1979)
- Favorite part: Get up! Wontchagoongetdownshakeyourbodywontchagoongetdown
11. "Burn This Disco Out" by Michael Jackson, Off the Wall (1979)
- Favorite part: So D.J. spins the sounds, there ain't no way that you're gonna sit us down
12. "Liberian Girl" by Michael Jackson, Bad (1987)
- Favorite part: The key change on Liberian girl, you know that you came and you changed my world
13. "Streetwalker" by Michael Jackson, unreleased Bad track (1987)
- Favorite part: The very beginning with the snapping and ooh-oohing. And I never met a girl just like you
14. "Speed Demon" by Michael Jackson, Bad (1987)
- Favorite part: Pull over boy and get your ticket right!
15. "Carousel" by Michael Jackson, unreleased Thriller track (1982)
- Favorite part: I lost my heart on the carousel to a circus girl who left my heart in pieces
16. "Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu (I Just Can't Stop Loving You)" by Michael Jackson and a nice Spanish-singing lady, maybe the original duetist, I don't know....Bad (1987)
- Favorite part: Are you kidding? ALL OF IT. I wish he'd covered all his stuff in Spanish...
17. "Someone in the Dark" by Michael Jackson (recorded around the time of Thriller (1982), but for the E.T. Storybook he narrated)
- Favorite part: It tells you never be afraid
18. "For All Time" by Michael Jackson, unreleased Thriller track (1982)
- Favorite part: If these words couldn't keep you happy, I'd do anything
19. "We Are Here to Change the World" from CAPTAIN EO (1986)
- Favorite part: IT'S CAPTAIN EO!

Disc Five: It's Kind of Like Godfather III, Good In and Of Itself, But Not Compared To What Came Before, And That Much More Depressing

1. "Keep the Faith" by Michael Jackson, Dangerous (1991)
- Favorite part: But the power's in believin'
2. "Come Together" by Michael Jackson, originally by The Beatles, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (1995)
- Favorite part: One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
3. "Scream" by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: The wicked guitar and then dance solo
4. "Money" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: Then watch the ones with the biggest smiles, the idle jabbers...'cause they're the backstabbers
5. "Gone Too Soon" by Michael Jackson, Dangerous (1991)
- Favorite part: I can't even think of one, much less listen to the song right now. (So dramatic, aren't I?)
6. "Childhood" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995) (Also from Free Willy 2)
- Favorite part: Another sobfest. This is so autobiographical for him it hurts to listen to it.
7. "Why You Wanna Trip On Me" by Michael Jackson, Dangerous (1991)
- Favorite part: Why, why, whyyyyy?
8. "She Drives Me Wild" by Michael Jackson, Dangerous (1991)
- Favorite part: The rap by Heavy D!
9. "Can't Let Her Get Away" by Michael Jackson, Dangerous (1991)
- Favorite part: If I let her get away, though I'm begging on my knees
10. "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: The sing-song at the end, even though it's hugely sad and dark. Though I always like What about elephants? Have we lost their trust? When did elephants trust us?
11. "Smile" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: The section before the electric drums come in.
12. "Stranger in Moscow" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: How does it feel, how does it feel, how does it feel
13. "This Time Around" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: This time around I'm taking no shit.
14. "Give In To Me" by Michael Jackson, Dangerous (1991)
- Favorite part: Love is a feeling, give it when I want it, 'Cause I'm on fire, quench my desire
15. "They Don't Care About Us" by Michael Jackson, HIStory: Greatest Hits, Vol.1 (1995)
- Favorite part: The percussion. Everything else is so sad.

Aren't we so impressed I kept it to 5 discs? The first recipient of this mix is my dearer than dear friend Kristen, who arrives in town today to be my roommate for the next 48 hours. I expect her to listen to nothing else when she drives back home.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 25: A promise is a promise.


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24.

Remember when I sorta promised that when I got to post 25 of my Favorite Michael Moments series I'd do the Motown 25th Anniversary performance of "Billie Jean" when Michael first debuted his Moonwalk to the public? I sort of figured that I'd be ready to move on to Thriller by then. I know I've posted about Bad and a little bit from Dangerous, but have overall stuck to Michael's younger work before Thriller made him the greatest selling African American artist of all time (with the greatest selling album EVER). It's just this kind of looming huge deal. I'm not ready! I've still got scores of stupendous Jackson 5 and Jacksons material to last us to my 125th post (you laugh, but...actually what you might be doing is forever removing my address off your blog roll)! Can't we wait and do it then? No, dear readers. A promise is a promise. Technically it was more an idea than a promise, but whatever. An idea is an idea.

What I can't promise is that this will bring the onslaught of Thriller posts that I know you've either been waiting for with bated breath or mildly curious about in relation to their total absence from this series. They're there, waiting for me with their timeless dance moves and legendary sounds and detailed back stories and iconic places in the History of Music For All Time. I'm coming for you, baby, I swear! I just have this strong urge to round out the circumference of The Masterpiece, you know? What came before and after. Oh, the amount of thought and planning I put into my obsessions. If only I'd become endlessly fascinated and concerned with the intricacies of mathematics or computers, a far more useful and richer person I would be today. Though I think I could do worse than the awesomeness we are about to revisit. Let's set the scene!

Pasadena, March 25, 1985. (Or May 16, when it actually aired on NBC. Either way.) Motown's greatest acts have reunited in front of a live studio audience to celebrate the anniversary of the famous label, titled Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever (does this remind anyone else of that worship song? Yesterday, today, and forever! You are the same! You never change!). We've got The Temptations. Marvin Gaye. Diana Ross and some version of her Supremes. Stevie Wonder. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Also in attendance: The Jackson 5. Dun-dun-dun!

I'm totally intimidated by the vast "Billie Jean" wikipedia page, and I suppose that's where my avoidance of the Thriller canon comes from: it's all been said, and by much stronger and more knowledgeable writers than I. I mean, it's fucking "Billie Jean." What can I say? I wasn't even alive when this song was recorded and released. It's considered one of the greatest songs EVER. Don't even get me started on the official video with the light-up sidewalk. *Sigh.*

So here's how the evening goes down. Michael joins his brothers for their usual Jackson 5 medley that was their signature cover-the-hits rendition at The Jacksons concerts, containing "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "I'll Be There." Lucky Randy, who as we know by now was a regular member of The Jacksons, got to join in. Michael has his single white glove, and is in more than fine form. His energy is off the charts. They bring the crowd to their feet. And when he holds hands with Jermaine! And all of them at 2:18. I know he better be good to you. Oh, sweet moses. At the end they hug, they embrace, there's a semi-standing O...

The brothers exit stage left. Michael remains. He chats a bit about how much he likes the old songs. But then he pauses, puts his microphone in its stand and says "But especially I like...the new songs." FREEZE. Keep in mind that when this performance was recorded and aired, "Billie Jean" was well into its 9 week reign at #1. I'm not sure, but I believe the video--the first by a black artist to be shown on MTV--was already in heavy rotation. Un-freeze!

The crowd erupts, the drum beat starts, and on goes the fedora--history in the making! He's lip-syncing, but who the hell cares? His stage presence is at once commanding and mesmerizing. He's owns the audience and knows it. The whole section between 3:35 and 3:45 is so jam-packed with his signature moves. It's only ten seconds in time. The Moonwalk itself lasts maybe 3 seconds. I think I'm even more impressed whenever he goes up on his toes (mostly because unlike my weak moonwalk, I still can't do that). He was a freaking force.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 24: Just remember whatever makes you feel that way, don't you worry cause I'm gonna stay right by your side

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23.

Did anyone else sob uncontrollably in their car to this song as they drove home from their dry run* to their medical center in First Hill last night? Lovely sunset, I must say.

"Lookin' Through the Windows" was written by Hal Davis for the Jackson 5's 5th studio album by the same name released in May 1972. This is another one of their songs that I generally like the whole of, but cherish a particular segment of. That part, as you might have guessed, is in the title of this post. The song is slow and groovy, and then jumps up in tempo for the chorus and is sung so beautifully by Michael: Just remember whatever makes you feel that way, don't you worry 'cause I'm gonna stay right by your side. Love it. Over and over and over. I also like the zat-dat-dat-dat-dat-dah's towards the end.

Her's an almost live version from the Sonny and Cher show (skip to 1:24):

*When I'm especially stressed about a drive to somewhere unknown that I must arrive on time at (blech to my sentence structure there), I tend to do a dry run of the trip to calm my nerves. I can just get there when I get there, estimate how early I'll need to leave the next day, get familiar with my exit and street signs, and scout my parking options. I'm not Type A so much as paranoid.

And thank God I did this, because I accidentally wrote down the instructions for coming from I-5 north (so from the south) instead of from the north (so I-5 south). Totally clear? So last night I followed the online directions from the website to take the Dearborn exit to James St. rather than just taking the James St. exit itself, landing smack-dab in the middle of some kind of International district celebration involving closed streets and flashing firetrucks and assloads of pedestrians topped off with a conniption suffered by yours truly. But I got out alive, found the clinic, and drove home crying to this amazing song! And the pretty sunset.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 23: Get up! Wontchagoongetdownshakeyourbodywontchagoongetdown!

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22.

'Cause there's a chance for chances, and the chance is choosin.' My thoughts exactly.

"Get On the Floor" was written by Michael Jackson and his bassist Louis Johnson for Off the Wall.* Isn't that cool? I think that's so cool. Johnson also played bass on "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and one of the most famous basslines EVER: "Billie Jean."

Yes, I am still obsessed beyond belief with ze disco beats, but I promise Thriller and all its audible delights is just around the corner. I'm also thinking I'll do a couple songs from HIStory. Unheard of! Depressing! But we'll go for it anyway. But ah, while we're here in the disco, how can anything in life be wrong or distressing? Let your fears and pain and sadness and uncomfortable medical exams melt away with the beat. Here I am, dance floor; take me now!

Besides the obvious reasons as to why this song is a treat for the senses (the horns, the strings, the unbelievable bass line!), we have a fantastic 'rap' from Michael, as well as some of the deepest singing I believe he ever recorded as an adult artist. His "then why don't you just dance across the floor" is such a departure from his usual falsetto, I had to triple check that it was him. And the rap! The rap brings me back to this song again and again. It starts out low and quiet at 2:29, just a whisper in the background of the chorus. It disappears for a horn solo, and then it's just the backbone of the percussion and a synth(?) at 2:52. Something's comin'! You don't what it is, but it is gonna be great!

At 2:59 the bongos enter with some vocalizing. A bit of strings, and then 3:07 he starts out small:

Get up. Wontchagoongetdownshakeyourbodywontchagoongetdown. (3x)

But on the third time, the music builds with his rising volume and intensity.

Wontchagoongetdownwontchagoongetdownwontchagoongetdown OW!

And it begins again, but stronger, fiercer!


He repeats it with more sass and variation as he goes, once again building to an exclamation. The chorus starts again, and he adds an adorable laugh after 'floor' that is so precious I can't even handle it.

*Are you nervous I'm going to do every song from Off the Wall? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I might.

"The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority,"

is unacceptable."

"The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views."

- Jimmy Carter severes his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after six decades


This probably should have gone in the journal rather than the blog, but oh well.


I spoke with my therapist last week about why I might be obsessing over Michael Jackson since his death. What was I allowing it to help me grieve? Or distract me from? I honestly couldn't think of anything, but I do know that as much as I might cry over Michael and the loss of him, I get such a high from rediscovering his music and blogging about it. I've been sitting and blogging for hours about his music, forgetting to eat and putting off sleep. All my senses alert, my mind abuzz, full of energy and often covered in goosebumps. But nothing specific came to mind as to what I was replacing or avoiding by pouring so much time and energy into these posts and listening/viewing sessions.

The day after that session with my therapist, I went to see my new doctor for a physical. They took blood (I could never really be with a vampire, I cried through the whole thing), other routine things like weight, blood pressure, etc. But when she went to do a pap smear and perform my first pelvic exam, all I heard was some humming and hawing from her. This worried me, obviously. She stopped abruptly, and said that there wouldn't be a pap this time, but rather she was going to order an ultrasound for my pelvis and abdomen before anything else.

On Thursday I went to the hospital for my ultrasound. Before I went I prayed that God would help prepare me for whatever it was they would find (or not find). The technician was very nice. She had trouble locating many of my abdominal organs, and when she thought she did she brought in a male radiologist to help affirm her findings. He was also slightly unsure of what shadows were what. The images reminded me of an under the sea scene. It turns out I have two cysts. One is pressing on my uterus and lower colon, the other's location, though smaller in size, is still unclear to me. The ultrasound alone took two hours. When I left I felt empty and cold. I wanted to go home, but the work day wasn't over so I decided to return. I put on The Jackson 5 in my car as I drove back to work, and I immediately felt better thinking of the blogging I could do on Michael later. I also had a wonderful friend over for dinner that evening, which helped as well. But I find it interesting that the initial solace I craved was in digging in to Michael Jackson's music.

Everyone in my appointments that I've dealt with so far have been wonderful, kind, and sensitive to me, but I do feel very alone. It's such an intimate kind of issue that I don't really feel like it's something I can share with many people about (so what do I do? I share it with the internets! They can't see me crying!). I know I'm not the only one to deal with stuff like this; I have a few friends who know what this (and much harder) is like, and I am so lucky to have them. I've been having dreams about dying. There's nothing wrong with me yet that is in any way threatening my life, but this whole thing puts my frame of mind about my body in a weird place. Hopefully the cysts can just be removed all on their own, and nothing will be too affected, and if anything is, it's no big deal--the important thing is being healthy and alive, no matter what may be removed or disabled.

On Monday I have an appointment with a surgeon, and have been told that she will likely order a CT scan or an MRI in light of my murky ultrasound. Who knows? Maybe those weren't cysts, but bubbles! Or they were, and they're totally removable and in a few months I'll look back on all of this with gratitude. Or maybe this will be hard and traumatic for me and I'll just work through it. What I do know is that in these hours and days when I'm not with my wonderful family or friends, but am alone and could be absolutely freaking out and drawing up wills and calling everyone I've ever met to say goodbye or sobbing in the fetal position, I'm having a blast writing about this particular lyric from that Jacksons song or a move from that Michael Jackson video. So if you're beyond tired of those Favorite Michael Moments posts, I'm sorry, but they're kind of helping me keep my shit together right now, and I thank God for that.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 20: Disco so good it makes me cry (though we all know it doesn't take much)


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19.

It feels like it's been ages since I did a FMM post. I went a whole 24 hours, people.* It was hard, but sometimes self-control is important. But we're back! Back with a Jackson 5 song so good you'll feel like you got a suntan from a disco ball. So good you'll want to bathe yourself in glitter and dance in a cage. So good that you might cry. Just a little!

"Forever Came Today" was written in 1967 as a ballad for Diana Ross & the Supremes, but was recorded and stolen like a thief in the night by the Jackson 5 as a disco song in 1975. Writing team Holland-Dozier-Holland consider it one of their best songs, and I heartily agree. It's so good I want to hold it in my hands (if such a thing was possible). I'm not able to articulate what uses of musical elements were employed to make it so, but its mood makes me jealous of the singer's love. I want to live in this song. And definitely dance to it.

It's absolutely unheard of, but my favorite part of the song isn't sung by Michael, but by Marlon (that's how good the song is! It transcends my frightening obsession!). It's a the end of the chorus when he sings "it came today, forever came to today." It kills me.

Here's the scrumptious album version (available in two separate versions from the combo albums of Moving Violation and Dancing Machine that you can get together for ONLY $7.99 on iTunes), and here is a live (really live) performance in Mexico, 1975:

Their energy is off the charts. Just when I think nope, that's it, we're done, no more Jackson 5 songs, I revisit another gem like this one and I have no choice. Jackson 5 FTW. For. The. Win.

*I had a two hour long medical exam yesterday, and while the technician was very nice, I felt so empty when I was done and very alone. Fortunately I had a very fun evening ahead of me, but as I drove away from the hospital all I could think was how I wanted to blog about Michael Jackson so I could feel better.

Good times


Good times are whenever a radiologist uses the word "awfully" when describing part of your body. Good times.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 18: There ain't no way that they're gonna sit us down


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17.

Ah, forgotten gems. Forgotten to me, that is. "Burn This Disco Out" is the last track on Off the Wall, and it ends the album with a punch of funky disco (those horns!). In the same vein as "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps, the main theme is dancing destruction. I think I love it because each section, from verse to refrain to chorus has its own unique beat and rhythm, so it creates this repeated feeling of "Oooh, this part...Oh, this part!...And this part, ah!" And can you believe Michael's background vocals? So deep for him! It may have been the first album he really introduced his falsetto singing, but it also features some of his deepest singing since before his voice changed.

It's so fun to dance to that it's amazing it wasn't released as a single. Seriously, try to sit still.

Favorite Michael Moments, Part 17: So you're telling me that you *don't* weep openly over songs about telepathic rats? Huh.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16.

I currently have a CD in my car with "Ben" on it. And unless I want to take the Tear Train to Cry County, I have to press that skip button. It was recorded in 1972 for a movie of the same name about a bullied boy and his pet telepathic rat who becomes his best friend. The stuff of most chart-topping ballads, it ain't. I mean, a love song to a rat? Um, thanks but no thanks. But oh, when lovingly, tenderly, heart-breakingly caressed in the voice of our dear young Michael (14 at the time), I would be thrilled to have it played at my (imaginary) wedding; it's that's well-sung.

The song went on to be nominated for an Oscar (so technically Michael was Oscar-nominated!) and win a Golden Globe. It was also the first #1 hit for Michael as a solo artist. I don't really need to go into how personal this song must have been for Michael, as we know he was a very lonely child (he said he used to weep from loneliness), not to mention his strong feelings of closeness to animals (Bubbles!). Oops, there I went into it.

I swear to you, I cannot decide which version saddens me more: little Michael or older Michael. In addition to the promo performances on television shows he performed the song on the Destiny/Triumph tours with his brothers. Of course I must present all of them to you, as is my duty (and I am a slave to duty). First up is the studio album version:

And now older Michael live in 1975 (his voice is changing, and let's just say he puts Peter Brady's voice-changing to SHAME). But the real winning older Michael version is from the Triumph Tour in 1981, when he had mastered the song beyond belief (there's a long intro, feel free to jump through to a minute in. I don't...I love to hear him speak!):

I'm so torn because young Michael sings the song like a child to an imaginary friend or an actual pet; it's a child's feeling of being outcast and finally finding a friend. Adult Michael, on the other hand, sings it with such grown-up desperation for connection and fierce conviction: "I don't listen to a word...they say!" (2:53). How can you choose between his quiet, child-like sobriety and him singing the hell out of it?

What do you think? I think I need to perform an experiment, where I catch all my tears from both versions and then compare volumes.

I can't finish this post without telling you that in high school I thought this song was about Michael and I, and how people didn't see him "like I do" but I wished "they would try to" and how now it was us, now it was we.*

*Yes, I am talking with my therapist about all this. Life-changing self discoveries about my intense attachments to famous people, coming right up!