Favorite Michael Moments, Part 32: When he popped his collar at Sheryl Crow, thus driving me wild with jealousy/passion/desire


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, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31.

In honor of Sheryl Crow's upcoming appearance at Bumbershoot this weekend, I thought I'd do a FFM from when she sang back-up for him on the Bad tour. Michael looks good enough to freakishly-obsess-over-for-months here in a leather jacket and slight sheen of sweat on his forehead. Jackson's such a talented dancer that to see him without any choreography is a treat--he seems human and normal rather than this superhuman performer--especially in a love song/duet. This song was originally a duet with Siedah Garrett, who co-wrote "Man in the Mirror." Michael had originally wanted the duet to be with Barbra Streisand* or Whitney Houston, but neither were available (jerks).

The song is at once cheese-ball deluxe and guilty pleasure karaoke gold. It's certainly not his strongest song, but it's a joy to listen to. I liked it so much I put it in my lyrics book back in the day!

And yes, that is the part-creepy, part-hot spoken intro from the original mix of the song that is now conveniently left out in later versions. In case my hand-writing is too terrible, it reads:

I just want to lay next to you for a while
you look so beautiful tonight
your eyes are so lovely
your mouth is so sweet
a lot of people misunderstand me
that's because they don't know me at all
I just want to touch you and hold you
I need you--God, I need you
I love you so much

The live version we're about to watch also skips out on this awkward private moment, which might be for the best when you're in front of thousands of people. To the video!

It starts out with Michael singing alone, one hand in his pocket. He strolls shyly on the stage, head down--a total 180 from his flamboyant dancing persona that can't keep still, and probably closer to how he was offstage. But then he opens up his body, starts gesturing and snapping with his free hand, and adds a slight hip roll. Sheryl comes out singing, um, off-key, I guess? It could be her hair was so big she couldn't even hear her ear monitor thingy (I'm so technical). Good grief, can you imagine Michael Jackson bowing to your entrance on stage with him? Holy mother.

Sheryl's voice then was pretty different from how we're used to it now, but then she doesn't really do music like this. So they sing on their prospective sides of the stage, and you're like, where's the heat? Where's the passion? (Note Michael's face at 1:09. Gorgeous.) Sheryl moves closer to him...but even through the chorus they both sing to the audience. But look! When Michael begins the next verse he looks at her...Sheryl moves toward him, and then BAM!:

At 2:00 the camera fades to a close-up of Michael. He's looking stage left to Sheryl, silent. He uses both hands to lift his collar and pop it as he lowers his eyes and half-smiles as he begins his line. As if she could do anything else, Sheryl moan-sighs. He keeps smiling as he sings, and the spell is cast.
Where am I? Who am I? I don't care, I'M IN LOVE. Just listen to him singing 'this feeling's so strong' (2:15) and try not to die a little inside, it's so desperate and raw... Ok, now bring your attention (if you CAN) to 2:52, when Sheryl once again journeys closer to Michael on the stage. At exactly 2:57, Michael struts like a mofo over to her--touching his stomach, holding out his hand, only to meet her face to face for a musical climax that launches them back into the chorus.

Sadly, they separate again for the vocalization segment. Michael sounds like his younger self at 3:28, but from there things fade out in just an ok way. Until! Until the music stops and Michael is just turning around in his own spotlight, seemingly oblivious to Sheryl, who's just standing there. But then we learn it's now a Sing-Off-Of-The-Title contest. But of course Michael will win (I mean, he does his 'matador' stamping for goodness' sake). Look at his raised eyebrows at 4:41! Sheryl just looks like she's in pain. 5:05-5:12 = the best smile EVER. Until you see him 5:20, that is. Then they walk to each other and embrace. *Sigh*

*I mean, can you imagine? Gah!


Allie said...

You're right, this is a really captivating song. I want to make out with my boyfriend in the rain now.

Maryann said...

YES! That was my plan all along... :)