Michael Jackson – [CD/Blu-Rae]

Michael Jackson – [CD/Blu-Rae]

Friday, 22 April 2016

Michael Jackson
Off The Wall CD/Blu-Rae
It’s unlikely that anyone would ever attempt to downplay Michael Jackson’s importantce in pop music and pop culture history. In the era when pop and rock did battle for supremacy on radio and television airwaves, Michael Jackson – the youngest member of the Jackson 5 – elected to ignore the popular trends which dominated both and simply chart his own course using elements of both but sounding like niether. It worked beautifully too; after first hitting the airwaves alone in 1979, no one stood a chance against Michael Jackson. He set the standards for success, re-defined the parameters of pop (not only that, he made it okay to re-define the parameters of pop; after Jackson came Madonna, then Nirvana and then Green Day, followed by Korn, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears and more up through Miley Cyrus), took artistic risks which no one had dared to take previously and more. Simply put, Michael Jackson was rightly the King Of Pop from the release of Off The Wall in 1979 though 1991; through that period, no one could touch him but, even after Nirvana began the process of chipping away at the Jackson dynasty with the release of Nevermind, the singer’s name, reputation and catalogue still help sway until the singer’s passing in 2015. No artist has been able to hold the public’s imagination for the amount of time that Michael Jackson did in history; there’s no debating that point, it’s just a fact.

…And, in listening to the album, it’s still very easy to understand how it truly was the beginning of what could only be called everything we now refer to as the fabric of modern pop. While it does need to be conceded that there are a couple of anachronistic elements about songs like “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Burn This Disco Out,” “Working Day And Night” and “Get On The Floor” – like the the thin, synthy-sounding bass, the string flourishes and the straight-outta-disco minimalist guitar tones – which are impossible to separate from their late-Seventies vintage, the lush drums which are enhanced by Jackson’s own scat vocal patterns, the vocal melodies and song arrangements remain true works of art which no one other than Jackson himself has ever come close to replicating. Even now, these songs stand out as being attention-grabbing compositions and memorable hook-laden affairs, thirty-seven years later. In listening, even the most hardened critic will recognize that, regardless of personal taste, and respect it.

The above declaration reads as pretty unavoidable doesn’t it? It should – Michael Jackson’s name and work command respect, and that respect endures clearly through Journey From Motown to Off The Wall – the documentary film which accompanies the Legacy reissue of Off The Wall. In it, a host of the music industry’s biggest names who also have a connection with the album – including Quincy Jones, Gmable & Huff and Sammy Davis Jr. and Barry Gordy – line up in a very orderly fashion to pay both Jackson and Off The Wall tribute, but the really interesting this about the documentary proves to be how intrumental Jackson himself was in the composition of the songs as well as their presentation. It’s clear that Jackson wasn’t the same kind of hood ornament that many other pop stars tend to be; while he did not play many instruemtns, he articulated compositional ideas which were the back bones of the songs; other players were simply present to give life to what the singer envisioned. No question or possible deviation is made from that point, it is just a given; everyone who contributes opinions to this documentary is quick to confess that “everything was Michael’s idea and vision. Before long, the impression that the singer was a genius is left and presented so tightly that there is no debate about it.

It is for all of the reasons above that the fact it took over three decades to find an excuse to reissue Off The Wall is unfathomable. That the set includes a piece of chalk to draw “On The Wall” is a little ridiculous – the music and the documentary are all that is required here; they’re a must for longtime fans and those who are just beginning to develop a taste for pop music alike.


The Legacy edition reissue of Off The Wall is out now. Buy it here on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Off-Wall-DVD-Michael-Jackson/dp/B01A7EOJLY/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1466620989&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+jackson+-+off+the+wall

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