Rest in peace Michael

mjIf you didn’t hear yet, they are reporting that Michael Jackson died. Michael was a true genius and you guys know how much I always dreamed and speculated about the great things he could still do. Well it looks like I’ll miss out on that. I’m devastated about this news so forgive me if I don’t get those reviews I promised up for a bit, I can’t really think about that shit right now.

thanks everybody

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39 Responses to “Rest in peace Michael”

  1. by the way, fuck MTV for showing reruns and reality shows right now. They’d all be working at a hot dog stand if there was no Thriller.

  2. Take a break Vern. You’ve earned it. TF2 can wait.

  3. An incredible legend. Hopefully this will rejuvenate cultural interest in and fondness for his career. Ever since he became a has-been about 10 years ago, seems even his remarkable achievements have been deemed irrelevant by pop culture at large, which is hard to believe considering, as Vern rightly pointed out, what a genius he was. He was just a go-to joke for all his eccentric behavior, but he deserved better no matter what a kook he was in his private life. RIP sir

  4. Dude, I am wrecked. I’ve been listening to the Jackson 5 and drinking since I heard the news.

  5. been listening to Off The Wall since I heard the news. i’m not pretending to come out of the woodwork as his greatest fan. but i do really love a lot of his music, and the man isn’t leaving my stereo for a long while.

    we can all wait for a Transformers 2 review.

  6. I posted this at AICN and wanted to come here to chill out.MJ was the Don.The first Zombies I ever saw were in Thriller,nice1 MJ :>.The first time I watched that[Premiere Channel 4],I couldn’t stop drawing Zombies all weekend lol…….Everything up to Bad is immortal to me.Trailblazer.Al Sharptons words were real and express many things about how he transcended race and in a way moved the world forward.I never thought I’d see the day………….Then I left a link of one day in your life and can you feel it on my facebook………..Safe everytime Vern.

  7. yeah vern take a break. you’ve been championing his genius since i can remember. can’t wait to have you back. and FUCK mtv man.

  8. Jackson’s record sales and universal appeal in the Reagan Decade could only compare to the Beatles in the 1960s, or Elvis in general.

    In that regard, he was a true INTERNET Idol. No not in the literal technological term, but in that as a centralized musicography that earned a fanbase that crossed social-economical, religious, national, languages, cultural…..all across the world. Much like the Beatles.

    Consider the message boards I fuck around in when the news broke. I read touching eulogies posted from people in France, Finland, China, etc. At the Apollo Theatre, where an improvtu crowd has gathered to honor The Glove by dancing and singing his tunes, CNN interviewed this dude from Ecudaor going off in his fractured English of why Jackson was the shit.

    Hell I even got an email from my buddy in Iran…yes IRAN…telling me how this was a punch to his stomach.

    And for the record and to be fair, after the death was confirmed, MTV halted its programming to play hours worth of his music videos to honor him. I wouldn’t be shocked if the current management, or alot of those execs now there, grew up with THRILLER and OFF THE WALL, and knew this was the right thing to do at the right time. At 9 ET, they aired a live MTV News special about it.

    Though I much prefered how BET handled it. Kinda moving hearing rapper Ludacris (from Paris) calling in to talk about it, and he audibly was upset by it.

  9. Aw Vern. I ran to your website because I knew
    you’d understand how I feel, and be able to put that
    sadness and disbelief into writing. I grew up with MJ.
    When I was eleven I had his fresh-out-of-Sixteen
    magazine posters on my wall. I was first in line
    to buy Off The Wall. I am devastated. Thanks for giving the
    King of Pop the respect he’s earned!

  10. I am deeply saddened by this, and the responses I’ve seen by my friends and coworkers has been completely disrespectful. I hope that if his death does nothing else, it at least prompts new interest it his work. He is a lot more than a collection of eccentricities. The man was a genius. Hopefully he is remembered in our collective conciousness more for his work than the tabloid covers. Sad day.

  11. Amen to that, Vern. I’m not sure how much of my respect MTV has left to lose, but if they disown an icon so essential to their history like that, I disown them. Michel Gondry often spoke of wanting to do a Michael Jackson video as a dream project of his–another amazing idea that will remain a dream. You’re far from the only one who longed to see him fly artistically again. I’m in pain at the thought of final co-working honors going to Will.i.am, but then again I’m in pain at every aspect of this news. Just got done listening to “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)” for the fourth time and I didn’t know whether to dance or cry. What a sad day.

  12. I guess maybe MTV just didn’t think of the west coast. Over here they were showing Futurama and Viva la Bam for hours. But now they’re playing the videos.

    Damn, didn’t know about Michel Gondry’s dream, that would’ve been amazing. I always thought Mr. Questlove of the Roots should’ve produced an album for Michael since he’s obsessed with Off the Wall. And you know about my Julie Taymor dream. I guess they were always just dreams anyway, but they had that one in a million chance before.

    Damn, every two minutes I suddenly remember this is real. My brain is not ready to accept it yet.

    Thanks RRA for the comment about your email from Iran, that’s incredible.

    thanks everybody

  13. I guess I have to admit that I’d given up hope that he would return to music (or even wanted to), but this is a really sad cap on a very tragic story. It would have been great if he had been able to come back and show all those snarky assholes why he was famous in the first place. To my taste, his discography is all over the place, with some obvious lows, but few artists have ever reached such highs. A very sad day, indeed.

    And yeah, take your time on those reviews, man.

  14. It’s a testament to how huge of a talent he was, that he could be so thoroughly tarred-and-feathered in the media and still manage to elicit such an outpouring of heartfelt praise from people of all cultures and nations. I wasn’t even a particularly huge MJ fan, but I have to pay respect to the life of a guy who had such crazy ups and downs and not only redefined his craft, but made it look easy. He was a legend in a world where legends aren’t easily made anymore.

  15. BlackFrankWhite

    June 25th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Ain’t no sunshine. R.I.P Michael.

  16. Sitting down doing homework and thinking, it really did just up and hit me. Michael Jackson is dead. Like I didn’t fully believe it before or didn’t quite grasp what had happened. Michael Jackson is dead. Now that I realize it, it has kind of kicked me in the ass and has me kind of down. Reading comments and memories from people on the internet hasn’t helped. But damn. I don’t know if he’s a pedophile or not and it’s unlikely we’ll ever get the full stories and in that regard I don’t know what to think of him as man, especially as he retreated into his self-made fantasy world more and more in later years. But I do know he was great artist and it saddened me that he seemed to have given up on music for some reason. In that respect it seems even more odd that I grieve his loss because I loved the artist that has long since been gone and not the tabloid-fodder that he had became. No matter contemplating such thoughts because it doesn’t change the fact that we lost a great artist and, for better or worse, a very interesting character. Unlike many celebrities today and even back then, one can actually understand and see how this man touched so many people of so many different cultures and backgrounds through his art. He somehow transcended the color-barrier which is as a Southerner I can state is nothing short of a miracle in and of itself.

    We never had someone quite like Michael before and I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone quite like him again.

  17. Yeah, it sucks that these kids these days don’t really know how big Micheal was in the eighties. He was the coolest guy inthe world when I was a lad and I loved everything he did in those days. Thriller was the first time I saw a zombie too. I remember how it was a big deal whenever it was on. They had a making of documentary before it and I remember everyone getting together just to watch it. There is really nothing to compare it to. Seriously, maybe Beatle-mania? If you weren’t around yet, it’s really hard to explain how huge the guy was. Glad everyone on this board is being respectful.

  18. I’ve got to say that with all the scandal it’s amazing to me that there seems to be so much love out there for the passing of a true musical genius. I won’t dismiss what happened to him later in life but he is the greatest entertainer to ever grace the stage. I’m sure some will argue that point, but there is no way you can deny his impact. Thriller is the album/cd most identify him with but I still think his best work was Off The Wall and I still listen to it to this day. I’m 36 and I was too young to appreciate at the time but it is timeless music that I will play when I’m 70.

    RIP Mike and just enjoy yourself because life and so bad after all!!!!!

  19. put aside other things and listened to the whole trilogy tonight.
    still hasn’t really sunk in.

  20. It never entered my brain that he could die. He’s just one of those people that didn’t seem human. George Carlin was the same way. At least with Carlin, he was gettin’ up there in age so I guess in the back of my mind I kind of expected it, but Michael Jackson just came out of nowhere. I’m not even sure I believe he really is dead, it just seems like an elaborate ruse.

    Of course it isn’t so R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

  21. This is Ragnarok, the Gods are starting to die. R.I.P. Moonwalker.

  22. Maybe Julie Taymor will finally do some crazy Jackson-related extravaganza, but it’ll be a posthumous thing now.


  23. R.I.Paedo… or did everyone forget that?

  24. …I don’t think I’ve ever been this devastated by the death of someone I never met. This feels like the true death of the 20th Century. RIP Michael, the world really isn’t the same place without you in it.

  25. It is such a great loss that a man with great talent like Michael Jackson dies. RIP King of POP

  26. I don’t know if this is true, but its being reported that MJ in his will left the Beatles catalogue that he owns back to McCartney. Of course I thought MJ sold it all off to Sony, so who knows?

    Also, I’m noticing that MJ might have the same “nostalgia” memory that Elvis had. When Elvis croaked, he was of course drugged-up, bloated, sweaty, etc. Yet the Elvis people in 1977 remembered was the Elvis of the Comeback special, or that Hawaii shit. As if he never aged or got worse. Plus the estate was behind licensing only that iconography.

    So if the right people manage MJ’s estate, we might not necessarily think first of Whacko Jacko or his Halloween disguise…but the BEAT IT Jackson with the red jacket….or back when the disease didn’t deprive him of his black pigment.

  27. Got this great bit from a French friend regarding the reaction over there today:

    “the french informations TV (I-tele, LCI, france 24 etc….) are all in a MJ mode today…..to show you a little the impact outside US. mcm, mtv, mtv base, mtv pulse, mtv idol, virgin 17, m6 music black …all those channels are in a full MJ mode today with many of his clips, songs. ”

    Also, the LAPD are looking for the “missing” doctor who was with the Gloved One when he was picked up by the ambulance. His car got towed yesterday. Here comes the circus!

  28. Jam — interesting idea.

    Would anyone here be interested in a Julie Taymor Jackson biopic? I think her “Frida” is one of the most fantastic and respectful biopics of an artist I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure she’d get the most out of Jackson’s songs. On the other hand… Jackson’s life has always been so public that I guess there’s not much story left to tell, especially since the man at the center of it all is so opaque.

    Its certainly an amazing story, but I can’t decide if it would be worth retelling in film…

    One thing that’s been on my mind these last two days is just thinking about how ambitious Jackson was. Except maybe the Beatles, I don’t think there has ever been an artist who took such a daring artistic approach to POP music. Now, people are going nuts for Green Day just because they stole a couple of Who riffs and wrote a vague pop opera. Jackson’s work was so much more daring and challenging than just about anyone else – from the videos to the song topics to the structure of the songs themselves. In a way, it kind of demonstrates how little we expect from pop music these days (sure, there are still artists challenging us and creating amazing new stuff, but they’re all niche and genre artists now) and how much it once had the power to change everything, at least in the hands of a truly remarkable visionary and performer. I think maybe a movie which focused on his period of mind-blowing creativity would be better than one which tried to explain his later years…

  29. Oh yes, Green Day “praise”…well, what you expect in a void? In such a vacumm, decent attempts at some ambition is seen as epic and grand.

    To me, if you took 90% away The Clash’s ambition, 75% away of their sharp political convictions, and 99% away of their overall musical range and talent…you would get Green Day. They can fuck off for all I care.

    So yeah, I totally agree with you mate…or at least on MJ at his tight peak with Quincy Jones before everything went to hell…and I would think that happened after BAD. Though he still did some good shit, like obviously “Smooth Criminal.”

    As for a Jackson biopic, well it’s inevitable, whatever it works or appropriate or is even necessary. Speaking of which, I hated that his demo duet with Freddie Mercury (which I think was supposed originally to be part of THRILLER) never got released or even finished. Its still on YouTube, I believe.

  30. Interesting fact: Currently 20 of the top 50 iTunes songs are Michael Jackson tracks, “Man in the Mirror” and “Thriller” are #2 and #3, behind Black Eyed Peas.

  31. RRA – for the record, I have plenty of fondness for “Dookie,” which is pretty much everything it sets out to be. Fun, a little stupid, with some keen pop chops. Hell, it sort of has its own genius in a way… after all, it sort of birthed its own genre of pop punk with its success. Not sure if that’s really a good thing, but at least its a legacy.

    The problem is, when Green Day is the most ambitious band in the room…. things have gotten pretty bad.

    Its funny you mention the Clash, because now that I think about it, before Jackson came along they may have been the sharpest, most daring pop act of their day. Pity their legacy is something as derivative as the new generation seems to be. The Clash were about exploration, while all anyone seems to be able to do these days is recycle the stuff which is already certified “classic.”

    And really, Jackson was about exploration too. About creating something bizzare and amazing which no one had ever attempted before. I mean, you certainly have to cite Quincy Jones, Jackson’s songwriters, musicians, and other contributers as part of the genius. But without Jackson’s fearlessness, ambition, and consummate showmanship, it could never have come together. I think he was so larger-than-life at his prime that he brought the grandest possible visions out of those he was working with too, which is an amazing ability all in itself. I hope that his death reawakens that spirit in the next generation of pop musicians.

  32. This is some fucking hard news to take. Coming from someone that grew up with his music and lived in the “Urban” side of Chicago I know all too well the impact of this.
    Funny thing was when this news hit I was at work and the difference was night and day when it came to peoples reactions , younger kids didnt seem to care while us older folk almost where in tears.

    Was truly a bad day for Pop music , it will never be the same nor will we ever see someone of color be able to break the walls down with their music like Micheal did.

  33. Mr. Subtlety – And you’re right about MJ. I just think…and mind you, I dont have any empirical proof or anything, but I have this notion that Quincy was creatively a big brother: Great supervisor who if needed will dish out tough love to MJ, you know kick his ass and keep him on point. But thats my opinion, and definately not everyone will agree with me there.

    As for The Clash, you are correct. Their “legacy” for most folks seem to be their debut album and LONDON CALLING. Now both are fucking classics, but if “punk” stalled in 1979 and LC gave it a good ass-kicking into a possible right charismatic fresh direction…SANDINISTA! was their march towards that direction. Unfortunately nobody followed them, and The Clash basically retreated. I mean COMBAT ROCK is a pretty good album, but by their standards…below them. Though I must say, Mick Jones’ original version of that album (which you can find on YouTube) is good shit.

    Yes SANIDNISTA! aint perfect and at times, its experimental-dubbing-filler junk. But when its on fire with inspirational exploration….”Somebody Got Murdered”…”Hitsville U.K.”…”The Street Parade”…”Police on My Back”…”The Call-Up”…”Lose This Skin”…”The Leader”…”One More Time”…”Ivan Meets G.I. Joe”*…”Rebel Waltz”…”The Equalizer”…and of course “The Magnificent Seven,” the first hip-hop single released by a white music act.

    So yeah, victory and warts and all, I’ll go to my grave calling SANDINISTA! one of the great albums ever produced. Just too bad that people won’t bother to give it a chance. A shame really.

    *=a “punk” act doing disco…and making it rock. Unbelievable.

  34. RRA — couldn’t agree with you more. I love Sandinista! because although it does crash sometimes (someone really should have taken their lasers away), it only does so because its so relentlessly forging new territory. Really, you have to wait all the way until something like “Off the Wall” before you see anything so wild again (at least, anything which was targeted at a large audience). And after that.. I guess the next big thing might be… um. Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet”, maybe? Or Dre’s “The Chronic”? But even that wasn’t exactly aimed at the mainstream. Maybe Radiohead’s “OK Computer” or “Kid A” would qualify. And maybe something like Gnarls Barkley today. But still, its in no way as ambitious as Sandinista! or some of MJs early work. And today, with Genre and Niche musicians edging out the mainstream acts, making such unique, work-intensive and experimental music is even rarer for the pop scene.

    Your point about Quincy Jones is well taken too. Its always important to remember that genius is almost always a collaborative process. With MJ and Joe Strummer now dead, their legend as geniuses is now secure. But it was the Joneses –Quincy and Mick– who were there in the background bringing out the best in them. Without that guiding collaborative process, both guys ended up working with folks who either didn’t know or didn’t care how to direct their energy and creativity into something classic (witness “Cut the Crap” where Bernie Rhodes took the helm or Jackson’s uneven and unfocused “Invincible”).

  35. Oh CUT THE CRAP…urgh. Man poor Strummer, he admitted firing Jones was the dumbest fucking decision he ever made. No shit Joe. Though to be fair, Strummer’s original demo for “This is England” is actually good…Rhodes just made it into a drum-machine beating crass goofball pop tune.

    But what’s been done, has been done. The Clash still turned out 3 classic masterpiece albums, and two pretty good ones (GIVE’EM ENOUGH ROPE and COMBAT ROCK) that most bands would consider their career best work.

    And thus they’re remembered for all that, much like Jackson is remembered for OFF THE WALL, THRILLER, and BAD and other shit…..and not INVINCIBLE.

  36. RRA- have you seen “The Future is Unwritten”? I’d love to see Vern review it. Its sort of Strummer’s version of Toback “Tyson” doc… almost undulyharsh, honest look at the man behind the legend. It makes his firing of Jones and a lot of that stuff make more sense, even if it doesn’t necessarily make it seem like a good idea (and he doesn’t necessarily claim it was).

  37. yeah I’ve seen FUTURE and its a terrific documentary. Certainly was a dramatic puncture of the Clash Myth…yet in someways, actually made that whole lot even more fascinating.

    I mean “punk icon” Joe Strummer, born into a very comfortable upper-middle class family of a UK foreign diplomat, went to privliged private schools, and was a Hippie squatter before he got recruited into The Clash. Would have loved to have a time machine and witness that fateful pub gig where the newly-emerged Sex Pistols opened up for Strummer’s 101ers…Strummer realizing they kicked his ass, and he better catch up.

    But yeah, I would love to read Vern’s thoughts on THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN, but as well on The Clash in general. I’m sure at the very least, the fact that the group was the first mainstream (“white”) music act to embrace hip-hop, would interest him.

  38. er, sorry for the long delay — been away all week.

    Well, if you’ve seen “Future” you’ve probably seen the Dick Rude-directed “Let’s Rock Again” too — but if you havn’t, you should. Its all latter-day Joe, trying to keep the Mescaleros alive. He comes across as a very sweet, optimistic and thoughtful guy, nothing at all like the brash kid you can see in parts of “Future”. Look at the IMDB page for “Future” and you’ll see a lot of dissapointed Clash fans who hate to see their hero look less than heroic, but I actually find it a a very hopeful film which suggests that truly great people are not born, but shaped by a lifetime of experience and mistakes. Even when he wasn’t at his best, Joe’s genius was always in how aware of the world he was, and by the end of his life he learned enough to gain the wisdom that eluded him (and all of us) in youth. As evidence of this, I submit that some of the best music he ever made, he made with the Mescaleros late in his life (all three of their albums, but especially Global-a-go-go, are masterpieces as far as I’m concerned).

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