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Michael Jackson… one year later

It is still unbelievable that Michael Jackson no longer lives and already a year has passed since that fateful day.

entertainment Updated: Jun 25, 2010 14:33 IST
Luke Kenny

Michael jacksonThat’s the funny thing about time. Things that have happened just yesterday seem so distant, and some things that happened decades or even centuries ago, feel so close in comparison.

It is still unbelievable that Michael Jackson no longer lives and already a year has passed since that fateful day. The world lost an artist, an entertainer, a performer, but most of all, a friend. A man who was still a child at heart and whose obsession to retain that innocence led to many complexities.

I am often amazed to see kids today emulating Michael’s moves on TV reality shows. They have not lived through the prime of his career in the ’80s and the ’90s, let alone the ’70s. Every nuance, every move, his clothes and, most of all, his music, live on.

I find it odd that when a great artiste passes, one talks of having ‘lost’ them ‘before their time’. I then realise that the artiste has probably contributed as much as they could. Would Kurt Cobain still be relevant if he were alive today? I don’t think so. Similarly, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix.

Look at all the other great stars from their era that were popular at the same time. They have all faded away today. Today’s generation knows of Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix, but do they know of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young or even Billy Corgan or Eddie Vedder, outside of the rock scene?

Which is why we remember Michael Jackson. Two things that defined him as an artist were the albums, Thriller and Bad. But Dangerous defined him as an artist with a voice. With Thriller and Bad, Michael took us on a wild ride. But with Dangerous, he got personal.

With Dangerous, he went white physically, while his music got darker. Themes like infidelity, (In the closet, Who is it?), media interference (Why you wanna trip on me, Black or white), his pleas for world peace (Heal the world, Will you be there), elegies for lost friends (Gone too soon) were all mixed up with simple fun tracks like Jam, Remember the time, Give in to me (although these might be cryptic too). He made the world sit up and look at him differently.

Losing hope
But sadly, his obsessions took a wrong turn after that, and things would never be the same again. Although he did bounce back with History for a short while, the damage was done. The musical decline of Blood on the dancefloor and Invincible are witness to that.

Which brings us back to ‘losing’ an artist. As was visible throughout his court appearances, Michael’s life was slowly slipping away. even with the ‘This is it’ concerts, the pressure of pulling off 10 shows (which jumped to 50) was too much for a man on pharmaceutical crutches at the age of fifty. But when the artiste is gone, the art remains.

For it just so happens that, for 25 years, the world was happier because of one person’s life and commitment to making us sing, shout, dance and walk on the moon. And that person will always be Michael Jackson… If I may say so.