Well, here it is, folks. The “new” music video for the “new” Michael Jackson song from the “new” Michael Jackson album. After the decreasing commercial success of his records starting with under-expectation sales of 1991’s Dangerous and continuing to the “dropped off the radar before it had a chance to crash” commercial and critical failure of his last real album “Invincible,” Michael took some time to regroup and planned a big comeback tour, album and rumored residency in Las Vegas. It never happened due to his being dead.
We can talk about how he died of just “being Michael Jackson,” but in the end, he’s a father of three young kids who died and that’s sad. So, it would seem, was the desperation of his family to right his financial ship by digging into the vaults and finding anything worth releasing.
The first post-mortem album, just called “Michael Jackson,” was an uninspiring collection of throw-away demos. He was just doing his own guide vocals and didn’t put much effort into doing a good performance… so bland that many questioned whether it was actually Michael’s voice on the recordings. But this new album… or.. collection of songs… actually has a few good singles on it. This could have been Michael’s comeback record if his own ego would let it come out. Although that’s doubtful. The “must be huge a grandiose” edict he seemed to get after his 1987 album Bad would have trashed a simple record of simple but good songs like this long before it made it to public ears. Which is why these songs (most of which are very old recordings) are only just coming out now.
To me the saddest part is that this is by FAR the best single he’s released since the late 80s. It’s also the best video since the mid 80s.
What makes this video so good is that it harkens back to the days when his songs made us want to just turn up the radio and sing along. Maybe we couldn’t dance or sing as well as him (note that Justin Timberlake requires auto tune to complete some of the long vocal runs that Michael did so effortlessly), but the songs were infectious and made us all want to sing along.
His videos stopped being tolerable after Beat It. Bloated budgets, way to much dialogue and acting and special effects and Michael acting weird. I guess “Scream” is a very good video and the song was pretty good but they both fell into that trap of Michael’s fame angst that was irritating beyond words. This is an actual song that wasn’t about how hard it was for Michael to be famous or healing the world by hanging out with kids. And the video isn’t all about Michael trying to look Badass. At least we’re seeing the Michael we all loved. Before he was killed, arguably, by his own fame.