Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Essential Michael Jackson - Michael Jackson

just to give you an idea how i was not going to be deterred from buying this double album, the first time i saw “the essential michael jackson” at music one greenbelt, it was priced at 450 pesos. at that importune time, my funds were running low and buying a cd out of the blue seemed a wasteful extravagance. so i saved up some money and the next time i went to music one specifically intending to purchase the aforementioned cd, i find its price jacked up to 615 pesos. granted, it was a double disc with 38 songs so 615 bucks would still be worth it. and yet seeing the much lower price of four violet bills plus one red bill just a few weeks previously gave me reason to pause. am i about to be ripped off? did i just miss out on a great deal? in fantasy baseball terms, did i just do a “snub-magglio-ordonez-move”? but wait, i thought to myself. this is michael jackson we’re talking about; the legend himself; the king of pop. and therefore the correct attitude should be: if the amount inside my billfold could cover the expense, then i should pick up a copy of the record and march to the nearest cash register with nary a hesitation.

thus informed on the events prior to the purchase of the album, should everything i say about this double disc set be considered extremely biased, a futile effort in double standards, and therefore completely irrelevant? well does a baseball aficionado curious about seeing the winningest team in baseball play in their home turf a yankee fan make? i rest my case ……

my friend, tyrone described me in as intensity personified. there might even be some semblance of truth in this especially during my manic moments. but compared to michael, i’m as sedate as a bull shot with a million tranquilizer darts.

whereas the beatles would make girls swoon and faint with their boyishly good looks, michael does it with his unparalleled energy on stage.

that same intoxicating, invigorating, captivating and infectious energy is present in this record so don’t insert it on your cd player if you plan on playing something that you hope will lull you into a peaceful sleep. even some of the ballads here (e.g. “man in the mirror”, “will you be there”) are guaranteed to keep you emotionally alive and kicking unless you’re catatonic or suffering from deep, chronic depression (and maybe not even then).

my personal favorites from disc 1 are “abc” (a hit when michael was still with the jackson 5), “blame it on the boogie”, “don’t stop ‘til you get enough” (otherwise locally known as the classic “john and marsha theme song”), “she’s out of my life”, “the girl is mine” (michael’s now immortal duet with paul mccartney), “billy jean”, “beat it”, “wanna be startin’ somethin’”, “p.y.t. (pretty young thing)”, and “thriller”.

outstanding tracks on disc 2 include “bad”, “man in the mirror”, “dirty diana”, “another part of me”, “smooth criminal”, “black or white”, “in the closet”, and “will you be there” (the last part of this song where michael talks almost sobbingly was edited out of this version, and this came as a disappointment as i thought this was the high point and a fitting climax to the song).

as i said, the above mentioned songs were simply my favorites. i was not in any way trying to take on the gargantuan task of enumerating the entire line-up of 38 songs of the double disc.

twelve or thirteen years ago, my friend, trinity – a staunch michael jackson hater – and i were discussing the merits (or in his case, the demerits) of michael jackson’s “dangerous” cd. (this was an album, by the way, our mutual friend, hector had in tape format for portability reasons, and if i remember correctly, our other mutual friend, crab had in cd format for collection reasons. what can i say, it was a big hit during our college days.) i was trying to defend the album by saying that it had at least two great tracks (“black or white” and the original, unedited version of “will you be there”). but trinity simply shrugged off and scoffed at my argument saying that for any album, there’s bound to be one or two great songs no matter how bad the cd may be. i don’t begrudge him his opinion. he was never much into pop anyway. he’s the consummate rock fan, not to mention a skilled rock musician – and that’s why rob ironically and erringly attributes cake’s “rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle” to him.

but i bring this up as trinity – if we were to meet today would still invoke his disdain for michael jackson and for this relatively new cd in particular. he’ll probably claim that there’ll be a few good songs in it, but it’ll still be a lousy record as a whole and not worth his money even if he’s now a big time computer programmer. and once again, i will disagree with him citing as my reason that most of the songs from “the essential michael jackson” cd are great, and the mediocre songs are more of the exception rather than the norm.

and thus, two longtime music fans would never agree on this cd. so i leave the “rubber match vote” to the reader.

rating: 5 of 5 stars * * * * *
a highly emotional record that took 30 years to compile.

1 comment:

rob said...

Not a fan of Michael Jackson either though I can understand why many people like his music. Of all his songs, the only ones I liked were "Ben" and "Give Love on Christmas Day" (as part of Jackson 5).