Thursday, November 19, 2009

I just woke up to a song playing in my mind “Just Good Friends” by Michael Jackson. I used to love this song as a kid. Way back in the 80s my sister and I used to listen to a lot of music and MJ’s tapes were on our favorites list. I don’t remember the last time I heard this particular song, it was probably in the 80s only for when we shifted to our present home in 1991 February, we’d lost many of tapes including BAD. Besides I was getting into other kind of music by Guns n Roses, Eric Clapton, Color Me Badd and even rap but MJ was still one of my favs. It was time I was in school and never had money to buy original tapes so I’d spend the last rupee (of the very few I had) to get songs recorded on blank tapes; a true music pirate. MJ bombed the world in those days with his album Dangerous and the songs like Black or White, Jam, In the Closet, Remember the Time, Who is It dominated the charts.
Anyway I jumped out of bed and headed straight for MJs MP3 CD that I borrowed from my friend. It’s a pirated CD but I had no compunctions about enjoying it; Why? MJ’s dead, he doesn’t need money anymore to pay of the debts that he died under.

The first MJ song I heard was Dirty Diana in 1987…or so I thought. There was guy who had a locally-made stereo, and he kept two of the four big speakers inside two big earthen pots that raised the bass to a level that made you feel that the bass-guitar and drums were playing right inside your tummy and yes, they weren’t hard on the ears at all). I was sitting in his room and when he played Dirty Diana and the music raised the hair of my head (didn’t have any body hair, hey I was seven half years old then). I never liked the way the song ended but then again, this was Michael Jackson and the slightest twitch in any part of his body would lead to a couple of dozen people fainting in awe (at least back then), who was I to pass a judgment on him. Then I looked at the cover of the cassette and went WOW! There was Michael Jackson, light brown stretched skin, dressed in “are you for real” studded jacket embellished with chains and whatnots wearing his propriety glove in one hand. This picture’s not the same as the typical one you get to see on a BAD album in which MJ’s is looking like a white man (Woman?!?). The confusion was generated when after going back home I heard the familiar “Beat It” again and exclaimed HEY THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG HERE!!! This guy sounds the same as that guy but he is black while that one was…well…brown! Then the revelation, both cassettes had Michael Jackson written on them (yeah! I’d never paid so much attention before, hey!! I was a kid). So my sister told me that he’d had a cosmetic surgery done. I asked her why, she replied as a matter of factly “to look better”. Of course throughout my life I was made to realize why White is better than Black, at least in this part of the world. So I understand why Michael did it. Though he maintained that it was vitiligo…maybe it was…but I’ve never seen such an even progression of vitiligo, I thought it spreads in patches but since MJ says to it must be true. Later I learnt looks didn’t help sell his records better as his Album Thriller holds the Guinness Record for the largest selling singles album, the time when he was black.
Anyway he got message across in his songs and when I heard the lines “I’m not gonna spend my life being a color” in the song Black or White, I sighed and said “I understand MJ”. Living in the US (the land of liberty and freedom) and being popular ever since he was kid, if one wrote and songs “They don’t really care about us”, we here, can only wonder what was plaguing him.
Though there was a time when I was filled with scorn for MJ (late 90s through to the time he died), his creative genius seemed to be taking a nose dive, so did the way he look; ALIEN. But just like he did, I thought that he would never die. When he did I realized for myself that death is the ultimate truth. There were other people who lost their lives around me, but I really thought that MJ would never die. A lyricist, singer, dancer, a creative genius, there was but one Michael that was also a Jackson. What a sad end! I have no shame in shouting it out loud “I’M A MICHAEL JACKSON FAN”. Now as thoughts overwhelm me and my writing becomes more of a nonsensical and incoherent, I’ll close this post (I’m getting late for work) and continue listening to the MJ songs playing on my computer while I get ready (Ha! It’s so much easier to obtain music nowadays unlike back then).

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