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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Michael Jackson swan song film a testament to artistry

Heather and I went to see Jacko's This Is It last night, and I have to say it was A LOT better than I had anticipated. When it seemed Mike was at about 85% in the opening number I was a bit nervous, but the viewer soon gets used to rehearsal-level performances and then is pleasantly surprised as they ramp up to near show quality renditions. Michael is intimately involved with the arrangements and the staging and it's great to see how he works.

Every singer and dancer on earth should see this film, as Michael Jackson was the greatest song and dance man ever, the King of Pop. Who is his competition?

Elvis Presley - The King of Rock'n'Roll

Elvis blazed a trail of intensity and smoldering sensuality that caught fire in the sixties and birthed a counter culture that may have saved the planet with the unfolding Green Revolution.

In popular music there is a line that runs from Elvis to The Beatles to Michael Jackson, but it ends there. Musical tastes are now too diverse at too young of an age for a new Elvis, Beatles or MJ to emerge. Innocence has truly been lost.

Bob Dylan - World Poet

Robert Allan Zimmerman may be the most important USA citizen of the twentieth century. JFK is a big name now, but thirty years and fifty years from now more people will know Dylan.

Bob fancies himself as a song and dance man, but he's really the vagabond troubadour who sings with a voice that comes from you and me.

John Lennon - Imagine Peace

John is my favourite dead atheist (Joe Keighley of DOA is my fave living atheist), as his passion for humanity always shone through and he shared his pain in a way that healed a generation and opened songwriting up to future genres such as punk and emo.

John and Yoko were the first internationally famous interracial couple of the modern era, and as champions of secular humanism they were envoys from the future.

Bob Marley - Voice of the People

Nesta will likely endure the longest of all five, as he is the voice of rebelliousness and common folk all over this rolling ball of blue, green and brown fun in the sky. Bob took people to a magical place, with his records and with his concerts.

The Marley family is royalty in the 21st Century and the purity and truthfulness of the Rasta lifestyle mean that Bob's music and message continue to resonate and permeate youth culture in countries everywhere.

Just to be in the company of Elvis, Dylan, Lennon and Marley is a great honour, and though their music varies wildly, each of these artists inspired hundreds of millions of music lovers and regular people around the world. From a songwriting perspective, Elvis and MJ may be lightweights compared with Dylan, Lennon and Marley, but Michael wrote a few select tunes that have been enjoyed by billions of souls, so that aspect of his life and career should not be underestimated. Still, it is his vocal and dancing abilities that set him apart from the pack, where his innovations resonated with musicians and fans alike.

The dancers in the film are given a chance to express what MJ means to them, and it is a heartwarming sequence when you realize how Jackson's creativity and talent changed dancing all over the planet. Some of the songs performed in This Is It include Human Nature, Man In The Mirror, The Way You Make Me Feel, Thriller, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Black or White, Smooth Criminal, Heal The World and You Are Not Alone.

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