Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remembering Michael Jackson's Best Moments

Although the past two decades of Michael Jackson's life have been the stuff that tabloid dreams are made of (the marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, the charges of child molestation, the bizarre personal behavior), I have been heartened to see that the various news specials that have aired tonight have also acknowledged his incredible talent as well as his immense influence on music and popular culture. Before the internet and the iPod, Michael had a following that, at the time, seemed impossible to comprehend.

During the 1980s and very early 1990s (before the insanity of his private life started to eclipse his career), everything that Jackson did was a major event. For a moment, try to forget all of the craziness and scandal in his later years and enjoy some of my favorite MJ memories:

"Do the Bartman" - Besides guest starring on an episode of The Simpsons ("Stark Raving Dad"), Jackson also decided to write a song for Bart. While it is one of his lesser-known compositions, this song and video always makes me smile, if only because it was a combination of two titans of pop culture (at the time).

"Black or White" - I remember when this video premiered (it was a HUGE deal). While the song and the ending of the video (where Michael vandalizes a car) were criticized, this is one of last songs Michael released that I truly enjoyed.

"The Way You Make Me Feel" - Immortalized in the insane final ballet in the movie Center Stage, "The Way You Make Me Feel" is one of the quintessential Jackson tunes. While the video is kind of creepy (Michael is essentially stalking a girl with a bunch of guys egging him on), seeing him dance almost makes up for the squick factor.

"Smooth Criminal" - Superior to the Alien Ant Farm version in every way.