History: Past, Present And Future Book I

Michael Jackson

Epic Records, 1995




I had to be very gentle with one of my friend-enemies at school when I found out that he still thought Jacko ... err, Jackson was the King of Pop. So I empathically counted off the reasons why I hated HIStory off on my fingers and found myself thinking, infront of my speechless friend, this would make a review decent enough for Mr. Thelen. So Jong-Hak-ah, I hope you're reading this.

The twenty-something dollars are not a total loss; I do like Disc One, which is a greatest hits package. And we all know that Jackson does have oodles of great hits. I've always thought of "Billie Jean" as a potential "Papa Don't Preach" and admired his computer tailoring in "The Way You Make Me Feel" plus others. Jackson is a very rare artist who can actually make computer music sound like, um, computer music, and we will be forever grateful for his role in bringing multi-texturing to a new overproduced level.

And it's undeniable that Jackson goes all the way (strange way of putting that; the world has turned into a mob of would-be Michael-haters). He doesn't have an energetic voice but "Wanna Be Starting Something" and "Beat It" (of course) have a strong edge to them. His vocal technique sickens me in "Heal The World" and "Rock With You" but it's thrilling in "Black Or White" and "Man In The Mirror". His ballads range from the horrific ("She's Out Of My Life", and DO I blame you MJ) to the passable ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You"). Oh yeah, and the laughable stupidheaded-ness of "The Girl Is Mine".my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Ah, Disc Two. (JB rubs his hands; sparks fly)

So, Michael; WHAT HAPPENED??? I mean, is it Lisa Marie ("Your being provides the star that brightens my galaxy and the force that strengthens me. Love, Michael" - liner notes; I'm not kidding!) or something? This new-found depression is scarier than "Thriller".

Now that I got the snide remarks out of the way, allow me to be more specific. One: "Scream". Two people with the wimpiest voices in pop tackle a heavy scream fight with a pseudo-political-awareness theme and the result is a track that "really ... makes me ... want t-" (sorry)

Two: "They Don't Really Care About Us". I still can't believe they blotted out "Jew" and "kike". This song is SUPPOSED to be race-conscious. Sure I winced when I heard the word "inkhead", but it's a necessesary evil; certain people may have done more damage than they think. It's typical of Jackson's style (his better style) and it would've been even better if they had edited out that annoying series of hooting he does along with the "anti-semitic" lyrics.

Three: "This Time Around", "D.S.", "Money", "Come Together" and "2 Bad". Five songs to portray Jackson's new outlook on Real Life. Complete with the word "shit", gunshots, and pro-materialism; it's always sad to see innocence lost (or so I gather).

Four: "Childhood" and "Tabloid Junkie". First, an appealing approach. Then a dissing approach. They both don't work; tabloids will forever love Jackson (the higher you are, the more fun it is for other people to watch you fall). "Childhood" is way too saccharine for me to believe it (and I'm a Mariah Carey fan, too) and "Tabloid Junkie" is too obvious.

Five: "HIStory", "Little Susie" and "Smile". The three are pathetic attempts at, respectively, sampling, awareness, and remaking.

But Michael Jackson is an artist in the end. "Stranger In Moscow" is an honest account from within laid over a beautifully visual setting. "Earth Song" is what "Heal The World" should've been; less naive and more epic (it's a huge planet). For once even the hooting seems to be in place.

It's fashionable to bash Michael Jackson these days (number three under Mark Fhurman and the Spice Girls) and Jong-Hak did playfully bash Carey sometime back (I NEVER forget, nor forgive, these instances; just so you'd know). And I admit that it looks very immature and unprofessional, how I laid out these "One, Two, Three" reasons. But this album has had its share of hype (there's a commentary by Jackie O herself in the booklet, for pete's sake) and I see no serious hurt in flaunting my no-wisdom youth once in a while (I ask you: how long would I get to do it?).

If you feel nauseated, I'm sure that Mr. Thelen, who's slightly more mature than I am, will be back tomorrow.

Rating: B-

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© 1997 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.