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Michael Jackson, 1958-2009.

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Trying to separate the parts that are exciting and enjoyable about an artist as mythic or folk hero-ish as Michael Jackson from the parts that are icky and weird and stuff is a waste of time and not necessary. The thing I’d often mention to people who’d dramatically sigh or roll out the cliches of “He used to be so talented, whuh hoppened??” is how Michael Jackson’s work has always been very insular and rarefied. That he somehow also found a way to make all the unfortunate stuff in his head come out as perfect boundary-pushing pop for 30-plus years (plenty of Mike into the 90s and even 2000s has its moments) is a feat.

A kind example of Jackson’s outre celebrity is the awesomely confident and personal but very out-of-place sketches found inside of Thriller. That a guy of his stature would even put these uncool sketches of cartoon him and cartoon McCartney battling over a girl, a kind of Daniel Johnston retelling of Thriller’s “The Girl Is Mine”, is illustrative of Jackson’s desire to express his vision in as many round-about and weird ways as possible: Turning into a cougar, grabbing his crotch, bleaching his skin, making paranoid pop masterpieces, releasing some oddly personal drawings to the world. These drawings feel like his work, specific and general, sincere and direct but mysterious and private too. I guess that’s all also a definition of mythic.

Written by Brandon

June 26th, 2009 at 5:28 am

Posted in Michael Jackson, RIP

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