Monday, December 8, 2008

119. Michael Jackson - Off the Wall

I was rummaging around in my mother's attic yesterday and came across this album. Memories of the Michael everyone loved and adored came flooding back.

First, let's harken back to 1972, when the fresh-faced young boy released his first album, Got To Be There. That face, that smile. You just want to pinch his cute little cheeks! At this early point in his career, Michael had yet to develop the large ego that would allow him to build Neverland later on. This is evidenced by the selection of songs on the album. There are quite a few cover songs. Obviously, Michael wasn't self-assured enough to put out a solo album of his own songs. And it's obvious from the song titles that Michael was ready to embrace life on the wings of love.

And he nearly did. In 1979, Jackson released Off The Wall. Was that title trying to tell us something? Did Michael already feel like he was losing his grip on reality? This album was pure disco. It was Michael strutting his stuff and doing his crazy little dance. Get on the floor, girlfriend and burn this disco out! Jackson started writing his own songs on this effort. Obviously, his ego was growing. And, as his ego grew, so did his popularity and his ability to hypnotize people just by looking into their eyes and saying, don't stop 'til you get enough. Ah, yes. That's a little known fact about Michael. How do you think he got all those girls to scream for him even though he was clearly stealing Jermaine's style? It was at this point that the old, cute-as-a-button, sane Michael Jackson left the building and it was here where we parted ways with Michael Jackson and said hello to the King of Pop. The descent was in full swing. Out came the white glove and red leather jacket, the change in hairstyles, the lighter tone of his skin and all that jumping in the air and waving his hands around like Liza Minelli on a bender.

This album was the last shred of Michael's sanity before he began the slow descent into Peter Pan madness, where he dreamed of building gingerbread houses in which to entice children into his oven.

That might or might not be a metaphor.

Favorite song: Rock With You


fatherjack said...

I used to have socks like that.

Judith said...

Hi- liked your post and will add it to my blog but I disagree that OTW was the epitome of Jackson's talent, though it is a remarkable album. I'm exploring his music and myth at Am I Scary for You? Minstrelsy, Metamorphosis and Michael Jackson. Check it out. That gingerbread oven's till empty!

The Pompeos said...

Loved this album. Off The Wall was my favorite song but liked most of it. Ironically, a couple days ago i posted the video to "Rock With You" on my Facebook site and mentioned that it was the last album before he went nuts. To quote,

"Remember the good old days when Michael Jackson was normal and dated people his age? This is from the last album before he went nuts, "Off The Wall""