A bit childish and simple for my liking, but it was probably aimed at children. Also, it was very interesting to have something from after the release...moreA bit childish and simple for my liking, but it was probably aimed at children. Also, it was very interesting to have something from after the release of Thriller, but before Bad.(less)
Michael Jackson may be one of the most underrated artists of all time. It might strange when you think about it – after all, he is one of the most fam...moreMichael Jackson may be one of the most underrated artists of all time. It might strange when you think about it – after all, he is one of the most famous and successful artists of all, only coming second to Elvis and the Beatles. Yet most of discussion revolving around Jackson is centred mostly on his personal life and there in an "omg-isn't-he-weird" flavour. The focus on his music has taken a backseat since Thriller. You'll often find the claim that Michael Jackson peaked commercially and artistically with Thriller, and it's been a long downhill run since then – and you'll often find fans claiming that it's simply not true.
Vogel indeed adds considerable weight to this claim, showing Jackson branching out creatively and improving on what he had done before. Reading about the often over-looked Invincible (Jackson's only "flop" album) was particularly pleasurable.
The focus on Jackson's private life is minimal, provided only to give context to his music, and while it didn't try to redeem him, it also didn't pass judgement. This book is a testament to both Jackson's talent and professionalism.
A wide range of resources are used to provide a strong backdrop to Vogel's commentary. This includes critical reviews, interviews with those who worked on the records, biographies and the words of Jackson himself (apparently Jackson was to be interviewed for this book, but died before it could take place). Because Jackson was such a visual artists, the commentary extends to the music video (or "short film") for the songs. This makes for an interesting and sound analysis of Jackson's life work.
All in all, Vogel's beautifully presented volume is a very welcome addition to my library.(less)
Joseph Vogel's Featuring Michael Jackson is a collection of 10 essays (plus a bonus chapter) on Michael Jackson. These essays supplement Vogel's Man...moreJoseph Vogel's Featuring Michael Jackson is a collection of 10 essays (plus a bonus chapter) on Michael Jackson. These essays supplement Vogel's Man in the Music in exploring Michael Jackson's creative input away from the tabloid image that has dominated public consciousness for so long.
It's probably important to point out that the essays have all been previously published. I had read some before, but even so, it's great to have these collected together to read and re-read at my leisure. The topics are diverse, but can be broadly said to focus on the genius of Michael Jackson. Secondary to this is Vogel's exploration of what he terms as the "cultural abuse" of Jackson.
Fans will appreciate Vogel, for not only redeeming (or perhaps "rescuing" is the better word?) Jackson's work from the tabloid junk, but also focusing on some of the little known gems in Jackson's discography (such as Dangerous' 'Gone Too Soon', or the tracks from Blood on the Dance Floor). The comparison between Nirvana's Nevermind and Jackson's Dangerous makes for surprising and fascinating reading.
Featuring Michael Jackson is a great, well-written resource on Michael Jackson's music, allowing for new insight on Jackson's creative life and work ethic. I would recommend this for Michael Jackson fans, and those interested in the music, not the private life, of one of the world's greatest musicians.(less)