Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Mika 

This morning I sat at the computer and via You Tube played several Michael Jackson songs and felt a strange void and sadness as the bright pop songs filled the house. His songs were such a staple in my life for the first twenty years. I watched the Jackson 5 cartoon as a little girl and loved the songs “ABC” and “Ben”. Made me think of summer heat in the back room of the old house, Peter Max posters on the wall, the old black dial phone, and dust motes in the sun. The next time he was part of my life was 1979 with Off the Wall album. My friend Sydney and I would listen to “I Wanna Rock with You” over and over in her bedroom- she would listen and mourn the breakup of a young boyfriend; I would listen and swoon with the potential of actually having a boy in my life. At the school discos I would dance to “Don’t Stop til You Get Enough” wearing sparkling eye shadow and gloppy lip-gloss, huge comb strategically parked in the back pocket of my faux designer jeans. It was magical music, so catchy yet fleshed out enough to bite into. When I was a senior, Thriller was a constant. I did not need to own the album; it was simply always on the radio or friends’ stereos, everywhere. I don’t know how many school newspapers I worked on with “Billy Jean” playing somewhere in the background. By then I was listening to more new wave and Brit Pop, my tastes so “painfully sophisticated” that I rose above the pedestrian bleating of Mika Jackson…But what I surrounded myself with then does not register now, it does not matter- the song “Thriller” recalls my life then, not XTC’s “Ball and Chain” or Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes”.
This morning those bright pop songs sounded so fresh yet heavy with the innocent anticipation of having my whole life ahead of me. They look forward, they imagine things which would never happen, but at the time I could not know that. That is the magic of pop music when done well- it makes a person full of desire and makes them wistful for what they don’t have but could have. Rest in peace, Michael Jackson, crazy prince of pop music

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