by Marcus K. Dowling
Ed. Note – Marcus Dowling’s posts do not reflect the thoughts of Winston (aka Stone) or The Couch Sessions
I’ve always had the feeling that Michael Jackson had no other option in life but to be Michael Jackson. That’s a lot of why he was the best to ever do this. I’d say he was Jackie Wilson meets James Brown and a whole slew of other artists, but that’d be so trite and unfair. Fuck. Michael Jackson is dead. And with that, a part of our collective musical consciousness is a memory. There’s a vitality inherent in the presumption of immortality. In death, we lose that, and we find the human. My greatest wish is that in remembering the human, we don’t lose the nature of just how amazing the man was. His dream in youth to be the greatest singer and dancer that ever lived, and to positively touch the lives of every single person that ever heard his music, is just like any other child’s dream, to be President, or, as our parents all teach us, to dream big, dream impossible, and make those dreams come true. But Mike had these dreams at three and four, and by by five he was already doing it, already attempting to make dreams realities. There’s something full of naivete there, something so human there, something so accessible there, something for us ALL to love there as well, and we did.
Michael gave his life to music, and in devoting the entirety of his being to being the ULTIMATE, lies a tragic flaw. We all get a bit older, get a bit slower, get a bit worn, but that was not supposed to be Michael. Michael, through his aspiration, became timeless, became an epic representation of something meant to create emotion: music. Michael Jackson died while once again, at the age of 50, preparing to make time stand still, doing it harder and better than anyone, a 50 show concert tour, which at any age is daunting, but at 50, given his particular expectation, would have been simply incredible. His motivation, be it financial salvation or a youthful pondering of whether he still had “it” be damned, we ALL hoped that these concerts would go off okay. Even if not for the advancement of his greatness, but just to make sure that the best we ever had was still in good health and good spirits after an amazingly tumultuous number of years.
We have never and will never see another Michael Jackson because, when the man is at the height of his ability, and can be produced and recorded by those at the heights of their abilities, the results are timeless. I can list the songs, but I’d miss one and the universe would be angry. I’m sure we’ve all heard every song Michael ever performed over the last 12 hours. Five number one albums and thirteen number one singles. And the B sides and hidden album cuts we all know and love and hold dear. The man lived a life where he worked with Gamble and Huff, Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Teddy Riley. He’s sang on stage with Pavarotti and had Jay-Z lay down 16 bars on “You Rock My World.” And, amazingly, after discussing ALL of that, I’ve touched a tenth of his career. In working and learning from and emulating ALL of the greats, Micael Jackson existed as a sheer musical marvel. Michael Jackson is a standard and brand of excellence that in aiming for, artists of the present and future can achieve greatness just in the attempt to mirror him.
Through the music, Michael Jackson made a difference. In his youthful demeanor, and sheer hope upon all hopes in the world, Michael created change. He was a life changer. A WORLD changer. He single handedly changed the face of pop radio and MTV by being black and having widespread appeal and undeniable talent. By merely being better than everyone else, he knocked a hole in the terrifying edifice of racism that so so so many have walked through in so many walks of life. He had the power, through his career to do daily what people hope to do once in a lifetime. He’s shaken hands and had conversations with so many people of power, so many people of influence who were likely prouder to meet him than he was to meet them. When your goal is to be the best, you go into life fully expecting this to be the nature of what you do. And he did this all dutifully, as if with each legendary tune, at a certain point, knowing that he was solidifying his ability to literally be a world beater.
And there’s his final tragic flaws. Life and love. Michael Jackson lived on the same planet with us, but due to the intense stress of literally being the greatest and most influential man to ever create sound, he mortgaged his life, and mortgaged the ability to learn how to love himself and love others. You can’t love yourself when you become the forefront of public opinion at eight years old. Eight! We all know how damaging it is as a child to be told you’re ugly and are no good. Now imagine likely hearing this from not your child peers, but from adults! Many humans are cynical, jealous and hateful people. The pain and stigma from that certainly seems tremendous. Now extrapolate that over forty-two years of striving and winning despite that, and as the woes increase, still attempting to just do what you know, and in the process grow, mature, and learn, having never been adequately provided the tools to do. His legendary odd behavior (we all know all the stories and cases, no need to rehash them in this space), well, if not a reaction in attempting to fight his own life and gain the ability to love, to create something “normal,” to have an other from his very public, full time persona, well that makes sense. It may sound crazy, but in holding Michael Jackson to the same rules, laws and regulations as say, Marcus Dowling, well, that’s just a recipe for danger. Nobody has ever lived this life and existed in this manner before. There are no rules for this. Crazy, but upon further review, true.
Michael Jackson is no longer amongst us in the living. But remember his exalted life. Remember his sheer mastery of music. Remember his hopes and dreams. No matter how you feel, the man had an impact and made an ultimate sacrifice and difference. Long live the King.
ed. note: The author, Marcus Dowling’s other work can be found at his site, TGRIOnline.com, True Genius Requires Insanity. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter(dot)com/marcuskdowling.