I was the enamored kid.
My ears were amazed at what they heard. Songs like “Beat it,” “Billy Jean,” and “The Way You Make Me Feel” mesmerized me and took me to a cool, free, and happy place.
I watched my brother Matt pull up his collar, imitate that high throaty gulp, and slide backwards across the floor in perfect moon-like fashion, while belting out “The Man in The Mirror.”
I was amazed at the Michael Jackson in my living room, on my ghetto blaster, and vibrating against the walls of Teen Disco. Not only was I amazed, I believed. Believed he meant and felt everything he sang. I could feel his spirit in every song. I knew they were the portals into his soul, and I liked who I found there. A fan was born.
And this is music in its truest and highest form- an extension of the artist- an exact representation of the person. It’s like what Jesus was to the Father: an extension, but the same being; a separate body, but the same spirit. Few artists VERY few, have the ability to give us the full essence of who they are…all the colors of their soul…..Michael certainly had this ability, and when we listened, we got it, and we believed!
Popular Christian author, Ravi Zacharias in his book “Can Man Live Without God” said this about “the popular philosophers of our times –musicians. I credit them with a greater degree of honesty and unmasked vulnerability in recognizing the anguish within the human heart than the academician, who often conceals such a struggle behind a façade of self assurance. It is easier to hide behind philosophical arguments….than it is to admit our hurts, our confusions, our loves, and our passions….”
I concur, but I would like add to this thought by saying that it is not only the academician who conceals the struggle behind a façade of self assurance, but many of the modern day Christian and non Christian musicians of our time, whom Zacharias also cites as being the real voice/heartbeat of our society. Listen to the music on the radio today: Lifeless, self-righteous, shallow, lacking in creativity, lacking in honesty and vulnerability. If songwriters truly are the heartbeat of our society as Zacharias suggests, then what does that tell us about our society today and where it is going?
Was Michael perfect? Am I saying that Michael was perfect? I’m sure he wasn’t, but what I am saying is that he was real. And there is no doubt he was kind, caring, passionate, and deep. It’s all there in his songs, go back and take a listen with an open heart. He also represented an era that was just as vulnerable and just as real as he was.
I grew up in this magical music era. There were so many artists to believe in. So much heart and soul! So alive! So creative! So very relatable! So vulnerable, and so genuine!
– Herein lay the genius and melodic magic of The Bee Gees, for instance.
– The mysterious and mind blowing, yet deceptively simple, lyrical and musical prowess of Bob Dylan.
– The Beatles, whose complicated orchestration, translated brilliantly into everyday life.
– Smokey Robinson’s prolific nuances of love & romance squeezed and oozing out of his every pour.
– The innocence, harmonies, and pure beauty that was Simon & Garfunkel.
– The passion of Bob Seger
– The unflinching authority of Roberta Flack who joined us in our pain.
– And of course, the loving kindness, shattered and broken-hearted idealism, the apex of our greatest desires, and the humility that was the music of Michael Jackson.
I, for one, bought it all- all that these artists so generously shared with all of their hearts- I bought it- hook, line & sinker. I believed.
As I watched Michael’s memorial on TV, my tears flowed endlessly for the loss of a great man. But I realized that I was also mourning the end of a great era. One the world will never see again.
Too many times, I have turned on my radio in disappointment. Too many times I have come to realize that the music we listen to is a reflection of what our society has become. And I mourn. I mourn our loss of life. I mourn the loss of what we are losing grip of as human beings. All that we suppress, and the chains we carry around our feet.
Chains of political correctness.
Chains of fear.
Chains of Government.
Chains of Christian correctness.
Lack of affection.
Lack of tears.
Lack of humor.
Lack of joy!
Lack of brilliance.
Lack of genius.
Lack of creativity.
Lack of boldness.
Lack of sorrow.
Lack of wisdom.
Lack of originality.
Lack of common sense.
Lack of dirt on our clothes.
Lack of dirt on our hands.
Lack of freedom.
Lack of conviction.
Lack of a sense of knowing who we are, and what we believe, and why.
Lack of quiet times.
Lack of friends.
Lack of love.
Those days, along with the music of those days, will be lost forever ….except a child pick up a Michael Jackson CD- listens, is inspired and believes!
Thank you for the music Michael. I still believe. My ears don’t hear the haters, my ears only hear the music of the heart.