“This is it” was totally it [and more self-evaluation, lol]

:sigh:

I never thought I’d be writing anything quite like this. Going back years ago, I didn’t care much for Michael Jackson. Just knew that “Thriller” made for a kick-ass music video, “Billy Jean” was a trippy song and the moonwalk… forgetaboutit… I remember seeing it at a Hard Rock Cafe in Cancun in 2000… I remembered that dinner for a couple of things. cute waiter that had to leave us as it was the end of his shift. was raining outside so we had to come in. great food (although being 14, I didn’t really like Mexico’s Mexican food, already sick of it and was starving for American… i.e. US cuisine)… they played a few videos and I believe, now, though I hadn’t seen it yet… one of them was the American Music Award or whenever it was, that award show when Michael Jackson debuted “the moon walk”

there was something incomprehensible about it… I could not explain the sensation of it, but it literally felt like I left my body for a few seconds… to which, I must say he was “defying gravity”

then when Prince came along, I was in a pretty rough mode for a while. Michael Jackson got all the recognition, all the praise, all the awards… he was more accessible to people than Prince, who I deemed to be the genius of the two

I went so far as to borrow a quote from The Parent Trap remake
“let me think… either I know how to fence or you don’t… or I have class and you don’t”

 

I ended up eating my own words a couple years later.
first of all, I heard about the “This is it” tour, the press conference that was all over the news… Michael Jackson coming back from obscurity for a massive tour that sold out 50 shows like clockwork… and I was thinking “oh shoot, go away”… ultimately thinking that Prince would never be able to compete

now… I really hate to say it, but I think that’s going to set in stone.

not that Michael Jackson needed his unfortunately timed death to be immortalized the world over as an international superstar… there are very few of those and I think he truly examplifies what that means.

 

the greatest news to come this week (everything else kinda went downhill after this good news… Joe Paterno getting fired, Eddie Murphy bowing out of Oscar host… the consolation prize is that Billy Crystal decided to set into his shoes, which everyone believes he will most certainly be able to accomplish without breaking a sweat) was the fact that… I’m just going to narrow it down to MJ… I don’t feel comfortable with being on a first name basis with the man and writing his entire name gets pretty exhausting after a while… MJ got justice at last… his doctor was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter

last Friday… a week before Veteran’s Day… I ended up staying up for another hour to watch Nightline… or whatever NBC’s equalivant of that is… it went into MJ’s last days alive as he was preparing/rehearsing for the major tour… it went into great detail about the relationship he had with his doctor…
that kind of addiction was pretty terrifying… though I’m glad to say that I really didn’t see that in the film at all and after a while, I forgot the fact that maybe… well, it goes without saying, I guess. I don’t feel comfortable with using the words “addict” or “intoxicated”… just doesn’t feel right.

each piece of evidence that came into place, I grew even more furious about how things went down. That last night, which was the longest night of his life… several drugs were used to help bring sleep, but none worked quite like the last resort… to which, I must say… “well, of course it ended badly… mixing drugs like that is pretty reckless and extremely dangerous”… combining drugs is as lethal as drinking and driving over the legal limit

then there was the gross negligence… holding phone calls while with a patient… I don’t care how good a multi-tasker you are, you don’t do that when you have someone’s life in your hands.
And as the other party wasn’t in a clear state of mind because of the overwhelming amount of medication, its up to the doctor to ensure nothing goes work

There’s more variables I can play around with… the nature of addiction… but I’m going to choose to bow out of that. Not comfortable with it and anything I could go on to say about it wouldn’t reflect very well. Long story short: there’s no nice/good way of saying it

 

so all of that aside…

I used to believe that there was nobody in the music business quite like Prince… the kind of work ethic he has, the creativity, the perfectionism… plus the fact he could play/master any instrument he wanted

despite the fact this was once a Prince promoting blog and little else… I was beside myself at the end of the night… thinking maybe I had picked the wrong person in the age-old debate

as an admirer of Prince’s work, I know it sounds bad… but fact of the matter is, I decided shortly after MJ’s death and after I had two albums under my belt, I didn’t really need to compare the two… I could just as easily love the music of both people…
I’m the same way about loving the Eagles and Giants equally… there’s really no need to pick sides (although Red Sox and Yankees fans would beg to differ… though I think I’m more Red Sox than Yankees these days)

I downgraded MJ because he didn’t play an instrument, he didn’t write “Thriller” his most notorious song (or so I thought at the time… “Billy Jean” just might be more so)… he didn’t do half the things Prince did and I went into great detail about it at one point…

BUT…

again, I ate my words… MJ might not have played an instrument, but… geesh, this is so cheesy… he reminded me of Charlie Chaplin for a number of reasons… the things Robert has said about him, I could say about MJ… he worked with his mind and heart and his body just danced around as directed… there was a presence MJ exuded with his body that I had seen in bits and pieces, but there is no greater evidence of that than what I saw here

as far as creativity goes… sure, Prince had the Lovesexy tour where he had the multi-platformed, multi-setting stage for each of the different songs…

but that aside, MJ’s creativity blew my mind… he has the perfectionist thing too… he had a similiar liking for working long hours into the night (although Prince most definitely defined himself as a night owl, where he operated the best late at night/early in the morning)…
he knows the cues, the choreography for every song he had written… and aside from Man in the Mirror and Thriller, he wrote all of his other songs… he knows them extremely well where he knows how to stage them, worked on getting the cues just right with his staff

Kenny Ortega was a great part of this production… I know him from “Dirty Dancing” and “High School Musical” fame, but he had never handled anything quite like this before… my favorite quote of his was to the dancers: “you are an extension of MJ”…

I had never heard back-up dancers being discussed that way and simply blew my mind… it’s extraordinary… extra-ordinary

it was also kinda cool to see Orianthi on stage with him… she’s a fantastic guitar player and I doubt anyone else could have played Van Halen’s guitarwork in “Beat it” as close to the real thing as she did

it ran like a documentary… tons of rehearsals, sometimes with songs, they’d show a few frames at once to show the creative process being hashed out…

the coolest parts were the use of CGI and green screen… they showed construction workers on the skeleton of a building to create the beat for “The way you make me feel”… they shot footage of zombies to coincide with “Thriller”

and of course… it goes without saying that the green screen and what they did to give another dimension to the song, “Smooth Criminal”… actually putting MJ’s gangster character into a Humphrey Bogart movie, in black & white and everything…

it is far and beyond my favorite one of his songs for the entire experience of it. Most definitely, it has an incredible musical pretense… the variety of vocals makes it a lot of fun… then there’s the costumes, the choreography, the setting of the music video… it made retro look extremely good

one of the more somber moments was the description and rehearsal of “The Earth Song”… which I had heard on two occasions where I was thinking “WTF, I don’t know this one”…
of course that’s me being egotistical enough to believe I know all of his songs on the basis I know what’s on the “Thriller” and “Bad” albums… but I digress, most of the songs featured were from those two albums

it was chilling to think along his lines… talking about helping the planet, contributing to making it better and all that…
in the end, it make “Planet Earth” look like nothing more than a cool album cover and a title of a song… the idea behind “The Earth Song” was more fitting to the subject, it’s more eternal than internal, which was where Prince was going with…

the song “Planet Earth” talked about coming into balance with God and the universe… and “Resolution” follows suit, talking about everyone not going to war about every little thing… war is pointless cuz there are only losers

“Man in the Mirror” discusses the same issue, but takes it from a more fundamental approach… there’s the ego of working on yourself first before worrying about everyone else… but the message behind it goes beyond it… the video itself showing images of starving children…

“The Earth Song” lacks in title, but the message behind the video was… wow… shows a little girl in a rainforest that later gets torn down

I hate to keep having to say that so-and-so is “a better person than Prince”… but that seems to be the case a lot lately…

what made MJ incomprehensible as a human being was that he spent a lot of his life giving back… the idea of the tour was putting together a helluva show for his fans… all about the fans.

none of this used to bother me, but I found myself at the same question “what has Prince done for his fans”… the man operates on one level… “where am I at and and how I can put that into my music”

[side-note: shoot… I think I need to loose up a little bit… my dad cued up a video of SNL spoofing the debate where Rick Perry went blank… Bill Hader should win something for that performance, he was awesome… gotta watch the rest of it]

between getting “Twilight” together from my POV and all this, I’d been resoundingly serious and sometimes negative about all this

for a change of pace, I don’t really remember what I dreamt about last night, if anything… and I played “Judas” and at least got the chorus-ography down… whether or not it looks good is debatable… I don’t think I’d like the way my hands look midway through… and its my belief that the first verse is within my grasp, I remember the moves, but its just placing them at that right spots and of course, honing and sharpening the edges of it

I’m hoping one day that I can get through the song without being addled by getting the choreography just right… that I can just chill and enjoy it like I always do

 

MJ was already pretty huge so he didn’t need… whatever happened for the immortalization… although his notoriety had a 2nd supernova because of it, it wasn’t the same story as Van Gough, who ONLY got famous after his death

whenever Prince does go… whether its 5, 10, 20 or 50 years from now… I think he has a lot of potential to get the Van Gough bump… record sales will skyrocket (partially because whatever he had done to prevent records from coming out will end)… people will appreciate him, greater than when he was alive… although I think he is very greatly appreciated now…

I had said that musical genius doesn’t excuse you from being a jerk… but at the end of the day, he still is a musical genius… extremely innovative and creative… his 80’s saw the greatest bits of that when he developed the MPLS sound… his output is pretty extraordinary too… 40 studio albums over 30 years in his career… very few artists have that going for them…

by the public ear/eye, music is usually evaluated on a mass scale by singles… I still believe that radio is a key ingredient in the success of various musical artists…
aside from inconsistency in album releases and lack of touring on a massive scale, the only place where Prince tends to fail in the mainstream is getting his songs on the radio…

the most recent song to do so was “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” and the only times I heard that was on Sirius’s “90’s on 9” station… D&P will occasionally get play at department stores, but only once or twice…

therefore people are left under the impression that Prince hasn’t done anything huge since Purple Rain… a massive misconception that I’d very much like to overturn… although I no longer feel comfortable with saying “he’s still out there, doing what he does best”… because he hasn’t been…
I think on George Lopez, he said that he was waiting for the music industry to improve the quality of the music… in the digital age, he doesn’t feel comfortable with the lack of accountability… i.e. lack of substantial sales

he knows full well about his songs being bootlegged left and right…
but I’ll leave him with this to think about: if wrecka stows like FYE had your albums in stock, then you’d sell more records… Of course, I’m one of the few people who still gets their music from wrecka stows… i.e. physical albums with the cover, CD, case and everything… everyone else likes to download their music from iTunes… I have an iPod, but I got it for the convenience, having all of my favorite songs from my favorite albums at my fingertips… I don’t have to pick and choose. There’s such a mass of storage that I don’t feel addled with “oh, I’m in the mood to listen to that, but I don’t have it with me”

9 times out of 10, whatever I want to listen to will be on my iPod… which has a lot of records I listen to pretty regularly

Because of the lack of physical copies in the market, I’ve had to go through other venues to amass my collection… BUT… in these cases, people asked me what albums I was interested in because they offered to burn me a few copies… or they’d go through used music websites to buy the physical copies… and in most cases, if at all possible, that’s how I like my music.

I used to be able to stand by Prince not going into the usual routes to release his music… he doesn’t run things like everyone else…

I respect the fact that he doesn’t want to sign a contract with another record label because WB was limiting his output to an album a year… BUT… (geesh, there’s a lot of those today)… as cool as it is that he has signed independant agreements (I almost wrote contracts… Prince doesn’t believe in contracts… where, as he noted, the prefix is “con” and he doesn’t want to get conned or con anybody)… Arista for Rave… had his own music site for the release of his internet albums, including the Rave remix, ONA and… internet albums…

he signed a two album deal with Columbia, which released Musicology and 3121…
oh wait, my bad… Universal released 3121… Columbia released Planet Earth and Musicology…
then he signed the exclusive deal with Target, the only one allowed to market/sell the Lotusflow3r triple-header (which I think will be the next album I check into… just to evaluate where he is currently)

as far as touring goes… the last massive tour he did was for Musicology… which I really regret missing by a couple of years (wasn’t my fault, didn’t know who he was in 2004… at least I don’t think I did)… with 3121, it was all TV appearances (American Idol, GMA, SuperBowl)…  Planet Earth was exclusively London

he did a few shows in America for 20TEN… here and there… came to New York too, which I could have gone to if I was really desperate… fact of the matter, I wasn’t :shrug: I bellyache about him never being close enough for me to go see him, but at the time, even right now… unless he was in AC or Philly, I wouldn’t go out to see him because I’m not in the right mood

which has been resoundingly negative… and I really do hate to be negative

If I were to put into a nutshell what makes an artist today successful…

they release their albums in wrecka stows, they do a tour once a year or every other year to promote the music, their songs get regular play on the radio and then they go into the studio, doing it all over again…

music videos used to to help promote artists as well, though not nearly as much these days. I haven’t seen many music videos, don’t get the interest for it. They don’t make ’em like the 80’s and the closest thing to that has been Lady Gaga… who has made some pretty cool videos (although I think the backstory made “Born this way” a little too long for my tastes… this coming from the same person who thought “Thriller” was excessive… I had since grown to appreciate it… shoot, shoulda watched the video for Halloween this year)

out of curiosity, inspired by “Journey to Fearless,” I watched a few of Taylor Swift’s videos to maybe get another visual to go with some of my favorite songs… although I’d prefer to put together my own idea of what I see when I listen to “When Sparks Fly” and “Enchanted” (which I had started just a little bit the other week)

Prince seems to thrive on convenience… but it seems that what works for him is extremely specific… which makes it a lot more difficult for things to get done…

I had considered the idea of what we’d talk about in a conversation… right now, I don’t see it going very well… with all my negativity, I’m not looking up to his genius nearly as much as I used to… it’s very discouraging… I’d stayed away from .org, haven’t talked to anyone there, so where is all of this coming from?

I’d almost hate to say its the “green is greener” cliché… back in 2007, I kinda used Prince as a crutch to lean on for a couple of things… the main thing being I couldn’t make sense of the music industry. There were few relatable artists, I didn’t recognize half the songs on the radio… now that I’d had time to spend away from him, checking into people currently bringin their A-game and burning/tearing up the stage

as for Robert, I’d been skating around him pretty cautiously as of late… meaning that I’m not checking into a movie or anything relating to him just because I feel like it… I’m not making excuses for myself anymore…
mainly, I think that I’m afraid that if I go as far as to watch the end of “Charlie Bartlett” (very tempting yesterday afternoon, but I’d prefer to see the movie in its entirity… Tropic Thunder, Iron-Man and Sherlock Holmes… even Heart & Souls, I’m comfortable with coming in at different times to see parts of the movie… with Sherlock, I can come in anytime I please and I know I’ll have a good time)…

if I make the excuse, I watch this or that movie… I’ll be back to square one… Mr. Downey kinda having rule over my thoughts… the few times I came up for air a couple months in, specifically when I saw my friends at school in April… I kinda realized that I was addicted to Substance Downey

I was looking for any excuse to spend time with the man… enjoying his music and whatnot…

has me thinking a bit about the new Abilify commerical where the woman is wearing depression like a robe… lol…
got me thinking about what Robert said about sobriety… people that don’t stick to it or are afraid to “wear it like a loose shirt they don’t take off”… and that sticking with it is really key…

I kinda feel like I’m doing that with him a bit… but I’m not really doing it half-assed the way he described reaching out for help in the 90’s…
it’s almost gotten to the point of anything Christmas related… I’m in denial for so long with all the commercialism that when it comes time, I can’t embrace, I’d spent so much time staying away…

If I know myself, if I were to put in one movie, I’d love it so much that I want to rush into another… then another, then another… that’s what I have done in the past…

“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is most likely the next movie I will watch… and I’ll see how long before I decide….

ah ha, I could use it as a tie-in… whenever I get around to watching “Lethal Weapon”… I can watch it as well… comparing Shane Black’s writing genius on two separate occasions 😉

this week will probably be about the next Twilight films and finishing off Harry Potter… but come Thanksgiving, I think I can safely go back to all that 😎

god, I’m in a weird mood today.

now time for some Sunday Sunday football

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