Lullaby Tribute to Michael Jackson
Sometimes a performer's cultural and personal baggage filters into a perception of the work itself, so it's easy to feel a little hesitant about tracks like Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" being morphed into sleepy-time lullabies for little ones. That almost any set of melody and rhythm, shorn of words and smoothed out and muted, then gently chimed, can work as a lullaby goes without saying. The Copycats label has been turning out these lullaby collections for a while now -- performed and produced by the Lullaby Players, often with a little wink of the eye -- and applying the formula to Michael Jackson tunes only seems obvious, really. Jackson was an iconic cultural figure almost to the level of becoming a universal cartoon character, one with a unique and complex set of qualifiers, at least to adults. Baby won't care, though. Lullabies are lullabies in this instance, whatever the source.
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- Cc Ent / Copycats
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The little 4 year old boy in my house may be a bit too old for lullabies, but he sure loves to sing and dance to Beat It and Thriller. As far as his little self is concerned, nothing but love and a fun vibe exists in Mr. Jackson's music. And, as the adult in the home, I know there is no personal 'seepage' into his master works. The man was and will always be innocent; and any caricature that may exist was created by a greed driven, manic media. The little boy hears about helping others and taking care of the planet and being kind to animals...all the things that Michael Jackson cared about. So, I think this little tribute to Mr. Jackson is quite sweet; little bitty ones might just pick up that love vibe too and sleep with a happy smile.
While the editor's review here is positive (by and large), it does contain some off-putting references symptomatic of a disquieting and all-too-common tendency among writers. "Sometimes a performer's cultural and personal baggage filters into a perception of the work itself so it's easy to feel a little hesitant about tracks like Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" being morphed into sleepy-time lullabies for little ones." "Jackson was an iconic cultural figure almost to the level of becoming a universal cartoon character, one with a unique and complex set of qualifiers, at least to adults" At the mention of Michael Jackson in any context, a brain fever attacks the reasoning and speech centers of many editors, critics, commentators, bloggers, and talking heads. Their reactions range from outrage at Jackson's very existence; to unrelenting snipes at his face, race, sexuality, character and illnesses; to overwrought, self-righteous indignation (coupled with willful ignorance) about his relationships with children -- including inferences that his music as lullabies is somehow incongruous. Every day we see the late Michael Jackson's name greedily co-opted by profiteers worldwide to flog products of every description, including television programs of very dubious merit. Example: From the sewers of the Discovery Network will soon emerge a frightful piece of business featuring a "virtual autopsy" of Jackson -- a cynical ploy to lure viewers with false promises of new details providing deeper understanding of his cause of death. Not content with serving Jackson up in bits and pieces during his lifetime, the media now seeks to reenact the slaughter using an anatomically correct faux cadaver. Surely, Michael Jackson (alive and dead) must be the most picked on, picked over, picked at and picked apart human in modern history. The legion of media Gorgons and Harpies are quick to hold him in contempt, marginalize his talent, and question is morality YET drool over the merest news tidbit -- even a charming lullaby tribute -- as a chance to reference the ancient rumors, discredited accusations and falsehoods. The media is eager to rehash these, just in case we adults have discarded the rubbish or in an effort to poison the younger generation who don't see Michael Jackson as the boogie man. My children will enjoy the lullabies in unconditional love and peace. I will enjoy them, too, as a person young at heart yet knowledgeable of how the composer's life was assaulted by the Merchants of Slime.
I agree with the other reviewers who have said that Michael Jackson's music for over 30 years has brought joy to children of all ages. I have seen for myself how excited children get-how their eyes light up with excitement-when they hear Billie Jean or Beat It; when they attempt their first moonwalk steps or the Thriller dance. I'm not quite sure how some of these songs are supposed to work as lullabyes for babies I can't imagine playing the very adult-oriented I Just Can't Stop Loving You or The Way You Make Me Feel to an infant. I would probably choose something more along the lines of The Lost Children (a very soothing MJ song that was intended as a lullabye) but then I thought: You know what? Baby Michael was inspired by hearing the rhythm of his mama's washing machine! So who knows what might happen for a baby who gets to hear Thriller or Beat It from the time they're in the crib! I would say the music is probably more appropriate for toddlers on up. But really, Michael's music and his magic know no age limits. Children have always loved his music. It's too bad that "some" adults have to be the ones to put a negative spin on everything. Michael was acquitted of all charges against him. It's time to put the innuendos to rest and move on. When This Is It came out, I saw entire families-parents and their children-going into the theatre to enjoy the movie together. I saw small children imitating his dance moves in the aisles. There was nothing but pure joy and smiles on those kids' faces as they worked out their moves. Children will always love Michael Jackson, and there will always be parents wiilling to pass along the joy he gave them to their own kids, who in turn, one day, will pass it down to their kids. Michael's magic will never die.
As a first time father, I would be more than happy to buy this book as a gift for my wife and new son. I also think it's a real shame that the editorial team here, felt the need to qualify the use of Michael Jackson's name in relation to the target audience this book intends to reach. Why, I wonder, is it acceptable to use that name to attract an audience, if that name is then going to be subtly insulted by the guff that appears alongside the book? It is understandable that the slurs, insults and attacks on Michael Jackson's name and reputation continue. Why wouldn't they? For a clutch of reasons that include: the decline of factually accurate journalism, and its substitution for an industry that chases down celebrity targets in its place - American and international public opinion never got to hear the truth about 1993 and 2005. The evidence supporting the reality of Evan Chandler's extortion, along with the non-existence of any correlation between Jordan Chandler's alleged description and the photographs of Mr Jackson, and the myth that the settlement could in any way have stopped criminal proceedings from occurring; if there had been any merit to them -- are facts that have either ignored or denied by the press in 1993, and since. From that point on, an industry that should and does know better, mounted a determined assault on Jackson's credibility. In 2005, the same invested District Attorney and same civil lawyer from 1993, along with a family of almost sublimely deceitful grifters attempted a second extortion. They failed, and Jackson was acquitted - but in real terms he lost. Press coverage around the world assumed Jackson's guilt, and notably, no questions were asked afterwards as to how and why a case whose viability was on a par with a BP oil pipe, was sanctioned in the first place. Jackson never recovered from that case, and he was clearly driven to an early death by the toll of such sustained pressure. So the jokes get told, and the world continues to ignore the outrage Jackson's death represents. If not for America's addiction to liabilty lawsuits and the predators that unlimited damages attract ( including the attorneys) -- together with the utterly biased media commentary from 1993-2005 onwards - it is doubtful whether Jackson's issues with prescription medicine would have ever developed. The gross ignorance and erroneous beliefs about Jackson that still exist, is only one of the tragedies his death revealed. In time it is to be hoped this will change.